Sunday, February 2, 2014

Energy Economy - 12 Ways To Simplify Your Grooming And Dressing Routines While Chronically Ill

Have you ever felt like the woman in this picture?  By the time you are ready to leave the house you have already used up all your energy?  I have.  So, I'm trying new and different methods to more successfully deal with these things.

These suggestions may be controversial and I am by no means to be taken as law on these points.  Your appearance can be a very personal matter fraught with deep emotions.  Take my words with a grain of salt.
With that proviso in mind, here are the suggestions I am working on for saving energy while still putting your best foot forward.

If you must blow dry your hair, sit or lay down.  Or, purchase a stand for your blow dryer and sit under it.  Check out some of these ideas.

Start getting dressed early so you do not have to rush.  Allow plenty of time to rest between steps.  Even if you feel stronger and don’t think you need this it can help you get through more of your day before you crater.

Simplify your beauty routine.   We all have special events when we spend more time with our makeup.  But, for everyday (or the days you get out of bed) can you put on a five or 10 minute face?  Or less?  If you were stranded on a desert island which two products would be most important to you?  (For me it is mascara and blush.  Although, on a desert island I would not bother.  Priorities people!)  Experiment with your routine and see if you can simplify it.  Check out some of these ideas.  Bear in mind, we are less concerned with time and more concerned with energy output.  If we can save both that is ideal.

    Sit down to put on your makeup.  Even if your makeup routine is quick and to the point, sitting will save energy for other tasks.

    Sit down to put on your clothes.  See above.

 Follow the guidelines in Energy Economy –Wardrobe Parts 1 and 2.  Then you will have energy efficient clothing to wear and will not have to spend too much energy getting dressed.

To the extent possible, make peace with your real hair.  Perming, dying, blow drying, getting a good haircut – all worthwhile up to a point.  But spending 30 minutes every day wrangling your hair into a position it doesn’t like is too much energy expenditure in my book. It seems to be a universal problem that every woman wants another woman's hair.  So much energy wasted on pining for something we will never have.  Learning how to get along with your own hair and be happy with it saves energy on so many levels.

Buy hair accessories.  Like hair clips or hair sticks.  One chronically ill woman I know bought a little hair piece on a comb.  She can pull her hair back, slip on the comb, and her hair looks great in no time flat. Also check out these ideas. 

    Putting some energy into appearance is good – just not most of your energy.  If you have to go out it is worthwhile to put some effort into how you look, if you are able. This simply means wearing clothes you feel good in, putting on a few dabs of makeup, etc...  It does not mean hating your body or spending hours getting ready.  Putting just a little bit of energy-efficient effort into this can help relieve anxiety when going into a social situation.  It can improve feelings of low self-esteem and put you in a better mood.  See Wardrobe Considerations for the Chronically Ill - Parts 1 and 2 for more help with this.

Invest in some hats or scarves for days when you need to go out but do not have energy to wash your hair.  Or for days when you just can't face the hassle.   

        Find your happy spot.  We all have that one thing that makes us feel better about ourselves and ready to face the day.  For some it is putting on makeup.  For others it is styling their hair.  For me it is putting on earrings.  If I have earrings on, I don’t care if I’m wearing makeup.  It may be silly, but I feel ready to face the world.  What is your happy spot?  Can you share it with us? 

    Cut your hair short!  I just did this.  Words cannot express how happy I am with it.  It’s super cute too, which is a perk.  But honestly, I didn’t care how cute it was.  I just wanted it out of my way!  My hair was starting to control my life.  It took so much energy to wash it, dry it, put it up in my clip, take it back down (20 times a day).  I am so much happier with my short hair.  It’s easier to wash and dry.  And I don’t have to do ANYTHING else to it.  Note:  I was very careful about which cut I got.  I studied the thing.  I wanted something I could feel good in without styling because I simply don’t have the energy.  This required being honest about my hair – understanding that it is fine and thin and straight as a board and will not have the body that certain cuts show.  I looked for women with hair like mine.  I also wanted something that would allow my neck to stay cool.  In other words,  I kept my needs and realities in mind. 

Ok, that's all from me right now.  What would you add to the list?  Won’t you share it with us?
Friendship is a basic human need - Part 4 - How to be a good friend to a friend who is chronically ill

photo credit: <a href="">kirikiri</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">cc</a>


  1. Even though some are obsessed with makeup and hair I've decided that beauty is not what you see or put on but what's on the inside. People spent way to much time trying to look beautiful that the inner beauty is sometimes covered up. Short hair for me is a must. I would love to do diiferent things with my hair but I settle for not having the Alfalfa look. This is not to say I don't care how I look but I try to look my best in other and less time consuming ways. After all, time and energy are more important.

    1. Nice comment Martha, thanks for sharing! It is certainly a good thing to spend the bulk of our energy thinking about and doing more important things.

  2. This is something that I need to work on because I tend to be a perfectionist, even with my hair and make-up. My hair is naturally thick with wavy curls and seems to have a life of it’s own. Trying to make it look nice and presentable can be exhausting. But I do my best to pace myself when I do my hair. What’s funny is that for me personally, making my hair straight with a flat iron is actually less time consuming and less stressful. (If I wear it natural I have to put loads of product in it and then I stress if it frizzes.) I’m not sure if I would be able to cut my hair short, but I’m so happy that you love your new haircut! Oh, and like you, I feel better if I’m wearing some pretty earrings.

    1. Hi Katherine! Thanks so much for commenting! I really appreciate your slant with this. It gave me something to think about. I think there is a balance between accepting what you have and doing what you reasonably can to feel better about what you have. Something I've noticed is that almost every woman has issues with her own hair. Sounds like the flat iron works for you. :)
      And I'm glad someone else feels the same about earrings!