Living Through Life Altering Events Part 1

Find Care for Your Special Needs Child


Living Through Life Altering Events - Part 1 | Organize 365

Next week on my Successful Direct Sales podcast, I am talking about how to work from home when you have children with special needs.

But that really isn’t the crux of the matter. The crux of the matter is how to you carve out time for YOU. Your business. Your health. Your marriage?

Special needs children, aging parents, divorce, illness, moving, going back to work… it is all overwhelming.

When your parent’s health is failing, no one stops the world from spinning for you. You still have to clean your house, go to work, take care of your kids and bake cookies for the bake sale.

As a professional organizer and business coach, I have seen, and personally been through, SO many of these life altering events. Here are 5 ideas to provide relief when the world is spinning too fast.

1. Sleep more.

I know, I know. You have SO much to do. I get it. But sleep. More.

Take a nap in the car. Take a nap at home. Go back to bed after you get the kids off to school. Sleep until noon on Saturday.

Sometimes you just can’t. When I was working full time, taking care of our kids and caring for my dying father who was 4 hours away from home, I couldn’t sleep more. That’s when I found Starbucks. 🙂

And coffee did work. It kept me awake on the drives to and from home. It gave me an extra 3 hours a night to work on estate paperwork. And it was yummy.  A bright spot in a dark time.

But even then, I did sleep. The last few days of my dad’s life, I went to bed in the next room from midnight to 6 am. I let the on call nurse and any family that wanted to stay up all night, but I knew I HAD to sleep or I would lose it.

So, I turned a box fan on high, shut the door and went to bed.

Since I was the only one authorized to give my dad medicine, I would be woken up if he needed anything or anything changed.

I would also go in my bedroom and turn the fan on for a 20 minute nap each afternoon.

My friends will tell you, I GO, GO, GO, but when I am done, I am DONE!

2. Let it go.

We all have our own “it.” Cleaning, structure, healthy foods, frugality, cooking from scratch, entertaining.

Eventually I had to learn that I couldn’t do IT all. Some of IT I was doing for me and no one else cared {ahem – vacuuming everyday!} and some of IT you are doing to please others.

Boy, when I think back to my life 13 years ago… my house was clean, organized, I weighed less, I actually cooked…

but I was more controlling, less relatable, less people oriented and just different.

Do NOT get me wrong – I would go back to that body and that level of order in a heartbeat, but it’s just not realistic right now. There are demands on my time I cannot delegate or put off to the future.

So the house is clean ENOUGH. I am thin ENOUGH. I AM enough.

3. Get ready for a marathon.

I don’t know what rosy glasses I was wearing as a kid, but these life stages of parenting, illness, court issues and taking care of aging parents and death are LONG.

Years of parents living with you. Years of fighting in the courts. Years of battling an illness.

I am a fix it and move on kinda person. God is a grow through the process kinda God. Guess who is winning. 🙂

My optimism keeps me high on the roller coaster, and then I come crashing down with each diagnosis, court ruling or phone call. After a few hours or a few days I’m back to my “here’s what we’ll do next” plan.

Figure out how you deal with the marathon of your life altering events. Just recognizing what I am doing gives me a little reality check.

4. Find a hobby.

You need an outlet. Something JUST for you. It might be reading, exercise, scrapbooking or hanging out with friends.

Mine is organizing and projects. Shocker…I know.

Hubby and I were just looking at the last of the raised flower beds I put in 5 years ago. The last 2 are coming out this summer. How many did I put in? 9.

When my father was sick, I would tackle a HUGE project every time I got home from seeing him. I can distinctly remember walking in after 14 hours of flights and layovers and starting to demolish our pantry.

There were still suitcases in the kitchen when I emptied the WHOLE pantry, took out ALL the shelving and wedged a bookshelf in there because I didn’t like wire shelving.

Crazy much?

After he passed and the estate was settled, I started erecting these raised flower gardens ALL over our back yard. $500 of wood, the best mix of soil and plants.

It took me weeks. I planted a 35 square foot strawberry patch. A 40 square foot vegetable garden with lettuce, cucumbers, onions, potatoes, and who know what else. I started a 4 blackberry and raspberry bushes.  4 Pumpkin and watermelon gardens and 2 flower beds.

I need to produce. Even if I’m never going to cook with the stuff I produce. :0)

You have to find a way to give yourself processing and decompressing time.

This post is way too long. 🙂 I will share the last next Thursday. 

Have you tried any of these? Have they worked for you? Do you have other ideas to share?


  1. Sue in Tenn says

    Lisa, what I love about you is that you know yourself so well…your strengths, your weaknesses, your motivation for doing things, etc. That takes a lot of honest introspection and it’s obvious that you’ve examined your life pretty closely over the years. I think that is the first step toward being successful at *anything!*

    I am not nearly as busy as you, but when I’m tired, I too will take a nap. When my body is telling me something, I listen to it! The older I get, the less I care about the house being a little messy or not having a perfectly cooked dinner. As women, often so much of our identity seems to be wrapped up in whether or not we have a clean house! (especially here in the south!) Think about how much stress and guilt trying to keep up that image creates in the lives of hard-working women and busy moms!

    You’ve done yourself (and your mental and physical health! Lol) a huge favor by admitting that you can’t “do it all,” and at peak busy times in your life, something will have to wait. To expect otherwise is to run yourself ragged and possibly stress out those closest to you as well. It’s not worth it, is it?

    • says

      Wow Sue – Thanks! I do agree giving ourselves the grace to be human and need rest is something that has come easier with age.

  2. says

    This really hits home for me (and my sister) right now; dealing with my parent’s who both are in failing health. My mom has been lucky enough to exceed the time that the doctors had originally given her at this point; but dealing with it and trying to help my sister–who lives close to them, while I’m 1500 miles away–has been more than challenging for both of us.
    Finding and participating in a hobby, especially one that involves other people, is amazingly helpful.

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