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Does Arthritis Keep You From Having a Functional Home?




Welcome back to Joy of Nesting! This post is going to be a huge game changer for you! Few people realize that the home has the ability to either revitalize or drain you. What do you “tolerate” in your home?  Is it a master bedroom that was never finished? Is it a sectional sofa that’s too big for your family room? Here’s a hint. Having a fully decorated, million or multi-million dollar home isn’t the answer either. That kind of home can drain you just as easily if not more than a smaller, less expensive home.






As a designer, home retailer and design columnist I’ve had call to ponder this for years and find it so fascinating that we humans overlook one of the most important aspects of adding balance and joy to our lives: a well-planned, attractive, nicely maintained home. With arthritis and other chronic pain, you are especially vulnerable to the “creep of dysfunctional spaces”! It sneaks right up on you, yet it is imperative to have a home that inspires and supports you and your self-care efforts. 

If your home fills you with energy and joy on a daily and weekly basis then read no further. But if you find yourself filled with dread when returning home at the end of the day or if you dread coming home from vacation, there is a problem you really need to address.

The Clean Sweep

I want to share something extremely helpful with you that one of my life coaches taught me. It literally changed my life. It’s called The Clean Sweep and it is a great tool for tackling your greatest challenges, “sky rocketing” your energy and improving any aspect of your life, personally and professionally.

You write down all the things you are tolerating: the things that drain your energy such as a tear in your bathrobe, a ding in your car door, or a dead shrub by the front door and one by one you address them. We each have around 100 items on our list of “tolerations” at any given time. Some of the items that drain your energy can be addressed quickly such as “I want a cleaner kitchen” or “I want to start walking thirty minutes a day”. Write those down. Some items can’t be resolved immediately such as “I need a new car”. But definitely write that down too! So you address each of the items that can be addressed right now, one by one on a daily basis and keep the other long term problems on the list for now. They need to be written down though because just having long term problems on a written list is a small burden lifted from your mind. Having them on a list that you will be looking every day, aids you in mentally prioritizing them later, when such resources are available. This helps you mentally prepare for uncomfortable task, in a way that is less of a drain on your energy. 

So back to my question about your home, what about it drains your energy? Does your master bedroom provide you with a nurturing respite? Do you have an inspiring and supportive self-care space? Is your kitchen a place where you want to spend time, creating the big raw salads and fresh green juices so integral to managing your symptoms? Does your master bathroom work well and look beautiful? How are the paint, wood and fabric colors in your home? Are they soothing to the eye? Arthritis is a painful, heat generating condition and surrounding yourself with cool, soothing colors and soft, comforting textures is a huge relief to your frayed psyche.

The good news is there is usually more than one solution to every challenge and home design is no different. So often times I’m called into a client’s home to help replace a sofa or help her choose paint yet when I get there I know right away a new sofa or paint isn’t what she needs at all. People know when something in their home isn’t right but they don’t always know what it is!

Get out your calendar right now and schedule an hour this week to create your own list of toleration’s and the following day begin addressing them one by one. For me, Monday’s are the perfect day to add new things to my list. It gives me 3-5 days to prepare mentally for the challenges and provides me with a point of action. And please, once you make the agreement with yourself be sure to keep it! Nothing corrodes your self-esteem quicker than breaking agreements with yourself! You are so worth it my friend.

And if you need more design and wellness guidance on space planning, furniture styles, colors, fabrics and all the goodness my twenty years in the design industry has to offer, hop on a ninety minute strategy session with me so we can create a home that inspires and supports you through the many degenerative changes of arthritis. 

Live beautifully. Eat beautifully. Shiree 

Click “Pain Free Design and Wellness” for a free chapter of my powerful new book that helps women with arthritis create beautiful, functional homes and take better care of themselves every day because home is where it all begins.