Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Coping, Obstacles and Spoons

This interminable flu virus has drawn the walls of my physical limits entirely too close for comfort. At least I have a few coping tools in place, from the physical limitations I already deal with. The biggest tool in the 'coping box' is probably REST.

Resting, to me, means only doing something if I really truly can do it wthout physical cost that day.
Of course there are days I do more than I should. If for example, I need care for the animals because Oscar is ill or something, of course I care for the critters, but I only do what is easiest, not necessarily everything that Oscar would do. As long as the critters are fed and watered, the essentials for that day are done.
It is insidiously easy for me to slide into ultra-focus mode when tackling a household task. It used to be, I would start by say, putting away the clean dishes while my coffee brewed, and half an hour later I'd find the counter cleaned, and be crippled for the rest of the day, and possibly the next.
Sure a clean counter is nice, but not at the expense of a more productive day than I could have had.
A friend of mine mentioned setting a timer for tasks, and that helped me a LOT when I was first learning this weird new self-discipline of not doing too much. These days I rely more on setting one small task and making myself sit down before attempting the next task. When I am in an accessible home, I will be doing many more tasks, from my chair.
As is the case with most of us, I was raised to push beyond my limits to accomplish what needed to be done, and I got damned good at that.
I was called lazy if I did not accomplish a task to the high standards of my family, and that and other negative feedback had (and sometimes still has) a tendency to play as background music when the house isn't up to my own standards.
It took a long time for me to be able to accept that my health was incredibly more important than having a clean kitchen every day.
Right now I'd say my largest challenge is that the house is so cluttered I cannot use my chair at all in here. Sort of a catch 22. Yes, I can clean the house enough to use my chair, but then I won't be able to walk for three days, and my fever will rise and I risk bone infection, and I can't use the chair to get all the way back to the bedroom or bathroom anyway.
The tools haven't all been marshalled for coping with this obstacle, but we've made a start. Reducing my ebay has been a large part of that. There are no new bags of books coming in to cause clutter, and I am slowly working my way through the books we have, putting them up singly. This leaves me much more time (and more 'spoons') to spend working on household stuff without overdoing it. (Note: The spoon theory is also an incredibly useful coping tool. http://www.butyoudontlooksick.com/the_spoon_theory/
(this website is also really cool)
Another really good coping tool is one my Mom taught me. As I go from one place to another, I never go with empty hands. There is almost always SOMETHING that belongs somewhere else, and usually in the direction I'm heading. This makes a positive difference in the room, and even if not everything is organized, I feel better because even the smallest accomplishment helps to silence that horrid background music.

(image is of my portion of a landscape quilt made before quilting cost too many spoons)

2 comments:

Lynx said...

I wish I could share some spoons with you, hon; your quilts are so beautiful. It is a loss to the universe that you had to take a vacation from making them. (never say that you will never do them again, one never knows what medical miracle will come up someday...)

Sharon said...

The spoon analogy is so excellent. May you be blessed with many spoons, Diana.