One of the hardest parts about pain and depression is that they both sap your energy and motivation. They do it individually and then they gang up and do it together. It is a wicked combination.

And then, when you aren’t able to get much done day after day the undone builds and builds. You become even more depressed. Another wicked cycle is bearing down on you.

The other day a simple idea came to me (via email) that I thought might help a little. This idea was posted on The Mighty an awesome website chock full of useful health information and advocacy. (I also love the name of this site – inspiring and a little cheeky.)

Here is an excerpt from a recent post on The Mighty by Heidi Fischer:

Keeping things orderly is not my strong suit, especially when I’m dealing with depression. While all areas of my home suffer, no area suffers more than my kitchen. Dishes pile up, clutter is not organized and surfaces are not wiped down. Of course, over time it only becomes worse, making it all the harder to find the motivation to get into cleaning it. I recently discovered a method that helps me to slowly get things into shape.

One day while staring at the microwave, counting down the seconds, I looked around and thought about how messy things were. Instead of continuing to stare at the numbers, I wondered how much I could get clean in the time I had left on the clock.  I quickly filled up the dishwasher in those remaining seconds, and was amazed by how much I got done in the short window of time.

It was in this moment that my two-minute rule in the kitchen was born. 

I decided any time I was in the kitchen waiting for something to be finished, I would use that time to speed clean. So whether I was waiting for the microwave, or my coffee to brew, I could slowly get things done, two minutes at a time. Two minutes sounds manageable when I am dealing with depression, and since I’m already in the kitchen, I don’t have to find the motivation to get up and get going.

If I spend 10 minutes in the kitchen over the day, that’s 10 minutes I can also clean. More often than not, I will go over my time limit, as once something is started it makes sense to complete it. This system isn’t perfect, and I never quite get to the very clean state I would like, but I am able to keep things at a somewhat manageable level.

If you would like to give this rule a try, here are some two minute kitchen cleaning ideas. These cleaning tasks can be done while waiting for the microwave, toaster, coffee machine, water to boil, the last few minutes on the oven, etc.

  1. Load or unload the dishwasher.
  2. Sweep the floor.
  3. Wash counters, tables, etc.
  4. Put bills and other papers in their proper place.
  5. Place any trash in the garbage/recycling.
  6. Start soaking dishes or wash as many as possible.
  7. Put dirty dishcloths and towels in the washer, replace with clean ones.
  8. Organize your junk drawer.
  9. Make a list of kitchen items that are nearly out for your next shopping trip. (Dish soap, paper towels, plastic wrap, etc.)
  10. Arrange your pantry, check for expired items and take note of any food you either need or have too much of.

As you can see from Heidi’s descriptions (and also her positive tone), a few things accomplished every day can help – even in the throws of depression.

I like the positive tone of the articles on The Mighty and the simple practical ideas designed to help even the worse health care problems.

There are many articles to help people with different types of painful injuries and illnesses. Check it out. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

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Thank you for reading. Thank you to Jonathan Francisco (image above) and Rachel Walker (image below, both from Unsplash) for your creative work. And, please feel free to steal, share and join our growing list of subscribers.

AND, please spread the word using the hashtag #RealPhysicalPain with all your social media.