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How I Manage Housework with Thyroid Disease

How I Manage Housework with Thyroid Disease

I have always been a tidy, organised person. It’s just who I am. 

I feel happiest in a clean environment, yet when my health took a nosedive thanks to hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s, my ability to keep on top of the housework was hugely affected.

I went from cleaning and tidying most days (and doing one big, ‘deep clean’ once a week) to not managing any housework at all most weeks. I was so fatigued, sleeping most the time (fourteen hours on some days) and on flare up days, found myself feeling dizzy and unwell whenever I tried to do simple tasks such as putting laundry in to the washing machine. 

Rachel Struggling Housework

How My Health is Now

Thankfully, I have managed to piece back together my health over the last few years and am doing much better these days. But there are still flare ups in my health some times.

Back when I was feeling my worst, I was on Levothyroxine for my hypothyroidism, which just wasn’t helping me, but since switching to a different type of thyroid medication, Armour (NDT), I have improved a lot. Further working on other areas of my health with a functional medicine practitioner in particular, helped me to keep improving my health and fitness back to where it used to be, pre-thyroid disease.

You can read everything I did in detail, in my personal update blogs, as well as in the detailed blog about ‘My Thyroid Jigsaw Puzzle’, so that you can see which things may also apply to you and help you improve your thyroid health as well. There is also my book.

As well as piecing together those physical components and addressing other issues such as as adrenal dysfunction, diet, exercise, thyroid antibodies and oestrogen dominance, I also implemented the below things.

Understanding The Spoon Theory

The ‘spoon theory‘ is a metaphor those with a disability, chronic illness, health condition or autoimmune disease, for example, often use to explain their reduced amount of energy. When it comes to thyroid conditions, this can be in day to day living or just during thyroid flare ups.

The idea of the Spoon Theory, created by Christine Miserandino, is that many people with a disability, chronic illness or health condition and/or must learn to plan their daily activities in order to use their ‘spoons’ (unit of energy) wisely. [1]

Whilst people with no ongoing health issues likely do not need to worry about running out of energy.

‘Spoons’ are a unit of measurement used to track how much energy a person has throughout the day. If you imagine that each activity requires a certain number of spoons, which will only be replaced as the person rests, then it’s easy to grasp that if you run out of spoons (by overexerting yourself and doing too much), then you have no choice but to rest until your spoons are replenished.

Those with a thyroid condition often have to work out what activities they can afford to do each day, so as not to run out of spoons (energy) and be left exhausted. Sound familiar?

Even those who have their thyroid condition well-managed, like myself, tend to be more at risk of pushing their bodies too far and ‘paying’ for it later.

I Implemented the Spoon Theory When It Come to Cleaning By:

  • Spreading my cleaning tasks out – Instead of putting pressure on myself to get all housework done in one evening, I started to split it over two evenings, at about 45-minutes a time. This is much more manageable and doesn’t leave me feeling wiped out afterwards. You may need to spread it out even more so, so find what works for you.
  • Creating a routine – Thursday and Friday evenings are my ‘cleaning evenings’. I prefer to keep my weekends free of chores, but find what works for you. You’re more likely to feel on top of housework if you designate a set time to do it.
  • Starting to ask for help – I used to assume all housework responsibility, even though I lived with someone else who could easily help out too. My husband and I now have designated ‘cleaning responsibilities’. Cleaning the bathroom is always his task, as cleaning the kitchen is always mine. He takes care of the vacuuming every week, as I find it to be a task that drains my spoons very quickly, so it’s more efficient for me to do low impact tasks, such as dusting and washing up plates. There are also some tasks that are much easier to do with two people, such as changing bed sheets.
  • Being more realistic – Not every cleaning task needs doing every week. I have split my list of tasks in to ‘once a week’, ‘once a fortnight’ and ‘once a month’. The bathroom, kitchen, vacuuming etc. are done every week, but the oven can be cleaned once a month (especially since we barely use it and cook most our meals on the stove). I had to let go of my ridiculously high standards that everything needed blitzing every single week. It just wasn’t necessary and used up my valuable energy.
  • Taking breaks – I’ll sit down for 5-minutes in between tasks as and when I need to.
  • Playing music – I always stick some music on and have a sing and dance as I clean. It makes it a much more enjoyable experience and helps me to reframe it from a chore to something to be mindful of and appreciative for. I am very thankful to have a roof over my head.

Another idea, though not something I have personally implemented, can be to do a bit of cleaning each day. I personally can’t stand the thought of the house being so out of sync, but for some people, this works really well. You could vacuum on a Monday, clean dishes on a Tuesday, do laundry on a Wednesday and so on.

Has your ability to keep on top of housework also been affected?

You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.

Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate Book Tired Girl

See also:

The book: Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate: When You’re Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tiredwhich builds on this article in detail and covers the simple things you can do to get your life back in balance with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s.



About Author

Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes writing articles, authoring books, producing her Thyroid Family email newsletters and speaking on podcasts and at events about the many aspects thyroid disease affects and how to overcome these. She is well-recognised as a crucial and influential contributor to the thyroid community and has a large social media presence. Her bestselling books include "Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate" and "You, Me and Hypothyroidism".

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