Fibronaut At Home

Killing Two Birds With One Stone

Not literally.

Today, in continuation of my happiness project, I vacuumed out my van.  It has not been vacuumed in YEARS!  The sad state of my van is one of those things that bugs me daily, not to mention embarrasses me anytime someone else sees it.  I was waiting for my hubby to clean it and obviously my hints of “This van is so dirty” every time he was in it, weren’t working.  I’ve long since given up nagging about the cleanliness of my van and just kind of let it go.  Then, while reading “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin, I started thinking of things I could do for myself, that I normally nag the hubby about.  She talks about how it’s not really fair to expect her husband to do certain things just because he’s the man.  If I don’t want to do it, he probably doesn’t either.  I’ve now added “clean van” as one of my monthly to-do’s, because as I’ve noticed and as Rubin also talks about, doing something more often makes it easier to do.

Thinking back, there are other tasks I’ve taken on since I’ve started feeling better that normally I would reserve for the hubby.  I’ve taken a more active role with our dog, I’ve been more involved in the trash duties and I’ve been hanging pictures and other things myself, rather than nagging incessantly and cursing the hubby while he largely ignores my tirade.  I’m sure he appreciates the decrease in nagging as well.

I just looked and the title and realized that I forgot to talk about the dead birds.  In vacuuming the van, I have also worked out.  BOO-YAH!!!  Two birds, one stone.

Side laugh:  I was just doing my tags and I typed “two birds one stoner”.  LOL.

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Day Dreaming

I was just looking at the houses for sale in the community that me and the hubby have always dreamed of living.  After all the coulda-woulda-shoulda’s and all the disappointments of the last couple years, it’s really nice to have dreams again.  I’m filled with hope.  Our day will come and hopefully we’ll appreciate it all the more.  For three years, my only focus has been fibro and CFS; How I’m feeling and not much else.  I feel like I have a new focus.

The hubby and I had a conversation while in a meeting the other day.  I found out that he isn’t all that concerned about me going back to work.  I just assumed that was the end goal.  Turns out he likes me staying at home, taking care of the kids and me.  How lucky am I?  For now I’m just home with the kids for the summer.  Next year I’ll try my hand at volunteering at their schools, maybe join the PTO.  It’s really fun to torment my 12 year old that I can’t wait to see him when I volunteer at his school next year.  Maybe I’ll have to start using that as a reward; Do this for me and I won’t show up at your school next year.

I’ve even been socializing.  GASP!  I’ve been socializing and not over-thinking every conversation or re-playing every moment and judging myself.  If I find myself starting that mess, I just say out loud, “What other people think of me is none of my business.”  Sometimes, I even Richard Smiley it and go look in the mirror.  Say it with me: “I’m good enough.  I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.”

I still want to write on my sewing blog more.  I let it go as long as I’m taking the time to sew instead.  I have lost a little weight and gained a little muscle, so I need to take in some of my clothes too.  I’ve even been doing workout videos.  Real ones.  Not just yoga for aches and pains and arthritis and older people.  I did Zumba and I did a hula one.  When somebody tooties their flutie, I gots to shake my booty (Donkey from Shrek), and now I can do it without hurting myself.

My house is clean.  This deserves it’s own paragraph because, holy crap, it’s freaking amazing.  It’s clean and I did most of it.  The trick is, once you get something clean, you clean it again before it’s at the FUBAR level.  My living room gets vacuumed every other day and the toilet gets cleaned whenever it looks even a little bit dirty.  I do dishes after every meal and I do laundry twice a week.  I don’t sit down on the couch.  That used to be my spot.  I close all the recliners, fold all the blankets and stack the pillows, so I’m not tempted.  As soon as my bed is empty, I make it.  I am much more reluctant to mess it up after I take the time to make it pretty.

I’ve struggled a little with people’s reactions to how much better I’m feeling.  It’s not a miracle, just a lot of little things that I’m doing right.  I don’t allow negative thoughts and I shake off any negative feelings.  I stay positive and when I feel myself slipping, I write in my positivity journal and I listen to my upbeat, encouraging music.  I started small.  Small goals and small jobs around the house.  Every day I added new goals or I cleaned one more thing.  I’m going to paint a sign to hang above my front door that says, “Make today awesome.”  I want my whole family to experience the happiness and contentment I’m feeling right now.  I didn’t write about this sooner because I didn’t want to jinx it.  Now, I’m not going to shut up about it.

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New Philosophy

I have been doing everything differently the last couple months.  It has worked so well, that I can’t help but share.

I’ve been really working on staying positive in every moment of my day.  I’m so sensitive, everything in my environment affects my emotions.  People, places, music, atmosphere, things I’m reading or watching; You name it and it probably has an affect on how I’m feeling.  I start out my day with music that makes me happy, makes we want to dance or makes me want to sing.  If I feel a little blue, I don’t examine those feelings.  I’ve noticed, that if I get all up in my feelings early in the morning, it becomes more difficult to get out of them.  Setting the tone for the day as one for positivity and accomplishing goals has been the most important change I’ve made in my life.

I recently read an article (http://www.weather.com/health/why-its-better-be-morning-person-20140407) on The Weather Channel about how morning sunlight can affect your body.  As soon as I wake up in the morning, I open the shades, curtains, and if it’s warm enough, the front door.  I’m less likely to stay sitting on the couch when the sunlight is shining in.  I’ve been keeping to a schedule of waking up at the same time, even on the weekend.  No sleeping in for me.  I take less naps and have less fatigue during the day.  If I do get fatigued, I need less rest before I can get going again.

I have been spending less time on the couch and lost in the internet.  Accomplishing this is easier than it seems.  I started with the goals that I wanted to be off the couch by 10 am and showered by noon.  In one month, I am off the couch by 9 am and I feel guilty if I haven’t showered by 11 am.  I think I am most proud of this achievement.  Yesterday, I wasn’t on the couch, but I was on the internet for 3 hours in the morning.  I had such a hard time getting going after that, and while I made my goals for the day, I did little else.  Today, I decided to start things off positive and to limit my internet this morning.  It is almost 11 am and I’ve already done dishes (what little there was, I’ll go into that later), started laundry and showered.  I’m resting on the couch now, but blogging, which is okay, because I know I’ll be up after I finish this post.

The next change I’ve made has to do with time management.  This is so important for me, because I have a deep need to feel like I’m contributing to my household.  The more time I spend accomplishing tasks, the less time I spend on the couch.  I used to get fulfillment in this area from work.  Since I can no longer work, I have to find other ways to contribute.  I do this through housework, being there for my kids and my hubby and sewing.  If I try to examine in my head what I’ve accomplished during the day, I get stuck in my head.  Other thoughts pop in that are unnecessary, hurtful to myself and I forget a lot of what I’ve done.  To combat my bad memory and my negative thoughts, I’ve started to keep an accounting of what I’m doing during the day and how long these tasks take me.  My system is very simple.  I write down the time I’m starting an activity and what it is.  When I start a new task, I write down that start time.  Sometimes I combine activities or make notations in the sidelines if I forget to write down a time.  That’s it.  I don’t examine this later.  There are no judgments later, no in depth study of what I’ve done.  I just keep track and that helps me to recognize that I’m accomplishing more than I think.

I’ve been able to get more accomplished in my day and have added more goals.  My daily goals in the previous year have been to shower, journal or meditate, hug/kiss my kids and hubby and tell them I love them, and work on dishes or laundry.  I have since realized that there is more to most of my days than just that.  I feed my cats and clean their litter every day.  I straighten my bed and straighten the bathroom every day.  Just having those little things done, gives me something to be happy about.  I sew or look for inspiration for my sewing every day.  When I do get on the internet, I spend more time on Pinterest and less time on Facebook.

I’ve completely changed my philosophy on housework.  With housework, the more frequently you do something, the easier it is.  In the past, I let laundry pile up, dishes pile up, dust pile up.  I didn’t sweep or mop until the floor was so dirty and sticky, that I couldn’t stand it anymore.  I wrote before of trying to do laundry every day, but that was just too much.  I had the right idea, but the wrong plan.  Now, I try to do laundry as soon as the hamper in the bathroom is full.  This is the hamper that fills up the fastest and the one I see all the time.  Since the other hampers aren’t full yet, I end up with smaller loads.  Smaller loads are easier to haul, take less time to fold and take less energy all together, thereby making it much easier to pace myself while doing them.  It was kind of a “DUH!” moment for me when I realized how much easier it was to get laundry done when my loads were smaller.

I’ve been loading the dishwasher after meals and soaking pans right away (most of the time).  It takes about 5 minutes to scrape and rinse the dishes and throw them in the dishwasher.  Then, when the dishwasher is getting near full, I make a note on my daily accounting to remind myself to start the dishwasher after the next meal.  I also put the dishes away the same day they finish washing.  Then, I’m not tempted to let dishes pile up in the sink.  Soaking the pans make washing them so much easier.  That sounds like a no-brainer, but I had a hard time with pots before because I would try to scrub them like I was my pre-fibro self.  My cast iron skillets get scrubbed with hot water right away or they get boiled first.  I also wipe off my counters every day.  Seeing a clean counter, like having my bed straightened and my bathroom counters clean, give me a little boost of positive energy.

I’ve also been keeping up with my kitchen floors.  If I sweep a couple times a week and mop at least once a week, it takes me half the time that it used to.  I wipe off the toilet if it’s getting nasty and do the same thing with the bathroom counters and sink.  Spending 5 minutes of straightening each little part of my house, even resting in between, I can keep my house looking almost decent.  I’m still working on the vacuuming.  Our vacuum went kaput from all the long hair getting tangled in the roller and my hubby couldn’t fix it, which turned out to be a good thing.  We started using our old vacuum instead.  It is lighter and easier to push across the floor, so I can vacuum small areas.  Last week, I dusted for the first time in months.  I’ve always hated dusting, so I’m hoping I can keep up on this.  I’ve accepted that ceiling fans will never be something I can clean.  The hubby will have to do these and I will have to be persistent but patient in getting him to do these.

I hope you stuck with me through this post.  I know it’s long, but I hope it helps someone.  You can do this.  I know you can.  Keep positive, smile and be awesome.  I love you all.

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Goals are Good

My goal for today is to be as productive as possible, despite this rainy, mildly chilly, low pressure system that is keeping me down.  I got the kids to the school with the help of coffee and 106.7 FM KBPI (the local rock station) Rocks the Rockies.  A little side note:  The guy who did the “Rocks the Rockies” part, used to come into the gas station my hubby and I worked at.

I Googled a couple of things I’ve been thinking about doing.  I have a sick kid at home, but luckily for me, she is just watching T.V. and eating cuties, which are easy for me to peel.  I was going to bake.  Why?  Why do I do this to myself?  I have zucchini and bananas and some other fruit that need something done with before they start to rot.  I think I’ll wait until Saturday and under the pretense of teaching my kids something, make them do all the work.  My arms and fingers are screaming at me.  I gotta go.  Bye.

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Tips For Slowing Down and Still Getting Things Done

When I was first diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, pacing myself was one of the biggest challenges I faced.  I was used to running around from thing to thing, all day long.  I was like the Energizer Bunny on crack.  Fibro/CFS has a way of bringing you down a notch or two or ten and adjusting to that has taken me almost two years and I’m still learning my limits every day.  Today, I thought I’d share some of the strategies I’ve learned for getting things done without killing myself.

  • Give all your focus to what you’re working on.  Don’t focus on time or on other tasks.  Set an alarm for breaks and anything else you have to get done in between.
  • Listen to music while you work, it’ll make time go by faster.  Check in from time to time to make sure you’re staying on task and to pat yourself on the back for what you’ve done.
  • Break up tasks into small pieces and take breaks in between to stretch and drink some water or have a snack.
  • Ask for help if you need it.  If no one is there to help, get what you can done.  Don’t attempt things that you know will cause you too much pain.  I know I can’t lug baskets full of laundry so I let my kids and hubby do that for me.  Sometimes that means waiting until they’re out of school or the hubby is off work, but that just gives me time to work on something else.
  • Have daily goals.  Little things that make you smile and get you in the mood to start cleaning.  My little things are making the bed, opening the shades to let in the sunshine and picking up the bathroom.
  • If something is driving you absolutely bonkers, deal with it first.  The easiest way to get something off the hamster wheel in your head is to take care of it.
  • Don’t let yesterday’s triumphs or failures effect today.  If you got a lot accomplished yesterday, don’t put yourself down if you aren’t able to accomplish as much today.  If you didn’t accomplish much yesterday, don’t think about that today.
  • Be patient with yourself and wait for those moments when you are feeling well enough to do things.  Then, take advantage of those moments but don’t overdo it.
  • Be open to changes in your routine and if something is frustrating you, try to find a solution instead of continually hitting the same road blocks and beating yourself up about them.
  • Just because you don’t work outside the home, doesn’t mean you don’t contribute.  It also doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a day off.  Just don’t be a complete bum.  Go for a walk, still do your stretches, yoga or meditation.

I may be jinxing myself by posting this because every time I think I have everything figured out something comes along to knock me back down to square one but hopefully this post helps someone else.

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