Fibromyalgia and Cleaning: 10 tips that will reduce flares when cleaning #fibromyalgia #chronicpain #flares #cleaning

Fibromyalgia and Household Chores

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Fibromyalgia and Cleaning: 10 tips that will reduce flares when cleaning #fibromyalgia #chronicpain #flares #cleaning
image from Pixabay by author podlesakpetr, modified by Brandi Clevinger

Housework is a necessity especially when you have little monsters children living with you. After many painful years of doing chores the wrong way, I have found some ways to still get my house clean with less pain. Here are some tips on fibromyalgia and household chores in order to get your housework done without over extending your body and causing a fibro flare.

Disclosure: I get commissions for purchases made through links in this post, but these are products I recommend and have verified and/or used.


10 tips on cleaning to avoid #fibromyalgia #flares. #chronicillness #fibroflare #spooniebloggers Click To Tweet


10 Tips for fibromyalgia and household chores

Do your chores over the course of a week instead of a day.

Doing all your housework during one day will most certainly cause a flare up of your symptoms. Instead, spread the chores over the week. For example, clean the bathrooms on Fridays, vacuum on Mondays, and so on. Get a calendar like these large ones to keep track of which chores are done are what days.


Plan ahead for expecting visitors and special occasions.

When you know you have company visiting or a special occasion taking place in your home, plan ahead for those dates. Tackle the chore list bit by bit, day by day. Do one chore a day until you have completed your list. Use these to-do pads to keep you organized and track everything you accomplish! Seeing your accomplishments each day will encourage you to keep going!


Get the whole family involved. 

If you are not living alone, ask the others living in your home to help out with the housework. In my home, the kids have chore charts and my husband helps with the more painful chores such as vacuuming and mopping.

chores help kids infographic #chorecharts #kids #cleaning
photo credit: created by Being Fibro Mom


Turn up the music!

Put on music with these cool gadgets while you clean to take your mind off your work. Adding music will also uplift your mood and increase your motivation.



Take breaks.

Even though your housework is spread over the course of a week instead of the day, the body still needs breaks throughout the day. Work for fifteen minutes then break for ten minutes. This cycle will prevent burnout and lessen the stress on the body. Be sure to set a timer so you don’t miss those breaks!

Drink plenty of water.

Don’t forget to drink your water while working! Drinking plenty of water will reduce cramps and keep you hydrated while you work. Drink your water in a fancy shmancy water bottles like these. Okay, maybe not fancy, but definitely cool!


Reduce your laundry load.

Instead of doing multiple loads of laundry each day, wash one load per day. This will reduce the strain of standing on your feet hour after hour washing multiple loads of laundry. Washing a little at a time will also reduce the overall amount of chores each day. If you have to do all the loads of laundry in one day, make sure to not have any other chores scheduled for the day and take plenty of breaks off your feet. Read my tips on frugal laundry.


Frugal Living with Fibro: 11 Laundry tips to save money #FibroLiving
stock image from Adobe Stock by © Milos Tasic and modified by Brandi, Being Fibro Mom


Do your work earlier in the day.

As the day goes on and more demands are placed on your body, the less likely you have the energy, motivation, or ability to complete any cleaning. Tackle your housework earlier in the day when you have less pain.


Set a timer.

Decide on a reasonable time to complete a certain task, such as thirty minutes, and set a timer. Once the timer signaling the end of the allotted time, stop your work. This is similar to taking breaks, but use this method for the shorter tasks.


Take days off for fun!

Even though we want to have a clean and organized house doesn’t mean we want to spend everyday cleaning or organizing. Leave some days dedicated to no housework. Have fun instead! Relax and give your body a chance to recover.


Check out some helpful cleaning tools to reduce stretching and aching!

Set a timer and turn on the music! More #tips for #cleaning to avoid a #fibromyalgia #flare Click To Tweet


It was hard for me, too

I’m a type A personality, so it was hard to learn how to tackle the housework over the course of a week instead of a day and taking breaks instead of getting it down in one swoop; however, changing my approach to housework has reduced my overall body pains and stress. It was well worth the effort and finding what works.

I still tackle home organization projects, so I recommend these two bloggers’ articles:

  1. Victoria from Snail Pace Transformations has a great ongoing series called 52 Weeks to a Simplified Home. She’s all about organizing, but in small more manageable chunks. This is great for people with chronic pain!
  2. Andrea is the reason I started keeping a more simplified and manageable home when I was first diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Her simple yet classy styles are kid (and mommy) friendly! Her most recent post 6 Things I do EVERY Day to Simplify My Home is a great example of how simple she keeps it, and how perfect her methods are for people with chronic pain.


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Fibromyalgia and Cleaning: 10 tips that will reduce flares when cleaning #fibromyalgia #chronicpain #flares #cleaning
image from Pixabay by author podlesakpetr, modified by Brandi Clevinger


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23 thoughts on “Fibromyalgia and Household Chores”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. I don’t have Fibro, technically, I have inflammation (somewhere – no one can seem to determine the location exactly) and high cortisol. I have the same reaction to overdoing it that people with Fibro have, though, and it is the pits.

    My kids are older so they each have two or three daily chores that help keep the house clean and orderly, I am the big guns who comes in and cleans the kitchen at night, who does laundry (I do clothes twice a week and towels every other day), and who cleans the bathrooms…that sort of thing (the stuff my Type A can’t let go of….it must be done to a certain standard – mine LOL)

    It does help in the long run, though, and days where I let it sneak up on me that we had company coming or I’ve let things get behind – I pay for it if I play catch up!

    1. Haha We have much in common with the housework. I’ve let a lot go, too, but some things I cannot. Like the kitchen and laundry. Those are definitely my areas.

      Thanks for reading!

      1. I am a crafter living in a small space. Ugh! And I’ll be 64 in a few weeks. I was diagnosed with FM about 4 years ago. My small space has gone downhill badly…I am in chronic pain. I take Cymbalta, 60mg daily and that helps with anxiety and depression and it used to work better for the pain, but it doesn’t work so well now, 4 years later. I’m afraid there won’t be another medication that works like Cymbalta though. I tried a few other meds before I found the right one.

  2. I enjoyed your list! For me, I have found I have to start later in the day. Mornings can be tough on me. Like you, I also like to spread the work out over the week, and on my bad days I lower my standards quite a bit. A swipe at it is better than nothing. 🙂 Looking forward to reading more of your posts!

      1. I too do no housework during flares. I am soon to be 76yrs, had fibro for 30 yrs. Flares get worse every yr. My house is always messy. I love to do crafts and do several well enough to sell, but it’s hard..I also spread out my work and crafts over many days, or just ignore it. My depression is so bad now that I ask for death every day. Life isn’t worth the pain anymore.Diana

        1. I know exactly how you’re feeling Diana.but wanting to die is giving power to the pain.Instead we do walking slowly outside and find a quiet spot for 15 minutes of just hearing the birds and meditation on what you have accomplished day by day.GOD gives us power and drinking turmeric and ginger and garlic in a tea form does help somewhat with fibromyalgia.I also take the Tylenol for arthritis that lasts 8 hour.My pain is 24 hours but doing these simple things and meditating on Jehovah God has helped me keep a positive outlook on life. The fact that we’re all alive day by day lets me know that we have fibromyalgia but it doesn’t have us. Hope you feel strengthened by this.

  3. Great post! I too have made changes in the way that I clean. I have one clothes basket sitting on another with wheels so I can just push it around the house (helps with my unsteadiness too). I use our rolling desk chair to help me vacuum. I just have to be careful not to tip it forward lol. I do not use fitted sheets on my bed anymore. Flat sheets for us. It is just not worth the wasted energy I have so little of. I rely heavily on my teenagers to help me. I have to let go of the fact (though hard to do) that they don’t “clean” the way I would. I just thought I would share somethings that I do. Hugs!!

  4. One of the first things I did when I was first diagnosed was to buy an Oreck. I have been a loyal customer for almost 20 years. Also, my 16 year old does all of my heavy lifting. And by heavy, I mean anything heavier than a gallon of milk.

    Great tips here.

  5. What a great post and wonderful comments i agree with all and do a lot of things this way. I use an office chair on wheels for most things in the kitchen eg washing dishes, peeling veg etc. Now if only we can train family members to do it our way lol

      1. I got a Shark vacuum, and I love that thing so much I named it Bruce. I expect it is heavier than the others mentioned, but it has so much power it only takes a tiny push and it propels itself forward. Back does require more effort and we shed so much that I have to cut hair from the brushes almost every time (granted I don’t vacuum often, I hate doing it and my kid won’t; frankly I don’t even like to be present when a vacuum is running, but this one is far quieter and that helps). I have a Royal canister stored in the closet I only use when I’m between vacuums (because cat hair kills them fast even when used often). Orecks and Dysons are far beyond my price range, so for those like me on the lower end of affordability, try a Shark.

        I’ve been trying to the longer shower cleaning things, but have only found the shorter ones in the stores around here. I’m also trying to figure out how to clean up fast when I spent so much time exhausted and unmotivated. Fibro or not, I have to work to keep a roof over our heads, and that means being on my feet a good portion of the day, so I pretty much collapse upon getting home. My daughter is bi-polar autistic, so getting help from her is chancy at best, and limited to certain things when I can get her help. She’ll help put laundry away, but not carry it up the stairs for me. She’ll clean a toilet but not a litter box (I don’t get that either, but it’s better than nothing).

        Speaking of, for those with cats, I have a Breez (sp) litter system and love that, too. If your cat is older they may not like the change and might not be willing, but mine was younger when I switched him to it. A pad in a tray underneath catches the liquids, change or turn it weekly, and it has big pieces up top that dry out the solids so within 20-30 minutes after he’s used it the smell is gone, too. No litter dust because it’s big pieces that you sift back to the box when you scoop and change monthly, and much lighter than regular litter (no heavy lifting!).

        Any advice for people like me who are too tired for much when they get home, have chronic pain (especially lower back pain), and no friends or family nearby to help? I have to de-clutter and clean for our annual inspection. I tried to get some of it done months ago and lost my momentum, so it’s piled up again. I’ve put a good dent in it by sorting on the couch in the evenings, but not fast enough. I’m easily distracted and hate cleaning, that doesn’t help, either.

        1. Thank you for your response! I love my Dyson vacuum, too. It’s so easy to use, and easy on my shoulder/back areas when I do have to use it. To clean up fast, keep a basket or tupperware handy, and use it to put quickly put away misplaced items. Then put the basket away until you have a chance to sort through it later. In order to daily clean, try cleaning an eye sore area before breakfast or right after breakfast. You may have more energy after waking up to clean rather than waiting until the end of the day. I’ve been tackling my kitchen each morning before breakfast because I’m too exhausted after dinner in the evenings. It’s a huge improvement.

          If you do have to tackle a major cleaning project, do it in cycles (with a timer) and clean to music. The music will distract you, and setting a timer will limit you. Clean for twenty minutes, then break for ten minutes. Then start again. Try tackling the house in segments through the week rather than all at once in one day.

          Please let me know if these steps help you, or email me if you need – beingfibromom{at} Thank you!

  6. Pingback: Does fibromyalgia make the household chores difficult? Implement the doctor’s advice to deal with the household chores easily | Welcome to Fight Fibromyalgia

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