University of Michigan Health System Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Occupational Therapy Department & Social Work
- Simplify your tasks and set realistic goals. Don’t think you have to do things the same way you have always done
- When you have several things to accomplish, make a list and decide what is most important and what can be postponed. Use your energy to perform the most important task first. Then perform the rest of your list as your energy allows. This will allow you to lower your stress level, because you will not waste energy worrying about the things that have not been accomplished.
- Plan your activities ahead of time, and do not schedule too many in one day. There should not be activities planned after a meal. Do the activities that take more energy when you are feeling your best. If needed, rest before and after activities. If you become tired during activity, stop and rest. You may need to finish it another day or when you don’t feel as
- Keep all commonly used items (phone, remote control, pens/paper, ) in a basket close to your body to avoid reaching.
- Organize your items: try to return items to the same place in order to conserve energy and time instead of needing to search for
- Develop a system to organize items in cupboard shelves or cabinets so that every commonly used item has its designated place, easily within reach.
- You can save energy during activities by sitting on a chair. You may even try propping your elbows on the table/counter surface in front of Whenever possible, use electric appliances and other energy-saving devices.
- Push or slide items rather than carrying or lifting. Organize your work area, placing supplies near where they will be used. This includes storing objects at shoulder or waist level to avoid bending or
- When moving anything heavy or awkward in the garage or kitchen, use a utility cart or wagon to avoid making numerous
- Use long handled items such as a dustpan, broom, mop, reacher or a sponge to prevent
- Ask for help – divide the tasks among family and
- Anytime you change your body’s position, it’s a good idea to rest after each movement. This includes even simple chores like standing up and lying down. Be sure to pause at least a second or two in between movements.
- Anything that takes longer than an average of 10 minutes, sit down to perform.
- For every hour of activity, rest for 15
- Be sure to get a good night’s rest. Be careful not to nap too much during the day, as you may not be able to sleep at
- Allow yourself space to feel your emotions, and find a positive outlet to express what you’re feeling, whether that be a trusted partner, friend, artistic outlet or support group.
- Practice self-care – reserve space to worry and grieve, but conserve your emotional energy by taking deep breaths, using distraction, spending time with loved ones, practicing mindfulness, and other self-care strategies that work best for you.
“Make plans and modifications early so things are in place when problems arise.”
– ALS Patient