Household Management Doesn’t Take a Sick Day: How to Take Care of Life at Home When You’re Ill or Injured

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Guest blogger Jackie Waters of Hyper Tidy is a mother to four energetic and amazing boys. After losing her mother-in-law, Jackie felt ill-equipped to help her father-in law with both his grief and the practical challenges that arose. Now, Jackie writes articles in her spare time so that others know about the incredible resources available to them and so that they know that they are not alone. Also check out her other guest blog Engaging the Mind and Body: Advice for People in Chronic Pain.

It happens: we sometimes get hit with a massive head cold or the flu, we have an accident that puts one (or more) of our limbs in a cast, we’re recovering from surgery, or a chronic condition flares up, and we suddenly can’t take care of our daily household tasks. We know we’re supposed to rest to get well, but according to Paul Ingraham at, resting properly is trickier than we think, especially if we’re resting at home. Dishes pile up, pets aren’t fed, clothes don’t get washed, and, generally, the house gets in a state of disarray. 

No matter how we feel or how immobile we are, we must still find a way to do housework. If you have a family, they can always help. For those who live alone, here are three ways to make sure you stay healthy and your households tasks are taken care of. 

1. Manage Your Discomfort

If you’re under a physician’s care, follow his or her recuperation instructions, and take your medications exactly as prescribed. If you suffer from a chronic digestive disorder, get some help with preparing your meals. Manage your digestive pain with high-fiber foods and acetaminophen. Also, try to minimize stress. The fact that you’re unable to do basic household tasks might increase your anxiety and worsen your symptoms, and even cause a setback in your healing. You can lessen stress and speed up your recovery by trying activities such as meditation and listening to calming music. Above all, don’t let your inability to take care of everyday household tasks make your condition worse. 

2. Get Help With Cleaning

In an article in Psychology Today, Dr. Sherrie Bourg Carter states that a messy home can make us feel anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed. And as discussed earlier, those sensations can hinder your healing. To help get and keep your house clean as you recover, look for a reputable cleaning service. Most homeowners spend about $145 nationally to have their homes cleaned by a professional. If you are unable to hire a service, ask friends for help. While a professional service might work more quickly and be more thorough, your friends will probably be willing to help you at no charge. Not only that, but just having them over will probably cheer you up. When you’re fully recovered, however, make sure you give them some token of thanks. 

3. Keep Up With Your Paperwork (Including Bills)

If you’re out of commission because of the flu, a severe head cold, or a sinus infection, chances are that you won’t be out for too long, but if you are recuperating from surgery or a broken limb, you might be out longer. In either case, do not let your bills go unpaid, mail go unanswered, or paperwork go uncompleted. If the recuperation will be lengthy, chances are that you’ll need to get an extended leave of absence from work. Ask a friend to help bring in the mail each day and help you get bills and paperwork organized and completed once a week. If necessary, call your creditors and utility providers to explain the situation, and see if you can make any arrangements that will help you financially while you’re out of work. In extreme cases, organizations such as the Salvation Army can help you pay your bills. However, don’t wait until the situation becomes too dire. If you know you’re going to be out for awhile, make a bill payment and paperwork plan ahead of time. 

Being stuck at home when you’re severely ill or recuperating from a procedure doesn’t mean that life inside your home has to stop. By recruiting friends or a service to help with tasks and by taking care of yourself so that you’re not overwhelmed by stress, you can relax as you recover – and that will help you get better more quickly. 

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