Getting It Done: How To Push Through Chores During A Flare
It would be lovely to be able to spend all of your flare days in bed snuggled up to a heating pad and watching your favorite movies, but life doesn’t always work out that way. One of the things I find hardest to do when I’m in a serious flare is to keep my house clean, but I also know that having a tidy space is an essential part of keeping my physical and mental health in check. I have come up with a few tips that make cleaning a lot easier and I am happy to share them with this community!
Reaching for things with HS can be so painful
Grabber tools, sponges on handles, the extendible Swiffer - these things are LIFESAVERS. If you have flares under your arms or your breasts, reaching or scrubbing can be excruciating. Using extender products that stop you from having to stretch out the skin where your flares are, saving you a lot of pain. This applies to cleaning yourself too! Loofahs on handles, long-necked dry brushes, shampoo mitts - all of these tools make cleaning yourself a heck of a lot easier as well!
If you have a drill, get scrubbing attachments!
You heard me! Type “drill cleaning attachments” into Amazon, Walmart, or most other online stores and you will find scrubber heads and buffing tools that fit onto the end of most of your standard drills! These are great for cleaning grout, tiles, the bathtub, you name it! You don’t have to use any effort to get a sparkling clean bathroom and kitchen. I also use mine to clean stuck-on stains on the stovetop and backsplash!
Schedule your time in blocks
Schedule your time wisely - including breaks!! I like to block out my time into 30-minute chunks; 30 minutes of cleaning following by 30 minutes of rest. There is also the Pomodoro method that uses 20-minute chunks of time. Find what works for you! When you’re flaring it is vitally important to make sure that you are giving your body a chance to rest. Remember, rest is just as productive as cleaning and just as important!
Use HS-friendly cleaning products
Sometimes buying dupes or cheaper products doesn’t make a difference, but when it comes to cleaning products you really get what you pay for! Using stronger cleaning products means you need to use less elbow grease and less scrubbing power which can save you a lot of energy and pain. Now, this doesn’t mean you can’t use more natural cleaning products versus the ones laden with chemicals (I personally use some natural products and some more chemical-heavy products) but it is important that you use the right products for the right job! Using a “one size fits all” cleaning product like just using a vinegar mixture for every surface rather than having a product for each room can make a world of difference!
Break down larger tasks into bite-sized pieces
Instead of setting aside 30 minutes to ‘clean the kitchen’ break that down into smaller tasks! Not only will these be easier to do, but it is also a lot more realistic for flare days. Use a to-do list and separate those tasks into smaller chunks. I like to do a to-do list separated by rooms, so instead of just saying “sweep’, 'sweep' will be listed under each room so that I can do smaller bits at a time and rest in between while still feeling like I’m getting something done. Instead of “dishes” I will write wash dishes, dry dishes, and put away dishes as 3 separate tasks so that I can appropriately schedule my energy, as each task does take energy all on its own.
No task is too small!
Every little bit helps! If you can only wash the laundry but not fold it and put it away, that’s okay. You still did something, and you did it well! Sweeping the room but not being able to get the mopping done is a-okay. When you’re flaring, being able to get anything done is absolutely magical and you should be darn proud of yourself!
I hope these tips help make your flare days a little bit easier. It sucks to have to get work done when you’re in pain, but sometimes it can’t be helped. Give yourself a gentle pat on the back for being a rockstar, and then get yourself some well-deserved rest.
Where did you first hear about hidradenitis suppurativa?