When you have chronic pain, life is all about energy allocation. Each day you face the question of where you will use your precious energy levels. You can’t go to work and clean the house, so you choose one. You can’t make dinner and go see a friends, so you choose. One or the other.
Which tasks, activities and life essentials will you keep? And which will you decide don’t make the cut?
Lately, my job has been my priority. Maintaining my job has been all about smart energy allocation. It has been about saving energy in other areas of life, so that I have enough energy to go to work 3 half days a week. Without the lifestyle changes I have made over the last years and months, it would be physically impossible for me to work as much as I do.
So, what changes have I made?
Grocery Delivery. My biggest energy saver is getting my groceries delivered every week or so. I rarely to never go to the grocery store anymore. One grocery trip is equivalent to a four hour work day for me. So, I figure that by cutting this out of my schedule, I am able to add in an entire half day of work.
Amazon Prime and Amazon Pantry. Everything else I get delivered through Amazon. Essentials like toilet paper, napkins, shampoo, and come about once a month. Other random items such as printer ink, bug spray, books, underwear, kitchen items, etc..are ordered on an as needed basis. I estimate that my Amazon deliveries save me one big shopping trip and two small shopping trips a month. That’s another 2 half-days of work each month that I can do instead of going to the store.
Clothes Shopping Online. I am sure you are noticing a trend with this whole delivery thing. Modern conveniences are super convenient. What would I do without them? I am slowly learning to clothes shop online, although I really dislike it. I try to do it through places that have good return policies. Or sometimes if have an article of clothing I really like, I just buy the same thing in a different color. I have flared myself up the last two times I went to the stores to clothes shop, so this is an important one for me right now.
Schedule Showers. I save much precious energy by scheduling ahead of time when I am going to shower, and not showering every day. On average I shower every other day, which saves about the same amount of energy that goes into two hours of work each week. What in the world makes showers such spoon suckers?
Change the Way I Socialize. One big sacrifice I have made is to change the way I socialize. Meaning, I don’t really socialize. This is hopefully just short-term while I work towards getting hours at work for licensure. But it’s all about figuring out what is most important and cutting out the rest. I ask people to come visit me at my apartment so I don’t have to travel. I use social media to connect with friends and Glide to video chat with people throughout the day. One visit with friends is equal to a whole half day of work. Lots of energy saved!
Say No. All The Time. When people ask me to do things, I say no. All of the time. If I can’t do it, if there is any question of whether I can do it or not, I just say no.
Eat Healthy Premade Meals. Every Monday after work I eat Amy’s Organic Canned Soups. They are delicious. They are healthy. They are affordable. I don’t have to waste energy deciding what I’m going to eat when I get home, and all I have to do is pop in the microwave for a few minutes.
Don’t Fold My Clothes. I have gotten into the habit of not folding my clothes most weeks. I sort out my socks and underware and put them in a drawer. The rest of my clean clothes stay in a bin and get transferred to another bin once I wear them. I kind of hate it, but it does save energy.
Simplify My Possessions. This requires some extra energy to start out, but in the end it is worth it. At one point, I got rid of a ton of stuff and greatly simplified my possessions and the amount of stuff we keep around the house. The less stuff you have, the less stuff there is to clean up, and this does make a big difference on a day to day basis.
Leave the Apartment a Mess. But besides simplifying things, I honestly just leave my apartment a mess when I don’t have enough energy left to clean it up. It drives me crazy, but eventually I always get things back in order.
Don’t Walk Somewhere Twice If You Can Walk There Once. I am always looking for ways to combine tasks together. If I know I will be walking from the bedroom to the kitchen, I look to see if anything in the bedroom needs to make it to the kitchen. It is such a simple thing, but I do it all the time, and stuff gets cleaned up as I go about my regular day without any extra energy used. I don’t run around cleaning stuff; instead, I do it throughout the day as I have to walk places anyway.
Do Stuff Lying Down. This is a huge energy saver – there are so many things you can do lying down. Things that don’t first come to mind. I chop vegetables for dinner lying down. I eat lying down. I write and research and do my freelance work lying down. I write cards, go shopping online, have conversations with people who are over, and paint my toe nails, all while lying down.
How do you conserve energy? What is that one thing that you really want to do, and how could you allocate your energy away from other places in your life so you can start doing it?
Right now, my one thing is work, but I am sure that further down the road it will be something else. It’s all about figuring out what is important to you, and letting the rest go.
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