When Self-Care Means Saying 'No' to Housework


I hate admitting to myself, and showing to others, that there are simple, everyday things that I can’t do because of one or more of my illnesses. Unfortunately, sometimes self-care forces me to do just that; slow down and ask for help — from strangers.

Enter Rose (not her real name). It had been a few difficult months health-wise, and after being extremely busy to boot for nearly two months, I had to give in and get help to properly clean the house. Now, I know that those who are ill and those who aren’t are having very different reactions to that sentence. There are probably those who will look in perfect disgust at me for not being able to clean my own house.

But that’s how it goes. Sometimes self-care means saying “no” to some of the housework as you have to choose where to use your spoons wisely and “going out to buy food before I starve” kind of trumps “dust all the books.” And simply going to the shop and buying food can feel like climbing half of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Rose went above and beyond. Also, I realized the difference in the number of spoons I have. Whereas I feel half-dead by the time I’ve only vacuumed, Rose could clean the whole house and still carry on a conversation. (I would probably have fainted right there on the floor and lain prone until the evening, if not the next day.)

This made me admit to myself that I am actually ill and not just “being useless.” We all need help sometimes. And asking for it can make life so much easier.

Spare those spoons!

Getty Image by djedzura


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