Managing a Home With Psoriatic Arthritis
Managing a home while living with psoriatic arthritis is no easy feat. To be fair, I’ve never been the best housekeeper, even before my psoriatic arthritis diagnosis. Despite the best efforts of my parents, I never did get in the habit of making my bed every day or keeping up with my laundry. While I was never “sloppy” per se, I was habitually unorganized and let’s say, more than a bit scattered. Both of these traits make managing a home while living with psoriatic that much more difficult.
Where do we put our energy?
I know, we don’t all have the luxury of staying home or working from home. We also have to manage life outside our homes. Generally speaking, most energy reserves go to working outside the home, and once we do get home, there is very little energy left hold our home lives together, much less practice any sort of effective self-care.
But lack of energy doesn’t keep the dust from settling on our shelves, nor does it keep the laundry from piling up in the basket. I have three young children and an amazing husband that works his butt off at work, often putting in many overtime hours so that we can afford my expensive medications and be able to homeschool our children. So when it comes down to it, despite my PsA, managing our home falls on my shoulders, and rightly so.
Going thru the stages
I’ve gone through every stage when it comes to dealing with both my home and PsA. I’ve felt like total garbage and let my home implode while I watched from the couch, managing flare after flare. I’ve had days when I’ve felt marginally better and ran around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to do a weeks worth of work in one day. Only to end up glued to the couch for another week as a result.
Not only that, but sometimes the sheer anxiety of knowing all that needs to be done, seeing the mountain of chores before me, and having no idea where to start keeps me from being able to do anything at all. PsA related anxiety and fear has been a constant companion since even before my official diagnosis. I become easily overwhelmed and just shut down. Soon it feels like there is just too much to tackle so why even bother to try? I can’t do it perfectly, so why try to do it at all?
It has taken time, but I’ve finally learned the best way to manage my house, as a mom living with psoriatic arthritis.
Do away with the illusion of perfection
I admit, this one was (and some days still is) a particularly difficult hurdle. True or not, I convince myself that everyone else must have perfectly maintained and managed homes. Everyone else cleans every nook and cranny of their home weekly. That everyone else’s homes are spotless. But the reality is that perfection is unnecessary. We have precious little energy, why waste it to attain the perceived illusion of perfection?
Establish a schedule for larger and daily tasks
This is by far, the best thing I ever could have done when it comes to managing my home. Instead of tackling a giant, energy sucking chore like cleaning the entire bathroom or bathrooms, break it up into smaller chores.
For example, one day a chore might be clean the toilets. Do your best to ignore the mirror, counters, floors, and tub. Just do the toilets. It ends up taking about 5-10 minutes of energy, instead of trying to do the entire bathroom. Then the next day, do the mirrors.
Divide up all the chores in the house into 5-10 minute tasks
You can do almost anything if you can break it down into manageable 5-10 minute bits. The key is to ignore that voice in your head telling you that everything must be perfect, all at the same time. Sure, the floor may be a mess, but dang, just look at that clean toilet. Perfect.
God didn’t make the entire world in one day, and you shouldn’t have to clean it all at once either. If you follow a pattern, doing a little bit each day, then you will know where to pick back up when the latest flare calms down.
Yes, it doesn’t seem like much. It’s not necessarily a life-saving tip. But it is one little thing that I can do, each day, to feel like I’m actually getting something done and have one less trigger for anxiety and the dreaded PsA Mom Guilt.