Minimalizing Has Given Me Energy to Do More
Last updated: June 2023
I have lived in a converted van for 4 months, traveling full time with my boyfriend and 2 cats! We are in the process of working towards a converted school bus. Living in a van is too small a space for my liking. I can't stand up!
You may be thinking, why am I reading about life as a hippie on a myasthenia gravis (MG) website? I didn't write this to encourage you to ditch living in a home with a foundation, and maybe more of a priority for others, a bathroom. But there are bonuses to minimalizing and simplifying parts of life that could make things easier for everyone who struggles with energy and physical weakness.
Stop comparing yourself to others
A lot of people associate money with success. More, the merrier, and bigger the better. But I feel that when people get so fixated on constantly working towards this goal, they forget what equates to happiness. A life full of a lot of stuff and huge spaces is not the recipe for achievement and comfort for everyone.
With MG, it has been rare to feel that I got all the tasks I wished to do finished in a day. There are always more things I have to get done, including essential parts of being a human such as making a meal or driving to get takeout food. Frustratingly, the energy is never there. I get too tired way too fast to get everything on my checklist done in the limited hours a day brings.
However, there are things we are capable of doing to help ease the load! The first and most important step? Stop comparing yourself to others. Let go of the expectation that we must be like everyone around us. Why are expensive things called luxuries when they may create more discomfort to keep up with?
The benefits of less
Fewer dishes mean less cleaning and, therefore, I experience less muscle weakness. Constantly needing to do the dishes can be a grueling full-body workout. Do we need more than one dish for every individual in the home? Maybe a backup if something breaks, but more than that makes it possible for dishes to spread throughout the house and cleaning pushed off our body isn't feeling it. And let me tell you, I feel more accomplished not having that pile in the sink grow larger and larger, staring me down as you try I ignore it.
I'm not too fond of laundry. I know I'm not alone in this battle. I have to gather dirty clothes. Move them into the laundry room or drive them to a laundromat. I need a rest after. And then they have to be moved into the dryer. This is challenging alone, but even more so with a top-load washer and dryer because I have to stand. Draining me more, I must move them from the dryer to wherever they get put away.
My body is typically so over it that I need another rest before revisiting the clothes to fold and hang. Fewer clothes mean less of all of that! Reducing the chores that require physical strength and repeated movements can be transformative in easing all other tasks because of the energy made available.
Ready for a significant leap towards a more leisurely life with MG? Consider smaller spaces! For me, less space equals a more realistic amount of cleaning and less physical exertion used going room to room.
Closer distances between different areas of my home is a game changer when it comes to brain fog! I bet you are familiar with forgetting to grab something you need and then needing to go back to a room you were just in to get it. If you have a multiple-story home, this may be impractical with limited mobility. Especially with putting things away. Why not make it easier on ourselves?
Smaller spaces make it easier to do things that may have become difficult with MG. Such as the litter box. Living in a smaller area puts me closer to my cats' litter box, so it gets cleaned more often than if out of sight and smell!
A smaller refrigerator only allows for a limited amount of food. If you plan out your meals, not having so many random items distracting you in the fridge will encourage you to make them and not let food go to waste.
I challenge you, right now to grab one dish or piece of clothing that gets used the least and sit it in a box to take to a donation dropbox! I doubt you will ever think about this item much. It will be a minimal but crucial step towards living a more comfortable, minimalized life with MG!
Increase to donating one or a few things each week. Start noticing how less stuff can boost your confidence and sensation of success. In my experience, you'll be thrilled with the additional energy you see freed up in your life and the more you can enjoy the day!
How often do you experience MG exacerbations/flares?