alt=woman cleaning and resting

5 Tips For Cleaning With Chronic Illness

Cleaning… One thing I do not enjoy at all. It’s a joke in my family because when I was younger I was quite the slob, but honestly, what teenager isn’t?

As I’ve gotten older I try to keep a clean house, but that can be really hard when you are living with any kind of chronic illness, including heart failure.

The energy drain of chronic illness

I’ve been living with a chronic illness for many years. In the beginning I was able to hire someone to come twice a month to do the deep cleaning that I just didn’t have the energy to do, while also working full time, but as I changed jobs that was a luxury I just couldn’t afford. So I’ve come up with some tips that have really helped me.

Please remember that these work for me, but might not for you!

5 tips for cleaning with heart failure

I am the queen of making lists. I have lists for everything. So every Sunday evening I make my list of things I need to do, or clean for the coming week. For me, having it on paper and not in my phone helps me to actually take care of my list. There is something about crossing off tasks just makes me happy. If you have kiddos who are old enough to make lists of their own, it's a really good way to see what tasks you can delegate to the rest of your family.

  1. Make a list

    Remember to put include all of the things you need to get done in the week on your list. Add every single task, no matter how small. After making that list, assign other people in your home to help!

  2. Set a timer

    Every evening, I set a timer for a minimum of 10 minutes on Alexa and blast music and just get at it. I try to get as much done as I can in that time. It’s been working really well. If you don’t finish everything you want to during that time, it’s fine! The timer isn’t for cleaning an entire bathroom or for big tasks. It’s for tidying up the kitchen, loading and unloading the dishwasher, sweeping the floor, putting a load of clothes in the washer, and so on.

  3. Clean only one room a day

    This can be done a number of ways. The easiest is to set and develop a schedule or routine for cleaning your home. You can clean one room every day. For instance: Mondays - clean your bedroom. That includes cleaning the bedsheets, dusting, and vacuuming. Tuesdays - clean your bathroom(s), etc.

  4. Take breaks when you need them

    This one is hard for me because once I start a task, I just want to get everything done at one time. Then the next day I feel awful. I’m sure I’m not alone in this. That said, don’t feel bad about yourself if you have to take frequent breaks. It’s better to take breaks and rest than to push through and feel awful later in the day or tomorrow!

  5. Ask for help!

    I know as women (and men I assume, but I can’t speak for them), we often feel like we have to keep a spotless house, cook every night, and do it all by ourselves, but we have to ask for help when we need it. Once you get to a spot where cleaning is making your health worse by causing you to get short of breath, you are doing a disservice to yourself and your family. Whether you are asking for help from your family or hiring someone to come your home, it really is a life saver. If you don’t have help, try not to stress, and just do whatever you can. If that’s loading 2 dishes into the dishwasher, that’s more than was done before!

It’s so hard for women in today's society to actually ask for help. So many women feel like they have to do it all, but those of us living with chronic conditions have to remember that we can’t do it all, every day! For that, I remind you that you can’t pour from an empty cup.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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