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Information on this and linked website does not necessarily infer endorsement by the Fibromyalgia Support for Worthing and West Sussex.
Any advice or recommendation of a medical or legal nature must always be discussed with a qualified professional.

Registered Charity 1042582

affiliated with FMA UK

webmaster Pete MacKean

January 2014

Self Care

Support Needed in the Home

It comes in different ways.

What do you need?

  • Someone who listens to you.
  • Someone who gives you empathy.
  • Doing jobs in the home without complaining.
  • Cooking the dinner for the family and serving it.
  • Washing up and cleaning up the kitchen.
  • Doing the washing and ironing.
  • Asking if you would like a cup of tea while you are in bed or resting on the sofa.
  • Doing the shopping list and buying it.
  • Helping with getting the kids up, giving them breakfast, doing their lunch boxes.
  • Having no complaints when the dinner is not done when they come in.

You can see there are a lot of practical things we need from our family and friends. This list seems to be asking for a supper human and it’s a lot of work for one person especially if they work.

However I seem to remember when I worked I did it all. What you have to remember, some of these jobs can be spread around and or delegated to others. Some of you may be bring the kids up by yourself.

Write down your own list of things that need to be done, then priorities and do the jobs which are on the top of the list over a period of time. Then do the others when you can or delegate.

It is good to even out your day so you are not over stretching yourself. Have 15 minute rests through the day have a lay down every day, close your eyes, remember to put your alarm on so you don’t sleep throw.

Pencil in your ironing, set it up have a rest, iron the garments you need first and rest as many times as you need. Spread it over the day or week, when doing the washing don’t wash so much little bits then iron those little bits, it is better than having a massive pile starring at you, creating the thought of how am I going to get through this. The pile just gets bigger and bigger you get more worried about it.

To keep a pace that will get you through your day without over doing it write all your jobs including a bath, breakfast, getting kids up, washing, dressing, taking them to school, coming home and rest.

If you have someone coming round or your going out then don’t plan any jobs for that day apart from what you need to do for the kids. Teach your children as young as possible jobs like:

  • Changing the bed sheets.
  • Putting dirty laundry in the basket.
  • On laundry day bring the basket to your washing machine.
  • Helping to put the laundry out on a line.
  • Passing the pegs to you so you save bending down.
  • Put rubbish in smaller bins so it is not so heavy. Opening bottle tops so they are not tight making it easier for you and them to open.
  • Peeling potatoes and vegetables or salad.
  • Cutting food items with your supervision.
  • Dusting and hovering.
  • Keep rooms clean and putting their toys away before they open another toy.

You can get the picture that all jobs can be made simpler for you and it teaches the kids so the responsibility falls on them too without hurting yourselves.

Choose a day when you can sit down and go through the bills. As this can be mentally exhausting just do that one job in that day or do it for 15 minutes write notes to help you remember and do some more another time well in advance of your last day when the bills need paying or there is a dead line date. Once you have mastered pacing you will feel you are able to cope better.

Try not to do too much on a good day because you will suffer for the next few days.

Unexpected events can happen just adjust the day. If you have to rush of to attend to someone in an emergency everything has to wait and the day does not fall apart. Please don’t be too hard on yourself.

Most of us are house proud and need to have things done now. Allow yourself to accept over this time of being unwell things need to change because the circumstances have changed, accept things need to be done over time; you are the one that can change no one else. The answer is in you, learn to pace and you will get things done, it just will take longer.

Accepting you have to do this so you can avoid a flare up. If not you will continue to have flare ups and go down for longer. Allow your new schedule to become second nature and you will have peace of mind which takes away the stress factor.

If you have young kids incorporate some easy jobs for them to do and to make them like a game, use a star chart or a little present just something small not too expensive. This will eventually be second nature to them and they will grow up knowing you need the support in the home. It takes away the stress of telling them to do chores and they don’t argue with you so much.

If you have older kids it can be more challenging for you as the attitude of teens can be hard work. Some do not want to accept you are ill and that you need help. Some are just too lazy or just don’t care, unfortunately some teens only think about themselves until they are older.

Sit down with them all and have a discussion about what you have, what happens to you on a daily basis using books, leaflets and our website. Tell them in a way you are at the end of your tether and desperately need their help around the house, with important paperwork, shopping, and gardening. Usually if they see you desperate, depressed there empathy will come out and they become more caring. It is never as black and white as it sounds and am sure you know this however you need to have there co-operation over this time.

Don’t be afraid to show that side, yes usually as a parent you should be the bread winner and the one that is in charge and do all the things to keep the family going. When you are unwell the rules change. Create a job chart that the kids discuss with you and put together, put it up in the kitchen so it is visual.

On a good day don’t attempt to do that days jobs because you will go down very quickly and once you do the job that one of your kids should do, you undo all you have put in place as teens will think oh she can do it and they start to play up. It also creates arguments like ‘.that’s not far you did their job on whatever day but I have to do it all’. So avoid this scenario and don’t undo your good work.

Having someone in to do some of the jobs can help you, however it depends on money. Pace pace, pace is the only way to get through your day without hurting yourself, pain wise as well as mentally stressed.

Get someone to do the ironing a family member or friend each week, buy cloths that don’t need ironing, get each teenager to do there ironing themselves if they don’ wont to, leave it, they will then have to do it themselves.

A family should be about sharing that also means spreading the house jobs out so everyone does there bit.

Some people especially children do not want to accept you are ill, so it can make the process harder. In some cases counselling can help. If you have a child who has ADHD the rules change again. Experience tells me that you need more help not just from Cams the hospital but from family and friends. Learn as much as you can about the condition your child has and talk to all the family about it so they know that if you need more time with that child it does not mean you are neglecting they others. Talking in a softer voice not getting stressed will get you through the day. Shouting will only make it harder for all the family. ADHD children will respond to a calmer person, asking them to do jobs around the house at the right time.

  • It is not the right time when they first come in from school or work.
  • When they are hipper.
  • Just got up.
  • Picking up there bag and cloths after they have had something to eat and drink not as they walk in the house.
  • Asking with a low calm voice.
  • Asking in a way that you would ask another person not in the family. They need more respect in your voice than if you were telling them. This may sound ridiculous and something that you will need to adjust too however it defiantly helps.
  • Being on there side if you need to go into the school at the same time letting the school and the child know it is not acceptable whatever you are called in for. Suitable punishment at home will happen, you have to find out what the child will feel as a punishment like taking their toys away, taking their phone away for a week or computer or TV making a punishment that won’t hurt you and your health just them. Grounding is a good one but not too long as this will create more problems. Stick to whatever punishment it is for the short time you have implicated. Letting them know you are the boss but still not getting angry in yourself as this will just make your health worse.
  • If you can create a calmer atmosphere in your home then the household will be calmer and easier to handle from day to day.

Your support group is designed to give support not just for you the sufferer but for your family and friends so they can learn more and create ideas that can give you the day to day support that you need. It is important that you as a person learn some things too. Like accepting your condition, allowing yourself to allow someone else to do those jobs you struggle with. Accepting that when someone else does the job you should give them comments to make them feel good and feel they have helped you. Sometimes kids can be demanding and do not want to help. Some teach their kids to do their own laundry by the age of 16yrs old they can do it for themselves.

Creating meals can be very challenging when you’re not well, so on the days you just can’t get into the kitchen ready meals once in a while is ok, however when you feel you have a boost of energy go into the kitchen and do some prep work, cutting up onions, vegetables or salad leave sealed in the fridge and go back later to do a little more by the time dinner time comes along you have made a healthy meal. You can put that on the kid’s job list, cutting up veg or salad seal and put in fridge, helps you with making sure your family are having a healthy meal. You can also have them as snacks throughout the day, when sandwiches are made make an extra one wrap it up and you can have it for lunch.

There are so many things you can do just over time and little by little it will get done. It’s called pacing. Example:
  • Monday, take all day to dust.
  • Tuesday have someone Hoover.
  • Wednesday weed in the garden for 5 minutes.
  • Thursday pot a plant or put seeds in.
  • Friday get someone to hoover.
  • Saturday do something with kids, maybe help with homework, go out, just remember the list of jobs first.

Don’t give in, easier said than done but it will help you and your kids in the long run. Come to terms that each job will take longer than what it used to, relax your thought pattern with this, it will help your stress levels and in turn help to calm down pain. Believe me it works. Remember to talk to your family about what it going on because they need to do there bit to keep the household and family going. People are happy to help once they know the full picture.

Unfortunately not all kids will help, cruel to be kind springs to mind. As a parent we have to be hard at times that’s what it’s all about otherwise our kids won’t be able to raise their own kids properly in the future.

If you feel demoralised or unappreciated you can avoid doing things which ends up in arguments and a flare up for you. Depression not just affects you but the whole family.

So aim to have a happy home, less shouting and confrontation. Isn’t it better to have a smooth ride than a bumpy one? Of course there will be days that don’t go the way you planed, we all have them.

Downsizing your house is always an option when you are ready. It’s less house to look after, smaller area means not so far to walk in your own home.

You’re never alone if you talk to the people around you, bring along family and friends to the meetings or get them to phone the help line so that they can really understand what you are going through so they can give you the support you need. Contact details are on website, newsletters.

If you find it hard to tell your family get someone else to talk to them. The members in the support group are the best to talk to because they are going through the same or similar things you are going through.

For Fibromyalgia Support, call our number at the top of this page or you can email at

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