Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Excuse or Legitimate Reason?

Yesterday was the start of Invisible Illness Week. The panel discussion was very good. If you missed it you can still listen to it at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/invisibleillnessconf

During the discussion, the topic turned  to house cleaning. To most people, vacuuming, doing the dishes, laundry, dusting, etc. isn't the most enjoyable job; however, it's not a big deal. Yet, to those of us who live with chronic pain and or illness,  house cleaning is a VERY BIG deal.

Have you tried to vacuum while using crutches or a cane? Have you tried to empty the dish washer when you can't bend the waist? Or tried dusting when you can't lift your arm above shoulder level? Or tried to clean the tub/shower when you can't stretch to reach the wall? Or tried to do any chores when your body is screaming out in pain? 

One thing which I am learning is the difference between an "EXCUSE" and a "LEGITIMATE REASON". Am I putting off cleaning the kitchen, because my pain is just too high to accomplish that task at this moment? Or would I rather simply put off the chore because I'd rather watch TV or be on FaceBook? If I really CANNOT do that task at this moment, than I need to give myself permission to rest. However, if I simply don't want to do the task, then I need to change my thinking. 

I guess I look at it this way. If I am having a "better moment" and I'm able to clean the kitchen, but am avoiding it because I don't want to do it... then I'm not being responsible. If I really can't do the chore at this moment, I need to give myself permission to rest and "reschedule" the chore for a later time.

One thing I've learned about living with chronic pain, is that I can't clean the entire apartment in one day. Oh, I used to be able to do that, before my injury. But now, I have to break down the house work into sections and I try to do a little each day. I am also leaning to give myself permission to change the schedule, if my pain level is just too high.

Excuse or legitimate reason?
It all depends on the moment. 

When the apartment is clean and in order, I feel so much better. There is nothing like enjoying a clean home. If I overdo the cleaning, than my pain level becomes too high to enjoy the end result. Being responsible includes taking into account what my body can do, and what needs to be done. 

The only way to create a positive day
is to be honest with myself
as to whether I'm making excuses,
or have legitimate reasons.

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