When thinking about how we can save energy during the day, we might think of how far we walk, or how many times we go up and down the stairs.
The bathroom may not be the first place that comes to mind; however, the average person spends 416 days of their life in the bathroom. If we spend that much time in the bathroom during our life, let’s save some energy and make it easier by implementing some adaptations and energy conservation strategies. Energy conservation strategies are ways to complete any activity in a way that minimises fatigue, pain, joint stress, and muscle fatigue. Through various adaptations and the ‘4 Ps of energy conservation’ (planning, positioning, pacing, and prioritizing), we can begin to complete our bathroom activities more efficiently.
Planning will ensure that you do not waste time or energy once you start engaging in the activity. This would include collecting all the items you need before you start, for example, ensuring you have your clothes to change into after showering, or your toothbrush, toothpaste, and other grooming products. When planning, also consider how to eliminate unnecessary activity, such as storing commonly used items like towels in the bathroom.
Poor positioning of items can result in the need to be constantly bending or reaching, and this results in an increase of energy use. Where possible, think about sitting to complete activities like brushing your teeth, or getting dressed/undressed. Adaptations and equipment can be used to support good sitting or standing posture in the bathroom.
Within the shower, a shower seat would allow you to sit for part or the full duration of your shower. Pairing a shower seat with an adjustable shower head will ensure you do not need to stand, reach, or bend, and can still easily complete all your washing when sitting if required. After showering, drying can be time consuming, and use up a lot of energy. One strategy to decrease this would be to use an alternative like a bathrobe made of towel material, although other strategies such as sitting for elements of the task may be just as appropriate. iDry Body Dryer.
It is important to ensure that the toilet itself is suitable and appropriate height; not just for the transfer, but also to support whatever activities you engage in whilst on the toilet. It might be the case that installing a wash/dry toilet would reduce the energy used to manage post-toilet hygiene.
Posture can be maintained by ensuring the sink is the right height for you, whilst acknowledging that you may sit or stand at the sink, depending on what task you are completing, and therefore a balanced compromise may need to be accepted. Alternatively, a height adjustable sink will ensure that whether you are sitting or standing to complete tasks, it can be the correct height for you, and therefore reduce the energy used.
Pacing & Prioritising
Pacing is an activity management technique, involving completing tasks at a speed so that you do not become too tired to fully complete the task. One way to ensure you are conserving energy would be to break down tasks into smaller steps and take a break between steps if needed. Pacing can be completed during individual tasks, or throughout your whole day. Prioritising involves deciding what needs to be completed now, and what can be completed later. It is important to set realistic goals for yourself each day, both prioritising what you think is most important, and ensuring you are pacing yourself while completing activities. For example, if you know that you will be having a busy day, schedule more energy consuming tasks that have less meaning to you on a different day.
It is a common misconception that completing all your energy consuming tasks in the morning is best, however that would likely leave you with little to no energy for other more meaningful tasks later in the day.
Ultimately, by engaging energy conservation strategies, you will be able to save time and energy throughout your day. This energy can then be used to help you engage in activities that are truly meaningful to you, such as spending time with family, friends, going to the theatre or café, leading a happy and fulfilled life.