Simplifying Life

Hello Dazzle! Thanks for coming and hanging out with me today, I’m glad that you are here. Today I want to talk about how I went about simplifying my life. By this, I mean how I reduced the amount of energy I needed to spend every day in order to accomplish everything that I need to. For those of us with chronic illness, we often find that there are more things that we are expected to do then we have energy for. This means that we need to take a close look at our lives and decide what we need to cut away and what needs to remain.

While I personally did this because of chronic illness, a person could choose to simplify their life for other reasons. Maybe they just took on too much or they are looking to make room in their lives for things that they feel they have been neglecting. Regardless of the why, I think anyone can reduce the number of things that they invest their energy into. I am going to tell you how I went about achieving that reduction in my own life.

Boundaries have become very important in my life. I have had to learn when and how to say no. I had to become comfortable with other people being disappointed that I wasn’t doing what ever it was that they expected or wanted from me. These boundaries have become the fences that protect my well being. They determine when and how I invest my energy. I needed to become comfortable with doing things in my own fashion even when those in my life didn’t agree with or like the way that I was doing it. Sometimes it is small things like leaving your dishes to air dry. Other times it is rather big things like no longer attending large family gatherings just because it is a holiday.

There was a great deal of evaluation of the relationships in my life and the impact that those interactions had on my energy levels. Some people are very draining while other people are restoring. Knowing which people are which is essential. There might not be two categories for you and that’s important for you to know about your self. Those who drain my energy now have to schedule my time so my energy can be appropriately budgeted for them. While those who restore my energy are encouraged to be present in my life as much as possible so that I might benefit from them more. However, they are never counted towards my energy total since I can never control what they choose to do with their time. This is true even if they schedule time with me.

I’ve had to become very familiar with what was a realistic expectation for myself and what wasn’t. I had to change from planning for having a good day and planning as though every day was a going to be a moderate day. By planning for the moderate days, I gave myself wiggle room. If it turned out to be a good day, I could do things left from previous days or pick up things from the next day’s tasks. If it turned out to be a bad day, I could put off tasks for another day. But more often then not, I have moderate days and that means that most of the time I could do what was planned for. A moderate day is what ever your average day looks like. This means that if your normal day is being able to walk 10 steps then only plan on being able to walk 10 steps even if there are good days when you can walk 30 steps.

Every task that I complete in my life has been re-evaluated. I asked: does this task serve me or my household any useful function? If it doesn’t then I discard it, regardless of what others might think of me not doing it. There is no reason to do things just because others in your life are doing it. If folding your clothing doesn’t serve a useful function for you then don’t spend your energy on it. Each task is also reconsidered for how I could do it more easily. Can I sit while I do this or do it over multiple days or use assistive devices etc.? There is nothing that says that you must complete a task in the same fashion as other people in order for that task to be considered complete and to have served a useful function for you or your household.

I had to learn to swallow my pride and accept help from others. There is no shame in needing other people to help us. We all need help from each other over the course of our lives. This is the nature of being human and the reason that we live in communities. However, we are taught that we should never rely on others and that we should always do as much for ourselves as possible. Well, that’s silly and harmful. If there are people in your life that are willing to help you then allow them to do so. This helping will be as diverse as the people who are offering the assistance. But whenever there is someone offering you aid you, consider accepting even when you have the energy.

Energy management and conservation has become a central part of my life. Whenever I am doing things, I am evaluating where I am at and how much energy the task might cost. Whenever possible I will reduce the amount of energy I am spending. Sometimes that means accepting a person’s help. Other times it means using adaptive equipment. It might also mean pacing my activity so that I am allowing myself plenty of rest. Even when I believe I have enough energy for a task, I consider how I can reduce the energy cost. This leaves me more energy to deal with the inevitable miscalculations and surprises that come up in life.

Well, that’s about it for my rambling today. Thanks for coming and spending some time with me. If you like what you read, click on that like button. It really does help! Until we talk again, you take care of yourselves!

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