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When you suffer from any kind of illness it’s hard to muster up the energy to take care of yourself, never mind your surroundings. Things start to slide, dishes pile up, clutter becomes mess becomes disaster areas… This is all normal and it’s not a bad reflection on your worth as a person. If you can’t face cleaning then you can’t. You learn ways of coping, of dealing with the mess, of making less impact in the first place and of managing the damage when the piles get too high. That’s normal too. It’s a problem many people face. When I talk about taking control of your environment I understand that limited spoons are a real issue. But when you do have those spoons…

When you do have spoons it’s still hard to spend them on your environment. By then the piles have gotten high and it seems like you’ll never make a dent in them. By then you’ve forgotten what living in a clean house is even like. By then you don’t know if it really matters. It does matter. I’m not talking about hygiene or what other people, I’m talking about the psychological effect of having a clean and clear habitat. It’s an effect that I all too often forget, and I wonder why I get so stressy and cranky, and why lounging in the living room isn’t as relaxing as it used to be, and when eventually I get up and do a clear I realise that YES! That was it! My brain *likes* being somewhere pretty. It’s as simple as that.

The effect is as simple as that, that is. The actual tidying… not so much. When every waking moment is a fight with your mind you don’t much feel like picking fights with dust and grime too. So what can you do about it without spending too many spoons?

  • Limit your cleaning time.
    I know this sounds counter-intuitive, but if all you associate cleaning with is running out of spoons then that’s yet another black mark against it in your mind. Tell yourself that you’re going to clean the kitchen for 15minutes, then clean for 15 minutes. Don’t push any further, even if you feel you could go on all day. Take a break, reward yourself with a cup of tea, and if you feel like doing another bout of cleaning later then you can do it then.
  • Notice the little things that make big differences.
    You don’t always have to put in a lot of effort to make a room look brighter. Today I realised that I’d piled a blanket beside the washing machine weeks ago with the intention of washing it later and never did. It was just sitting there, being ignored, looking messy. So I grabbed it and shoved it in the washing machine. Instant space and another positive step taken.
  • Do small things in idle moments.
    Try to get in the habit of rinsing out your glasses after you use them, or wiping down a worktop while you’re waiting for the kettle to burn.
  • Do something non-cleaning to make the place look nice.
    Put some flowers on the table, arrange the cushions and blankets in a comfy-looking nest on the sofa, Put an ornament that makes you smile somewhere that it catches your eye. Make your surroundings a place that you like.
  • Don’t stress about it!
    These are all suggestions of what to do if you find yourself with a spare spoon at the end of a day. They’re things that might be nice to do for yourself, to make you smile. Don’t force yourself into a frenzy trying to make them happen. Sometimes you have spoons, sometimes you don’t. That’s okay. Take care of yourself.
  • Remember the grain of salt!
    Today my achievement was washing a blanket. It made me feel happy, and accomplished, and I wanted to remind other people that sometimes it *IS* worth it to spend your spoons on annoying things like housekeeping. That said I still have a pile of dishes 2ft high and a room where you can’t see the floor. I am by no means speaking from the posistion of a cleaning expert 😛
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