Receiving a chronic illness diagnosis can require some lifestyle changes AND organizing a lot of new information.
That is why I am talking with organizing expert Rachel Rosenthal about her organizing strategies for living with a chronic illness. Rachel is a busy mom of twins and entrepreneur diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease a few years back. Among other symptoms, Hashimoto’s can cause brain fog and fatigue. Rachel’s organizing skills had to be on point to keep up with her research, doctor’s appointments and life in general.
A professional organizing mom of twins, Rachel’s expertise appears in Real Simple, Martha Stewart, and House Beautiful among others. She is also a contributor to the TODAY Parenting Team. After many doctor’s appointments, Rachel received her diagnosis of Hashimoto’s disease. Hashimoto’s is a chronic autoimmune disease where your immune system attacks your thyroid. It causes a range of symptoms from hair loss to muscle and joint pain.
RACHEL’S TIPS FOR ORGANIZING FOR A CHRONIC ILLNESS
- Start Small – Choose one area of focus to start making changes and after those become habit, choose another area. Too much change at once is overwhelming, especially when you don’t feel well.
- Seek Out Others – Find people who have a similar diagnosis so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You don’t have to do exactly what they do, just use their experience as a starting point.
- Advocate for Yourself – Organizing all your paperwork can help you keep on top of your research and care. Use an accordion file folder to keep everything easily accessible. That way you can find it and share it with your health care providers. Categories may include research to ask your doctor about, test results, lists of prescriptions you’re taking, etc.
- Create Online Folders – When it comes to organizing your online research, create bookmarks and folders. These will help you keep track of the information you’re researching. You could also do secret Pinterest boards to help you organize the articles for easier retrieval later. Remember organizing is all about finding something later!
- Separate Your Medical Bills – When it comes to medical paperwork, keep your medical bills separate from her other bills. Make sure you schedule a specific time to do it. It may take a little bit longer and you want to focus on what you are doing.
- Create a Daily Journal – Use a notebook to track your daily food intake, what you do, and how you feel. Keeping this journal helps you keep straight what happens day to day. And your doctors and specialists can see details and patterns. Get it out of your head and on to a page.
- Create a Medication Chart – Create a daily chart with what you need to take when. Also, designate a specific spot to keep your medications. And set an alarm for your medications so you don’t forget. When dealing with any illness or medication, missing even one dose can really throw off your body.
Finally, remove the physical clutter and work to organize your space. This reduces your stress and makes it easier for you to find what you need for your care.
And for today’s delicious mocktail recipe….
Ginger Turmeric Mocktail
- 2 cups Grapefruit Juice freshly squeezed if possible
- 2 tsp ground ginger or 2 inch peeled, grated fresh ginger knob
- 1 tsp ground turmeric or 1 inch peeled, grated fresh turmeric knob
- crushed ice
- sparkling water optional
- grapefruit slices garnish
- In a pitcher mix grapefruit juice, ginger, and turmeric. Mix and allow to sit to let flavors develop.
- Pour juice through a strainer and discard turmeric and ginger
remnants. Keep chilled in the refrigerator until serving.
- Rim the glasses with sugar. Add crushed ice and pour the grapefruit
turmeric ginger juice over. Fill to the top (add sparkling water if you want)
and garnish with a quarter slice of grapefruit. Enjoy!
New episodes of “Cocktails and Containers” are available every week.
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