So I'm taking some advice from The Simpsons' nanny Sherry Bobbins - and cutting every corner.
Apparently, it's the American way. Which is probably why I never learned it. I'm Australian, and I grew up with the Protestant work ethic. I was Methodist before the Uniting Church was formed - the heritage of John Wesley was strong.
Here's my tips for cutting corners around the house:
- Cook with pre-made sauces. (Yes, I know they taste nothing like fresh food. This is a temporary situation until I'm well and back on an even keel.)
- Use the microwave (erk!) more and the stove less.
- When you cook an actual meal, do extra and freeze or refrigerate leftovers so you can just reheat for lunch the next day.
- Organised enough to have made an actual grocery list? Order on-line and have it delivered (the delivery person actually carries it inside.)
- Use pre-made packaged salads from the supermarket. Add tomato and other things that don't keep so well in the bag, just as its being served, then it at least looks fresh.
- Buy pre-grated cheese. (If desperate, even the horrible powdery parmesan.)
- Kitchen wipes, bathroom wipes, flushable toilet wipes. Don't clean anything properly, just give a quick wipe as you walk past. It will look relatively clean, and you won't go nuts seeing grime building up that you don't have the energy to do anything about.
- Use the clothes dryer. I hate doing this because of the cost and because of the environmental impact, but when I've been this sick, that's what I just do.
- Do what I call "pottering around", just do a tiny bit of something productive, then have a rest. Do a tiny bit of another productive thing, have a rest. You'd be surprised how much actually gets done.
- Keep a list of all the jobs to do, broken down into their smallest possible parts. Each little part is an achievement. (Haven't had the energy to do the dishes, and now you've run out? Wash one sink load - don't dry them just leave them to air dry on the drainer. Come back after a nap and put them away. Do another sink load after the next nap.)
- Multi-task where it doesn't take extra energy. (Eg, while I write, I have a hot water bottle working on my sore lower back, and the TENS machine on my feet and shoulders. I'm doing self-care stuff while I write.)
- Make what you do count for more than it otherwise might. (Eg. while I didn't have the energy to do anything else, I lay on the couch reading. I got reacquainted with a favourite theologian, and used that book as the basis to write my reflection for the church newsletter this week. My "wasted time" was then made productive.)
- Reuse what you can. When I'm unwell, I use worship services I wrote from another time the readings came around in the three-year cycle and simply update it, rather than starting over. (When I'm really well, I write a new service.)
- Make the most of the resources you have. I currently have two adult offspring and a niece in my house. I can order other people to take the dog out for a wee, or to do a load of dishes or vacuum the carpet, or take out the rubbish. (I find they're also more willing to clean benches etc, if they have the disposable cleaning wipes, which are quick and easy.) They won't do things like changing cat litter - but I'm working on it. Last night my daughter learned where the mop is kept, which is a big step forward.
- Weeding the garden? Spray with weed spray if possible. If the weeds are too close to the actual plants, pull out one when walking past. Next time pull out another. Don't try to pull out two weeds in the same trip.
- I'm considering, but price has put me off a bit, having the chemist do my pill sorting for me. (It's an extra $5 per week on top of the cost of the medications.) That would save me the effort of pill sorting day, and would mean less risk of me making mistakes when I have brain fog. It's also easier to bring a pre-pack made up by the chemist if I have to go to hospital, than to take all of the boxes and bottles of pills in their "original containers". (If I should end up having to have surgery, I will definitely have this done for the time I'll be in hospital, and recovering at home.)
We began with The Simpsons, so let's finish up with a tip from Homer. (Although, I must state here and now, that I absolutely love my job.)