08 Jun Three ways to keep organised with a chronic illness
Chronic and long-term illness can have a devastating impact on our mental and physical health – but what lots of people forget is how it can affect so many areas of our lives – both on a daily basis and over time.
Fatigue, pain and immobility can make it difficult to keep doing the things we’d ordinarily do to keep things tidy, whilst lack of motivation and depression can make it hard to see clearly or plan ahead. Often a vicious cycle forms, as clutter, dirt and mess can impact on our mental and physical wellbeing, making the illness even harder to live with. Having my own experience of long-term illness personally and with friends and family, I know how hard it can be to stay organised and keep on top of things.
If you’re struggling to stay organised with a short or long-term illness, fear not! There are several (fairly simple) things you can do to help make your life easier and your head clearer.
Clear out and clean up
Being unwell for a long period of time often means we have much less energy to keep on top of things, causing them to pile up over time. If this sounds like you – don’t worry. Plan a week or two to go through your belongings bit by bit, at your own pace. You might like to enlist professional help to support you with this process, so that you can sit and focus on thinking about what needs to go and what you’d like to keep, whilst your organiser does the running around! They should also suggest some excellent organisational techniques to keep things clean and tidy going forward.
Get everyone on board
Speak to your friends and family to ensure they’re aware of keeping a cleaner, healthier space. Ask them to help you where they can with the things you struggle with the most. Discuss which things you find difficult to maintain with your partner – you may find you need a cleaner or organisational professional on a regular basis to help you to keep on top of things especially if you both lead busy lives. If you have children, you might like to give them each areas to take care of – to give them a sense of responsibility and help set them up for living on their own one day!
Keep medications together in one place
Depending on your diagnosis you may be taking lots of medications each day – as well as supplements and vitamins. I find that medications are much easier to take if you have them in a handy place you’ll remember quickly. Choose a place where everybody can access them just in case you are having a particularly bad day and need someone to fetch them for you. I like to organise mediations into plastic stacking boxes, grouped into type (vitamins/supplements, painkillers, morning, evening). Pill boxes can also be helpful if you have to take lots of different medications at different times throughout the day. Throw away the cardboard packaging and leaflets (these can be found online if you need the information) to save space and make your medications easier to access.
Stay on top of clutter to avoid build-up
Fatigue goes hand in hand with many chronic and long-term illnesses – meaning we have little energy to tidy up as we go and keep things clean as we might like to. Don’t give yourself a hard time or beat yourself up over this – think of it as another symptom of your illness that can be managed with a little planning and some lifestyle changes. Start by assessing your environment and considering how you could make things easier to keep clean – after the initial declutter this should be quite simple. Basic organisational techniques, like throwing away junk mail he moment it lands on your doormat, and rinsing plates straight away after dinner can make a huge difference! Removing clutter also makes it easier to wipe surfaces and keep things clean. If you’re having a bad day, ask for help or make a promise to yourself to tackle the laundry or the dishwasher by the following evening, so things don’t build up.