My pride would like to think I can go all out, that I don’t need any help. My body tells me otherwise.
A few years ago I came up with some principles and practical ideas to satisfy the need and want to do things around the house while avoiding some stress on my body. I offer the following for anyone who’s interested:
1. Principle–do what you want to do, (say yard work), but take more breaks while doing it. Whatever the ratio of breaks to work doesn’t matter, as long as you take a break. Yes, it will take longer to finish the task, but you will be glad you rested, especially the next day. I used to beat myself up when I didn’t accomplish as much as I wanted. Now, I’m coming around to the philosophy that it’s not so important to get things accomplished (those things around the house that don’t have a deadline). They’ll be there tomorrow. My body isn’t a machine; it can’t go full-speed ahead for very long, no matter how much my mind insists it can.
2. Principle–when possible, buy furniture that isn’t heavy or awkward to move. For instance, we had a large wooden cupboard my dad made. It was sturdy, and featured a number of storage compartments. But the cupboard took up a lot of space in the powder room, and since it stood about 6′ tall and roughly 4′ wide, it was too heavy for my mother and I to move. (My dad wasn’t available to help.) When we called an auctioneer to take items on consignment, the cupboard went. I replaced it with a plastic 3-drawer storage unit on wheels. It’s lightweight and portable. Granted, it can’t contain everything the wooden cupboard did, but the unit holds the essential bathroom tissue and a few other items. The storage unit meets our need for items easy to move. More and more I select items with an eye to weight and ease of handling.
3. Principle–buy storage pieces you can handle, like the above example. I have a lot of plastic tote boxes and blanket boxes. I have to remember not to pack them too heavy!
4. Principle–buy outdoor equipment like indoor furniture. My dad had a contractor’s wheelbarrow. He mixed cement in it, and did a lot of tasks with it. For me, it proved too heavy to use. We bought a lightweight wheelbarrow and now it’s our “go-to” cart when we need to move grass clippings, or rocks. Using lighter equipment allows me to work longer.
5. Principle–ask for help when needed. We prefer to do as much as possible around the house by ourselves. But last November an ice storm brought down a big pine tree limb in our yard. We did what we could, but it took the help of a neighbor’s friend and a couple men from the Men’s Ministry of church to finish the clean-up. Lesson for me: sometimes the responsible thing to do is drop my pride, pick up humility, and call for help.