Organizing Priorities in a Health Crisis

I was recently asked to address the issue of what to do about staying organized when you’ve been leveled by some type of illness. What an important subject! You may have your house all organized and clear of clutter and then break your leg. How on earth can you tend to your house when it takes all of your energy to get to the bathroom and feed yourself, much less do anything else?

My first recommendation is: ASK FOR HELP!!!! I know that’s hard to do with tapes playing in your head that say, “You should be able to do everything by yourself,” and “I don’t want to be a burden to anyone else.” Contrary to popular belief, the people who care about you often get pleasure out of being able to lend a helping hand from time to time.

When I say ask for help, I not only include friends and extended family, but also the people who live with you. They may be accustomed to living in their own orbit, but a healthy functional family is one in which all members contribute, especially in a time of crisis. In particular, ask family members to be even more vigilant about cleaning up after themselves and helping to maintain order in the home.

My second recommendation is: keep paper under control. If paper gets out of control, you are more likely to have negative consequences, like missing a bill payment. It will also take much longer to dig out once your recover from your illness or injury if paper is part of the mix. Paper is one of the hardest things to organize. It also takes more time to organize than most things. And, the energy of paper will shut you down faster than any other kind of clutter. If you do no more that separate out bills from other papers, throw away junk mail and stack up all other papers, like those that require an action or filing, dealing with paper once you are up an around again will much easier to do.

You will have physical challenges from time to time that make it difficult for you to maintain order in your home. Be gentle with yourself at those times and do whatever you can to restore order as soon as possible once you recover. That may require getting some outside help if the challenge you are facing is beyond what you are capable of doing in a timely manner. If you leave your house in disarray, its condition is more likely to deteriorate further which then can become a health risk in itself.

One thought on “Organizing Priorities in a Health Crisis

  1. Madeleine Lawrence

    Hi Debbie,
    thanks for another great post. I tackled my papers yesterday, and what a feeling of relief! It’s amazing how quickly your systems can go once you become unwell, and how quickly that can lead to a ‘just can’t face it’ feeling.
    I also took your advice and got some help with the yard. This has also lifted a load. Next is getting professional cleaners to Spring clean (it is actually Spring here in the southern hemisphere).
    A lot of friends have told me to just relax about not getting everything done but I find visual clutter extremely hard to live with. As I think you’ve said before in your blog, those piles of paper are very niosy!
    Thanks again, I expect my health to keep improving as I add you advice to my health program.
    have a beautiful day, Madeleine

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