Apr. 09, 2018

Sharing the Journey: Stress-free and Healthy Spring Cleaning

The Sharing the Journey series is by people like you and for you. In their own words, we highlight the perspectives and personal experiences of people who struggle with lupus each day.

This month, we asked Sharing the Journey participants the following question:

The spring season is here and for many it’s the start of spring cleaning. This month we would like to know what tips you have for a stress-free and healthy spring cleaning.

I love to clean and I'm stubborn, so making a plan for tackling my spring cleaning is the only way to avoid over-doing it. I generally handle one room at a time. While I'm cleaning I always find something that needs to be done that wasn't on my original list. I have to force myself to add it to the end of the list or add it to another day because I tend to want to get everything done all at once. I don't have allergies so wearing a mask isn't necessary for me; however, the ups and downs of spring cleaning weighs heavy on my knees, ankles, and lower back. As a result, I try to sit to clean when possible, instead of squatting. Also, at the end of a cleaning day I reward myself by soaking in a hot bath. I also find that raising windows, or opening blinds to let the sunlight in makes for a happier cleaning process (but of course I wear my sunscreen!) – Kayla B.

For college students, the weeks between spring break and the end of school are incredibly busy. At this point, I'm two weeks behind in homework and four weeks behind in sleep. Amidst all the academic responsibilities, finding time to clean, organize, and declutter is incredibly difficult but definitely necessary. However, when I let responsibilities apart from schoolwork build up during the week and try to deal with them on a daily basis, they distract me from my academics and prevent me from making significant headway on my school assignments. So, I try to set aside one day a week (Tuesday) for all my non-school related responsibilities, such as grocery shopping, laundering, vacuuming, mending, organizing, and disinfecting. During the week, I write down what I call "non-school to dos" in a list on my phone whenever I think of them. This way, I never forget them and I don't have to worry about them until Tuesday. The rest of the week, I can devote my time to my schoolwork and to attending all my rehearsals, meetings, classes, and work shifts. If anything urgent arises that cannot wait until Tuesday, I try to deal with it as soon as I get home, before I settle in to work on homework or take a nap.  – Becca M.

It helps for me to break up tasks. I never do an intense cleaning anymore and I always break things up with stretching. When I vacuum or sweep, I always alternate from left to right arms as well. I also like to play music to make it more enjoyable. I take walks to ensure I get my blood flowing. This and stretching are both helpful for me. Also varying the task and having something to focus on. – Betsy H.

If you have lupus, I think it’s important to be organized all the time, not just for spring. I try and de-clutter several times a year, that way it never gets too bad. My husband is also a huge help with cleaning, so having friends and family are a must! We also like to have someone come in and do deep cleaning about every three to four months, this makes it easier to keep up. I think whatever works to help keep the stress down is great. Roxi W.

Managing household cleaning

Whether you are cleaning this Spring or maintaining your cleaning year-round, it’s important to have a plan, ensure cleaning isn’t stressful and take into account health considerations. If you need suggestions or recommendations for keeping your cleaning healthy, please contact one of our health educators.

If you have household items you are looking to donate, be sure to check out the Lupus America Household Goods Donation Program. Proceeds from the sale of donated items are used to support lupus research, programs and support.