Conquer Caregiver Overwhelm: Keys to Getting Organized
When you have so much to do, you don’t know where to begin, it can be paralyzing. When you are a family caregiver, this feeling can be compounded by the additional responsibilities of giving care. Getting organized can be challenging. Staying organized is another story entirely. I recently facilitated an interview with Rose Hawley, the Simplification Coach, at Mindfully Organized. We discussed many things about getting and staying organized. I will share the interview in a few weeks and I am inspired to share some tips we discussed.
One of the things I tell my clients who begin caring for a family member is to get a 3 ring 3 inch binder, get page protectors and label all the categories you anticipate needing to maintain documentation. This includes doctors (medical), tests, medical history, insurance, finances, household, estate, rehabilitation, and/or anything else relevant to your specific needs. The challenge with maintaining all paperwork is that it can all come at your quickly and if you don’t have an organization system for opening mail/receiving all the information, those papers may not make it to your binder and/or filing system.
Here are some tips to getting organized around the home:
1. Find a permanent place to put all incoming mail and paperwork. Schedule 10 minutes a day to go through and clear it out. Either file it, trash it or take action. This routine will serve you well in the long run.
2. Ideally, take care of things as it comes to you. I learned a trick many years ago to touch a piece of paper once. Picking it up and putting it somewhere else over and over again only serves to feel overwhelm. I know if you already feel like you don’t have time right then to take action on said item, it will cost you more in the long run. Even 5 minutes will save you much aggravation.
3. Sometimes, feeling in control of our space is about having control over some aspect of it. This means finding a place in your home that is your sacred sanctuary. It could be your bedroom, kitchen, office, library. Heck, it can even be your bathroom. Sometimes, the only time I had refuge is in the bathroom; and even that was questionable at times. However, whatever this is for you, make sure that this space is clear of clutter and is exactly in the order you desire. Spending just a few minutes every day to maintain this space is for YOU. For me, it’s my bedroom. One small thing that helps me feel my sanctuary is mine is to make my bed. When I make my bed it gives me peace every time I walk in the room.
Rose shared with me that it’s not only the things that bring us peace throughout the day, it’s what we wake up to that can make a difference. For her, this means the dishes in the sink need to be done before she goes to bed. When she wakes up and sees a clear sink, it starts her day off right. This is a contrast to what I say, which is the dishes are just dishes and they can wait when you feel on the brink. Rose raises an excellent point here and I recommend finding that one thing that brings you peace each morning and doing what you can to get to it each evening. For caregivers, I realize what I may be asking sounds stressful just thinking about it. I promise you that you will feel better implementing whatever it is for you that brings you peace into your every day organization.
When we take time to maintain our ‘sanctuary’ space…our sacred space, everything else seems easier. We may still be stressed at times which is normal for caregivers. Heck, it’s normal for everyone from time to time to have stress. Having strategies in place to overcome this stress is key. I hope one of these tips helps to get you organized and stay organized.
One thing that I know for sure is a clear space is required to truly have a clear mind. Here’s to clearing out the crap!
It’s your turn: Do you have a favorite organization strategy that works for you? What can throw you off balance and how to you overcome this when it happens? Please comment below!!