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Cleaning your house when you have a chronic illness

When you’re in a time of flaring, when your illness is overwhelming you, when fatigue and brain fog is kicking your arse, cleaning your house is probably the last thing on your mind. And as much as house cleaning is not something to prioritise over your health, things still need doing and sometimes having a messy house actually becomes an additional stress to your life and so I got thinking about my top tips.

1. Get help

Last year we took on a cleaner, now I know this is a luxury that many people can’t afford but for some it is something that could be considered. We have a cleaner once a week for two hours and it costs £20 a week, when I started working, it was my first decision as I knew I couldn’t do it all. Look through your finances and see if it could be a possibility as it is worth it’s weight in gold to me. A friend of mine uses part of her disability benefits to fund a cleaner as it is an important part of her health and well-being.

If you can’t afford a cleaner, then is there anyone you can fall back on when times are tough? A partner, friend, parent, child? It’s not easy to ask for help, but you can’t do it all all of the time and it’s ok to need support.

Even young kids can be taught to help out and it’s good for them to learn new skills and independence, whether it’s balling socks or filling the dishwasher, every little helps!

Child at sink washing pots chronic illness and housekeeping

2 Plan for your bad days

If you know that on your bad days you can’t do anything then think of your plan for those days.

If on your bad days you know you can barely get out of bed then what could you put in place for those days? I keep a stack of paper plates so if I can’t manage, we can eat off those and throw them in the bin. Is it a perfect answer? No! But it takes off a little pressure and I’m good with that.

3 Make it easy

What’s the easiest way to do a chore? Baby wipes have saved my skin more times than I can remember, they wipe down sides, clean a bathroom sink, wipe scuffs off walls and clean up spills. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just needs to be easy!

4 Keep it organised

Life is easier if you know where stuff is, and it also then makes it easier to delagate to other people if it’s clear where things are kept and where your cleaning supplies are.

Hoover on a blue carpet cleaning the house with a disability chronic illness

5 Declutter – get rid of the stuff you don’t need!

Do you use it or love it? If not, consider whether you need to keep it! Our lives become more and more filled with stuff and that can be overwhelming.

In Marie Kondo’s book The Magic art of tidying she says “The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life. Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take the plunge and discard all the rest. By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.“

6 Accept it

Your health and well-being is more important than an immaculate home. Sometimes we have to accept their are limitations to what we can do and we need to prioritise ourself over whether your kitchen floor gets mopped.

If fatigue or pain means you have limited energy then in my opinion, use that energy on something that makes you feel good! If you have kids, playing a game with them wins over ironing any day! We need joy in our lives so if you only have enough spoons to do one thing, make it something that makes you happy!

I hope this helps, let us know your top tips in the comments

✌🏽 & ❤️

Sam x

Sore skin and ileostomy

I have been having some soreness to my skin underneath where my bag fits. I spoke to the stoma nurse who said that it was common as when you are removing the wafer and bag, you peel carefully from the top and then once you are past the hole, you tend to rip it off quickly.

I thought this was what was happening so I made sure I was doing it carefully but unfortunately despite this, my skin was getting more sore.

This morning when I changed my bag my skin underneath was bleeding and so sore. I have been avoiding mirrors but I looked at myself and saw that the shape of the soreness was oval. My wafer is round…

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I suddenly realised that when I was taught to put my bags on and off, I was laid in bed. So now I always put them on whilst I’m laid down. Then when I stand, my skin is pulling downwards (the joy of having had three kids!!!) and the wafer is trying to keep it pulled upwards so its tearing at my skin and making it really sore!

I stood at my dressing table and put my bag on whilst stood up. I can’t believe the difference! You can see that whilst stood my wafer should stick a good centimetre or so higher than where it has been sticking when I put it on laid down!

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I’m hoping this is going to help with the skin soreness and also with the very slight leaking I have been experiencing.

I thought it was worth posting for other people with ostomies as its been a revelation to me!

Love Sam xx