Life hacks

Learning to live with ME is definitely better when you focus on what you can do, rather than what you can’t do or what you used to do.

For me, building up a little list of ‘life hacks’ has helped me greatly. Most of these are bleeding obvious, but sometimes the most obvious things are only obvious when they’re pointed out, or when you realise the way you’ve always done something isn’t necessarily the best way.

These life hacks serve multiple purposes. Some are about making tasks shorter or easier. Others are about making the most of any given moment. The one thing they all have in common is that they mean you drain your own internal battery or energy store less quickly.

And we’re all aiming to make that limited supply of energy last longer.

So, in no particular order, here are some of the life hacks I can think of as I write this post. There’ll be many more so I’ll do my best to pop back here and add to it. Please also get in touch with your own. The more we can share here at Zonked Club, the more we can help each other.

The first thing that springs to mind is multitasking. Wherever you go in life you see people multitasking. At work there are people checking emails while eating lunch while on a conference call. At the cafe there are people drinking their coffee while reading their newspaper while ordering goods online on their phone. Likewise, a walk down the street is now time to check social media on your mobile.

Stop!

Multitasking doesn’t make you better or more efficient. It just makes you more tired and distracted. If you’re going for a walk, go for a walk. Enjoy the walk. Notice the birds in the trees and the sound of the traffic or the giggles from that group of people passing you by. I promise you, that simple walk will prove more enjoyable and interesting than you ever thought if you ditch the self-imposed distractions.

Next up, turn that visit to your hairdresser into a mini spa break. As your hairdresser nicely and that quick wash of your hair before your cut or style can become a wonderful head massage. Forget a shampoo and condition, as for two shampoos and a condition. And get them to really take their time. I promise you, they won’t mind at all and you’ll feel all the better for it. Agree that you’ll save the small talk for when you’re in the hairdresser’s chair. At the sink, close your eyes and lean back, and enjoy every last moment.

If you have a favourite TV or radio show, watch or listen to it on your terms. Catch up TV and radio apps have proved so useful to me. I now watch or listen wherever and whenever suits me. It also means if I dose off mid-show, it’s no problem at all, I just scroll back and pick up from where I left off. Just because a show is one hour long. It doesn’t need to be a one hour watch. It could be three 20 minute chunks over three separate days. That weekly programme is suddenly your very own mini series.

We all know the joys of delving into the back of that cupboard to find that jar or tin, or reaching to get a plate or bowl out at mealtime. If you’re anything like me, when you think about the layout of your kitchen and you’ll soon see the madness of some of the things you do daily.

Each day I’d move two dinner plates from the drainer into the cupboard. Then reach into the cupboard to get the same two plates when it was time to eat. Now those two plates live on the drainer. It’s not much, but a few of these little shortcuts soon make a noticeable difference. You probably already do it to an extent, but make sure the things you use most often are at the front of the easiest to reach cupboards and drawers. Just because a cupboard has had a particular purpose all its life doesn’t mean you can’t rearrange things to suit your practical needs.

It’s the same with the fridge and freezer. I keep things at the front and leave the backs of upper shelves empty so I don’t need to reach as far or as often. And I don’t wash up as often. A pile of washing up and a small bit of washing up, for me, expends the same amount of energy. So I let it all hang around through the day until dinner time. You may be a little and often person, but see what works best for you.

I never used to keep a diary of simple day to day stuff, now I use the diary on my phone for almost everything. A coffee with a friend, the food shop, picking up a prescription, even remembering to go for a stroll. There are three reasons for doing so. Firstly, so a remember to do things! Second, so I can see at a glance how much I have in my day, meaning I know when it’s time to say no to anything else. And third, so that on those days when I’m feeling a bit of a failure, I can look back over the previous day’s and reflect on how much I actually can do. It’s a really good way of seeing the world glass half full.

And finally, for now, get yourself a mantra. A what? I used to consider these things mumbo jumbo, but I’ve settled on a little phrase that I remind myself of st least every day.

My mantra is ‘worry less, no rush’. Whatever the situation that presents itself to me, if I let those words run through my mind, it helps me tremendously. If I think I need to do some shopping but I’m feeling to tired, it reminds me there’s actually no rush – it can wait until tomorrow. If I’m getting worried about whether I’ll have enough energy for a meal I’ve been invited to at the weekend, the mantra reminds me to worry less. What’s the point in worry about how much energy I’ll have in days from now. It is literally a waste of time and energy.

There are many more, and I’ll try to remember to add them as and when they occur. In the meantime, what are your life hacks? Let us know so we can share them with other Zonked Club members.

Happy hacking!

12 Comments

  1. Getting dressed/undressed is very energy draining. I only wear clothes that pull on/off ;no zips or buttons. Unable to do ironing so clothes are of fabrics which come out of tumble drier relatively crease free. I can only wear shoes with velcro fastenings as my feet are painful all the time & swell on walking.

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    1. Yes these help. Also, a rubbed shower mat to save bending trying to clean your feet (just shuffle!). Boiling pasta/potatoes? Put a chip pan colander in the water first. That way you only have to lift out the pasta, not a heavy pan full of water and pasta!

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  2. We got a Roomba robotic vacuum for Christmas, it has been a godsend! My partner has ME and whilst not working has felt the responsibility for keeping the house clean.

    The Roomba does the vacuuming for us, and whilst it needs emptying after each outing, that’s a 5 minute job rather than the ~30minutes of physically vacuuming. Its the small things which add up.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We have moved our son (with CFS) downstairs so he walks on one level to the shower room & then into the kitchen / dining room. Not going up & down the stairs has greatly improved his energy levels. He also feels more connected to the rest of the family.

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  4. A tall stool for use in the kitchen when cooking or washing up. Another stool in bedroom for getting dressed/undressed. A shower chair, of course, and not showering every day. (Use baby wipes and dry shampoo in between showers.) A stool in the bathroom for brushing teeth. Basically, find ways to do your daily activities while seated, instead of standing. Also, when going out, I have a cane that folds out into a 3-legged stool, so I can sit when I need to, assuming I’m not using my wheelchair. When traveling by plane, request wheelchair assistance for going through security and getting to/from the gate.

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