I found Spoon Theory at a time in my life when I refused to listen to my body. When I was sick, exhausted, and in intense pain, I’d take a pill and carry on. Sounds brave, doesn’t it? Ignorant is a better word to describe my behavior during that time.
Pushing myself and ignoring my body served only to increase the number and severity of my symptoms. Eventually, the pills stopped working, and I was left bedridden. Budgeting my time and energy and learning to listen to my body allows me to be more productive than ever before.
Learning about Spoon Theory changed my life and made it livable. I’ve always been the kind of person who pushed through any illness or pain to get the job done. When I became chronically ill, this attitude only exacerbated my condition. I’ve had to change my outlook on life, learn to say “No,” and maintain a schedule to accomplish what is most important. No matter how much I want to, there are things I will not do because the consequences outweigh the benefit.
Chronic migraine brought me to my knees, and I have no desire to return to that position. Some days I feel good and energetic, ready to take on the world, but my body has limits and forces me to adjust. Instead of pushing through it, I must slow down and rest, or the consequences will be severe and painful.
The slowing down is a dance, and I am still learning steps to a new way to face life because pushing through the pain, no matter what, was how I always confronted challenges in life. I’ve learned that there is no use in overexerting myself because it leaves me in bed with agonizing pain for days afterward. Conservation and the careful use of precious resources is a priority for this new phase of my life.
I work at home now after spending most of my life working outside the home. I made the change after suffering a debilitating illness that left me struggling to do many things. Staying on top of the cleaning is one of the things I continue to struggle with. While I’m able to do the day-to-day cleaning like dishes, taking out the trash, and laundry, I find it hard to keep up with bigger cleaning chores like vacuuming. watering the plants, and cleaning windows. I’m determined to get back on track without spending a lot of time fussing over a schedule.
I love schedules because they help me stay on track and be more efficient. I don’t like how I feel when I miss something I’ve scheduled to do, so my plan for learning to clean again must flexible. I need to be able to miss a day here and there and not fall behind, and I need time for the rest of life to happen. The day-to-day cleaning that I already to do takes me to almost every room of the house, so I pick up each room, one at a time. I want to approach weekly, monthly and annual cleaning the same way, a room at a time.
My proposed weekly schedule: Monday Living Room ; Tuesday Kitchen; Wednesday Miscellaneous; Thursday Bathroom; Friday Bedroom; Saturday Office. Each room needs the floors and countertops cleaned and surfaces dusted and wiped down. In the Living Room, the bookshelves need straightening and furniture polished. The Kitchen needs countertops sanitized and small appliances cleaned. Wednesday is a day for Miscellaneous cleaning but I can also use it as a day to catch up if I get behind. I’d like to water the indoor plants this day and do the bulk of my laundry. Thursday is Bathroom day for cleaning sinks, toilets and showers. Friday in the Bedroom to change sheets and straighten the closet. Saturday cleaning in the Office filing papers and paying bills.
Once a month I’ll clean the baseboard, vacuüm the furniture, clean out the refrigerator, and wash the shower curtain. I think the easiest way to do this is cleaning baseboard during my weekly cleaning during the first week of the month. I’ll vacuüm furniture during the second week. Clean out the refrigerators during the third week and washing the shower curtain the fourth week.
To help me remember quarterly cleaning I plan to do it during the change of the seasons. Spring, Summer, Winter, Autumn I will rotate seasonal decor and clothing, purge paperwork and check batteries in the smoke detectors. I think something similar will help me with annual chores. At the start of Spring I’ll wash curtains and clean windows. Summer will remind me to clean behind the furniture. When Autumn starts I’ll clean the oven and behind appliances. The beginning of Winter I’ll archive my files and collect tax information.
I believe this is a plan I can follow. Its simple and easy to remember but covers the areas I’ve struggled with. Once I master this plan I want to do something similar for outdoor cleaning and chores. I definitely need to play catch up out there too.