Life Hacks for Chronic Fatigue: Grocery Shopping

Green Bean Delivery copyWhen hypothyroidism hit me hard over five years ago, grocery shopping was a chore. The day I just wanted to sit on the floor where I was in the store and call Chaz to come get me was the day I knew he would need to take over this task. I didn’t ask him to take over the grocery shopping. I told him, “You need to do the grocery shopping. I can’t do it anymore.”

I was eventually able to recover enough to do the grocery shopping again. Then, I got into a local CSA (community supported agriculture) in Louisville and discovered the joy of picking up local produce, eggs, and meat without navigating a large store. Sometimes the line was long by the time I got to the pickup, but it was nice not dragging a cart through a crowd.

When Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome started messing with me, I had to change things again. I discovered Green Bean Delivery in Edible Ohio magazine a while back and finally took the plunge last year when everything was going crazy in my body and trips to the grocery store were wearing me down more than they should.

From my various experiences, the following will make grocery shopping easier depending on your level of fatigue.

  1. Organize your list if you can still manage going to the store yourself. What does this mean? If you use the principle of economy of motion I mentioned in my last post on laundry, your list will be divided into sections and you’ll be able to create a list of items in the order that you pass them in the store. I always start with produce and I visualize the layout so I am not doubling back on myself. Then I do proteins, which is a relatively small part of my list. Then the pre-packaged items. This is also a small part and some of the items are on my way to proteins, so I go through the aisles for those on my way to the back. I avoid going in the aisles as much as possible but sometimes I eat all the pickles and need more.
  2. Have your spouse/significant other do the grocery shopping (if possible). Make sure you give them a legible list that includes sizes and quantities otherwise you will be fielding calls and/or texts while they are at that store.
  3. Join a CSA. Payment for the season is generally made up front so you are spending a large chunk of money on groceries at one time. Many CSAs will also include the opportunity to buy things like free-range local eggs, local dairy, local honey, local meat, etc. either when you do your upfront order for the season or on a week by week basis. Some places will have everything ready for you and you just pick it up. Other places will have everything laid out and you go through and pick out what you’re supposed to have for the week.
  4. Get a delivery service. Green Bean Delivery has been a life saver for me. I can change out what produce I get every week from the list available (usually 95% of it is organic) which is great for the produce I am reacting to. I can add eggs, milk, cheese, meat, seafood, local gf baked goods, and other pre-packed items each week as I need them. This saves me from being in the grocery store for long periods of time. If I need to go, I’m normally in there fifteen minutes at most. I know there are some stores that will do delivery or you can place an order and it will be ready for you to pick up.

Green Bean Delivery

Life Hacks for Chronic Fatigue: Laundry

rolling cartFatigue is a bitch. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. When you deal with chronic fatigue, it’s the bitch’s bastard  on crack. I hate it and I don’t know anyone who actually likes it. My entire body feels like adamantium was injected into me in my sleep, only I don’t get the benefits that Wolverine does. Everything is heavy and the ability to lift my arms without the accompanying muscle fatigue is an astonishing circus feat. It doesn’t matter whether fatigue is caused by a chronic illness, autoimmune disorder, weak adrenals, or a vitamin deficiency, it all feels the same in the end and even I can’t tell what is causing it.

When this all started over five years ago and I was stuck in bed when not at work the only things I could force myself to do was fix dinner and do the laundry, with some help and shortcuts.

We have rolling hampers which I bought at a big store that is now out-of-business. I used one of the hampers as my laundry basket so I could push it instead of having to lift it. Even with that “hack”, Chaz had to start switching the laundry out for me and bring me the laundry himself.

When the fatigue creeped back in full-force after my car accident in December, I knew I needed to make alterations again because needing a nap in the middle of folding laundry is not normal. Not normal for healthy people that is.

I considered using one of the hampers again but the act of stooping over to push the hamper would wear me out. So, I went searching stores for something I could use. One of those rolling baskets at the laundromat would have been great.  I found one like it at The Container Store, but it was too small. One of the sales people stopped to help me because I was obviously looking for something I couldn’t find.

I explained to her what I wanted, but never explained why. I don’t need to tell everyone I meet the multiple reasons why I get fatigued. I didn’t need to justify why I need a cart to push my laundry around. I refuse to explain myself to complete strangers. I don’t care if I left that store and she thought I was lazy because she doesn’t matter. My health and how I take care of myself does.

I left the store with the above rolling bar cart that she showed me last because all the other options would be too taxing on me. The bonus of the cart is that it folds up when I’m done and while doing laundry, I can use the bottom and the basket to store folded items.

Economy of motion is something I learned in Aikido. Use the least amount of movement/energy in a fight because you don’t know how long the fight will last. I use this principle a lot in my daily life, even when fatigue is not an issue. When it is an issue, I will sit at the dryer and fold the clothes as they come out then add them to the cart. Why pull everything out, wheel it somewhere to fold, and fold it all when you can save some energy when you need it? I’d like to say I do this all the time, but I don’t. It’s just helpful when I’m too exhausted to do much.

Sometimes you just need to think outside the laundry basket to find ways to help you deal with the constant fatigue.