Monday, July 27, 2009

My Routine: Working Out In the Shower

ShowerheadImage via Wikipedia
I remember a time, five years ago, when I used to roll out of bed in the morning and right into the shower without giving it a second thought. Then again, I used to do a lot of things five years ago without giving them a second thought. The point is that today, chronic illness makes me stop and reevaluate everything I do or want to do in terms of how much energy the activity requires and how much energy I have to expend.
I've discovered that one of the places that takes a lot of my energy is the bathroom.
One of the great things I learned through my participation in the Cedars Sinai Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia Program was the art of making activities "fibro-friendly." I can tell you with certainty that the bathroom is not a fibro-friendly place. The culprit is the standing involved in most bathroom activities.
So one of the first things I changed was how I take a shower, or rather, the position in which I shower: sitting. For years now I have been taking my showers seated on a shower bench. When I get out of the shower, I sit down to dry off. Drying my hair with a blow dryer is a thing of the past too; by necessity my hairstyle has been wash and air dry for years now. Time in front of the sink brushing my teeth or washing my face has been modified by resting one foot on a stool while standing. Putting on makeup, the standing in front of the mirror and the use of my hands in holding the various tools of the task, is now limited to special occassions only; it is too painful a task to do on a daily basis.
Wow! Did I just call putting on makeup a task? How things have changed for me in 5 years...
The bottom line is taking a shower is a real workout now. In addition to modifying how I take a shower, I also follow these 3 rules: I only take a shower at night, I only take warm water showers and I only take a shower every other day. For
Batiste Dry ShampooImage by BitchBuzz via Flickr
reasons I don't fully understand, if I take a shower in the morning I am left with no energy for the rest of the day. If I take my shower at night, I have just enough energy afterwards to get myself to bed, which works out much better. Hot showers leave me too exhausted and almost unable to move, so I take showers with only warm or tepid water. While I would prefer to shower every day, much like working out at the gym for healthy people, showering is best done every other day for me to avoid flare-ups of pain, fatigue and soreness. Thankfully I have discovered Batiste Dry Shampoo which helps my hair look fresh between showers.
Life with chronic illness is complicated, but at least I manage to stay clean while living it!
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