Sunday, February 28, 2010

Homesteading with Chronic Pain

Sometimes, homesteading can be a challenge. As many who have read my
blogs already know, I have issues with chronic pain. Some dear friends
have wondered why I would choose to live this lifestyle when I have such
physical limits. I hope to explain it here.

Three years ago, I was at a point where I could barely walk most days.
I used a cane or walker to get around. My pain levels were bad enough
that we were looking into getting one of those scooters to make it
easier on me. Then, I suddenly had a major improvement in my health. I
had changed my diet, removing meat and all processed/refined foods. For
some reason, this alone helped tremendously in relieving my pain. It
hasn't completely eliminated my pain, but I am able to manage without
taking prescription medications.

There was concern that the increase in physical work would bring back
the severe pain I had previously. Through gradually building up the
amount of work that I do, I have found that the work is a blessing. I
still have days when I may over work myself. At those times, I end up
having mobility issues again and it takes a couple of days for my body
to get back to normal.

A blessing for me is our lifestyle's simplicity. We purged our home of
as much excess as possible. The rule for the purge was that items that
were not used/needed in a 6 month time were to be removed from the
home. There were a few exceptions of course: tools, seasonal items such
as winter gear or extra bedding, books, and personal items such as
photos. By doing this, we cleaned out much of the excess belongings
that we had held onto but had no true need for. Eventually, we have
begun to take the purge down to only the items needed in a 30 day time
period. By having far less "stuff" to clean and maintain, my days were
less filled.

I keep to a routine as much as possible. Having young children and
living on a homestead, there are times when strict routines don't work.
Most weeks, however, I am able to stick with the routine. This allows
me to balance my workload throughout a week's time. I try to do my
heaviest cleaning, such as laundry, in the morning when I have the most
energy. This works out very well. My washtub is set up in the
kitchen. I am able to work on the laundry while overseeing my
daughter's homeschooling. She has been eager to homeschool, so we are
allowing her to start with the Pre-K level. Other household tasks such
as sweeping floors, washing dishes, etc., can be done later in the
afternoon while the children are napping. I usually have my work done
by mid-afternoon. This gives me the chance to rest or do a quiet
activity. Many days, I will spend that time reading.

I do have my busy seasons. Summer is probably the hardest on me. The
hot temperatures have a negative affect on my pain levels. It is also
the time when the garden in in production and needs the most tending.
We try to be smart in how we garden. Using lots of mulch around the
plants can greatly reduce the amount of weeding that needs to be done.
It also helps to prevent too much water evaporation. Instead of home
canning large batches, I can up 2-3 canner loads a day. This is a great
help. I spend far less time preparing and processing the harvest. It
may not always work out that I can do this, but I try as often as
possible to not be over loaded with canning very often.

Just as people with chronic pain adjust their task loads in a more
modern setting, I adjust mine here. There is no perfect solution, but
you find methods that make each task easier. It requires a lot of trial
and err to find those methods sometimes. Be patient with yourself. You
will find the answers that you need.

The greatest resource that I have for my being able to work as I do, I
have saved for last. Not because it falls last in my thoughts, but
because I want it to be the last thing you read. My greatest source of
strength is my faith. I trust in the Lord to help me to have the energy
and endurance needed for that day's tasks. He has never failed me in
this. The Lord gives me strength sufficient for the day - every day! I
start each day with prayer. I make time each day to read from His
Word. I end each day with a prayer of gratitude for the blessings my
family and I have received. In doing this, I have found that my days go
easier and are far more productive than days when I don't start with

May the Lord's blessings be with thee,


Linda said...

Paula, I am so glad to hear from you again! You make me want to work harder at the things I try to achieve. You are a great inspiration! I could wish your pain away but we all know that would do no good. You are a strong women Paula... You make me feel very privileged to call you friend.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing that. I too live with chronic pain and we want to Homestead. I've wondered just how I can do it when my pain levels can be so high. My husband tells me not to worry that we will be able to do it just the same as we can in the city. But still it is in my mind, not wanting to put more on him than he already has.

Thanks again for sharing!