Saving our Energy

Saving our Energy September 10, 2012

As a teenager I worked in an after school program. I was assigned as a janitor in the elementary building to a tough but very smart boss. He wasn’t much taller than me, and I was only four feet eleven inches or so at the time but his sense of presence made him seem enormous. When he spoke his words left a long lasting impression on me and I still remember much of his advice. The one thing that stuck the most was save your steps. That advice has come in especially handy since I became disabled.

If you were to compare the amount of energy that some healthy people have to people with chronic illness or other disabilities, especially those that include a lot of pain, then healthy people would run on a nuclear power plant and a disabled person is on a rechargeable battery. When we have a full battery we can plan how to use our energy for recreation and errands, employment, and household duties. The trick is not to run down. Sounds like anyone else but remember we have a much more limited supply of energy.

When my boss trained me he showed me the best way to do each step in a seamless way that led to the next. For example, there was a specific way to gather up supplies from the janitor’s closet and make my way through the rooms so I would have to walk up the long hall again for more supplies.

This advice can be applied to your own life. Have each room set up so you are taking less steps. Put the coffee cups, coffee, and pot in the same spot etc. Don’t overwhelm yourself by thinking you need to clean the whole house that one day you are pain free or can think clearly. Do just one or two things a day.

Don’t wait for fall or spring clean up to get to your closets or drawers. Each day set aside items for donation, recycling, or disposal. My husband and I also keep a smaller clothing collection. In the summer we can pack our winter and fall clothes into one large plastic tub that fits into the closet. We put our summer clothes in there the next change of seasons. The clothes are clean and folded and ready to go into the drawers.

Here are some tips from my husband:
Leave early so you can give yourself time to rest before an appointment. Driving takes energy from muscle and mind use. When you get home rest a few minutes before doing anything else.
The night before work: set out your clothes, pack your lunch, and do some breakfast prep.

Here are some other great tips from HealClick:

CLEANING: Never leave a room without something in your hands (ex: a dirty glass, laundry, even something like a dog toy that isn’t where you keep it). Taking one small thing with you every time adds up fast and is a lot easier than trying to do anything all at once.

COOKING: If you are going to cook, make a double batch. It’s easier to make a larger batch of soup than to start over making a whole new batch. Freeze the rest in small servings so you can easily pull them out on the really bad nights.

Do this with any leftovers & you’ll love yourself later! HealClick: Blogging on healing and living with chronic illness.
“S.O.S. – Save Our Spoons”

By saving our energy we can live a more productive life. What are your tips for saving time and energy?

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