There are many days I can’t do much. Of course that comes as no surprise to any of us living with CVID. When I wake up and realize that it is going to be a very difficult day, I often eat breakfast in my PJs, thinking I will go back to bed. The trouble is, I often end up too awake to go back to sleep, but I still feel too terrible to really do much. So I wander around the house, still in my PJs, and putter. Then I start to do things. Things that I feel silly doing still in my pajamas: making business calls, cleaning up some stuff. Then I go back to bed in the afternoon, and don’t end up taking a shower until 3 or 4 o’clock, which isn’t bad except for the fact that I always feel better after I’ve showered. Always. Even when that is the only thing I have the energy to do that day. Even when I am hospitalized. And when I don’t shower until that late in the day, I get out of the shower wondering why in the world I waited until so late in the day to help myself feel better.
I gave that a lot of thought during the two months I had the virus that was going around this past winter, and decided to try some things. Small things that might help me feel better, even on iffy days. Here are 5 things that are helping.
- Take a shower and get dressed before breakfast, unless I’m so sick that I know for sure that I need the spend the day in bed, sleeping as much as I can. Even if I realize after a shower and breakfast that I need to go back to bed for awhile, I can always change into some super comfy clothes, lie down on the bed, and cover up with blankets. Doing this one thing is proving to have a major effect on how I feel about the rest of the day. Somehow making necessary phone calls while still in my night clothes feels like that accomplishment for the day doesn’t count toward accomplishing anything. And many days I can do so little that i need every task I do to feel like it counts.
- If I don’t feel like total crap when I’m getting dressed, I’m starting to dress in nicer clothes. Now that I’m not going to work, I’ve been dressing in my weekend clothes every day. That is necessary when I am really sick, because during those times it almost takes more effort than I have to get dressed at all. But I like getting a little dressed up, the way I used to for work. Getting dressed in work-type clothes makes me feel pretty, and I like feeling pretty. It also makes me feel more confident. And those clothes have just been sitting around in my closet not getting used, which is silly, because I like wearing them.
- Make the bed. I often don’t have the energy to do that right away. Sometimes at all. But we live in a beautiful, modest, 100+ year old craftsman. As is often the case with not very large houses of that style and time period, there is no hall. Wasted space, right? (Except that that also means that there is no linen closet, and no coat closet. They didn’t have nearly the amount of stuff that we have now. But that is good. It helps me to be not quite as bad a pack rat as I tend to be.) The result of that, however, is that one bedroom opens directly on to the kitchen and the other opens directly on to the dining room. We are currently using the front bedroom which is the one that opens on to the dining room. Result: you end up seeing the bed all day long. If I make the bed as soon in the day as I am able to, (though sometimes that is afternoon) then the rest of the day I glance in and it’s nice to see something I’ve accomplished.
- Clean up after breakfast. Sometimes I have the energy to do this, and sometimes I don’t, but if I am still looking at messy counters and dirty dishes in the sink at 4:00 in the afternoon, I get a little depressed. If the kitchen is tidy, I think, “Look, I actually got that done.” If I am rushing off to a medical appointment, the dishes simply don’t get done, and I don’t feel guilty.
- Put on some lipstick. I’m a makeup girl. It makes me feel pretty. If I have the energy, which is rare, I put on a little blush and eye makeup. It does wonders for my self esteem.
These are things healthy people do every morning before going to work, and they don’t give them a second thought. It is just part of their necessary daily routine. For me, they are accomplishments, and they make me feel better.