Doing more around your home

Keeping the house clean and tidy takes work, but when you have a brain injury and chronic pain it can be even harder keep on top of the housework.

Make a plan to do more around the house and manage your pain.

There can be many reasons why pain and brain injury make it difficult to do things around the house. Do any of the these look familiar?

Doing more around the home

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  • Physical limits from your injury stop you
  • Memory problems make you forget what you need to do
  • You have trouble planning and organising  your time
  • Mood problems make you feel overwhelmed by the mess
  • Your pain stops you from finishing jobs

It can help to put together a plan so you can do more around your home and still manage your pain. Read through the steps below, then check out the Doing more around your home guide for more information and read an example to show you how to make your plan.

My doing more around my home plan

Step 1 – List the jobs you need to do around your home

Everyone has a different home, you might live in unit with just one room, a big house with many rooms or something in between. Write a list of the different areas in your home that need cleaning. Also put in other jobs, like buying the groceries or putting your clothes away.

Break the jobs down into smaller parts. For example, instead of listing cleaning the bathroom it would be better to write down clean the toilet, clean the shower, clean the bathroom sink. That way you can do bits of the job at different times. The list can be long, do not get overwhelmed.

Step 2 – Think about how often these jobs need to get done

To make a good plan, you need to know how often each job needs to be done. Some might need to be done every day, other jobs might only be a few times a year. Do not think about what would be ideal, but what is realistic given your current ability and pain levels.

Step 3 – Choose who will do each job

Depending on your situation you might have to do all or only some of the jobs. You may live with lots of housemates, a small family or on your own. You might have a carer or cleaner who can help with the housework. If others can help, talk with them about who will do each job and write this down on your list.

Step 4 – Decide how long you can do each job for before it makes your pain worse

Think about your jobs from the list and how much time and physical effort each one will take. This will help you to know how to schedule the jobs across your day or week. Write down how long it will take you to do each job – you might need to break them up. Look at the Pacing tool to help.

Step 5 – Put your jobs into a weekly plan

Now plan when you are going to do each job. Think about everything you need to do across your whole week – do you have any appointments or things you cannot move? Put those into the weekly plan first and then put in your household jobs. You can use the example below, or if you already use a plan or timetable, add your jobs in there. Remember to pace yourself and space out your jobs with plenty of rest breaks. Help your memory by setting a reminder on your phone. Check out the Doing more tool in the Fatigue brick for more ideas.

Step 6 – Give it a go

Try out the plan for a week to see how it works for you. What did and did not work? Do you think you can do this every week? If the plan worked well, you can keep going with it and you will slowly build up your confidence and ability to do the jobs. If it did not work well, think about what went wrong and make a new plan for next week. Be patient, it can take time and practise to get back on track.

Now it is your turn to have a try. Read the Doing more around your home guide then put together My plan to do more around my home to help you get more active around your home and learn to Be Pain Smart.

Use the links below to download the files