Long COVID Self-Management - Energy Conservation: Tips for Home Management Tasks
- Sit on a chair, stool or walker when preparing your meal.
- Avoid lifting heavy pots/pans/objects; push, pull or slide whenever possible.
- Spread out the preparation throughout the day (e.g., chop vegetables ahead of time, assemble, cook).
- Take breaks before, during and after cooking.
- Organize your cupboards at home to avoid reaching and bending. Consider placing frequently used items between your shoulder and knee height.
- Consider using electric appliances (e.g., dishwasher, electric can opener, crockpot, stand mixer, etc.).
- Cook large portions and freeze extra portions.
- Get everything ready prior to starting. As for help if needed (e.g., lifting heavy appliances/pots/pans onto the counter).
- Find simple recipes or ones that have a short preparation time.
- Explore options for frozen or fresh meals or meals boxes that can be delivered to your home.
- Consider using online ordering or delivery services.
- Can you use prechopped items instead of peeling and chopping vegetables?
- Consider frozen vs. fresh vegetables/foods.
- Can someone help you with cooking or can you share the responsibility with someone?
- Be mindful of your work heights and posture while working in the kitchen.
- Elevate one foot on a stool or on the bottom of an opened cupboard to help relieve some pressure from your low spine.
- Break up your tasks in smaller chunks (e.g., vacuum a room a day, clean the toilet and sink in the morning and bathtub in the afternoon).
- Spread the tasks throughout the week, doing a little bit each day.
- Mix heavy and light activities throughout the day.
- Sit down whenever possible.
- Take frequent breaks.
- Gather all items prior to starting.
- Consider having a set of cleaning products on each level of the home.
- Consider the products you are using and its effects (e.g., products with scents, bleach).
- Consider using long handled equipment whenever possible to reduce reaching and bending.
- Can someone help you or can you share the responsibility?
- Can you delegate, defer or delete any items?
Washing, Dressing and Grooming
- Plan ahead: arrange items before you begin.
- Consider wearing clothes that are comfortable and easier to put on. For example, wear more loose-fitting clothes or pants with elastic waistbands that don’t wrinkle.
- If bending at the waist increases your shortness of breath, consider using long-handled devices (e.g., reacher, long-handled shoehorn, long-handled bath sponge, sock-aid, elastic shoelaces).
- When washing and dressing, consider managing your lower body first. We typically have more energy at the beginning of the task, and it takes more energy to wash/dress your lower body.
- Consider the water temperature and its effects on your breathing when showering. Leave the window or door open slightly to decrease the humidity in the bathroom.
- When you come out of the shower/bath, put on a lightweight terry-cloth bathrobe to help dry yourself. You may want to sit down and take a break before getting dressed.
- Slow down when completing your personal care.
- Sit down whenever possible.
- Take breaks.
- Speak to your occupational therapist regarding equipment to increase your safety in the bathroom.
In the Kitchen
- Sit on a chair, walker, or stool when preparing your meals.
- Avoid lifting heavy pots/pans/objects; push, pull or slide when possible.
- Organize your cupboards at home to avoid reaching and bending. Consider placing most used items between your shoulder and knee height.
- Consider using electric appliances (e.g., dishwasher, electric chopper, electric can opener, crockpot, stand mixer, etc.)
- Be mindful of your work heights and body posture when preparing your meals.
- Be mindful of the cleaning products you use in the home and its effects on your breathing.
- There are many options for grocery shopping (e.g., online/telephone ordering, delivery).
- There are many options for prepared, frozen or fresh meals, and food boxes that can be delivered to your home.
Use equipment with long handles so you don’t need to bend at the waist.
Kneel or sit on a stool and use a long-handled sponge to reach.
Avoid twisting and reaching. Hold the vacuum with the arm held at the side, and move back and forth.
Put yourself as close as possible to the work surface.
- Position laundry basket at a height to decrease the need for bending and reaching (e.g., when using a top-loading machine).
- Bend down or sit on a stool when taking things out of the laundry machine.
- Consider using a reacher when removing items out of the laundry machine.