Feeling at home and relaxed in your living space is highly important, especially when struggling with stress, anxiety, and any other mood disorder. The difficulty comes in when an episode or attack comes on. Along with the normal behavioral, psychological and physiological changes it causes, it can sap so much from you as you start the recovery process.
One of the worst things when anxiety reaps its ugly head is that it can manifest in several different ways. Each person who experiences it has different manifestations. For me, I always have obsessive thinking and racing thoughts. I always have a racing heart, butterflies and hot flashes. The cause of my anxiety determines my behavioral changes. If it’s something that is purely stress related such as increased work load or fretting about future outcomes, I can’t eat. I feel nauseous constantly, and I’m ALWAYS organizing and cleaning. If it’s something more emotional based like the death of a loved one, I slide into the horrible behaviors of comfort eating, drinking…..and I stop cleaning. I always make sure to do the basics….sweep the floor, clean dishes, etc. But clutter becomes a huge issue.
I normally try to rid myself of clutter as soon as possible, but with the last anxiety phase, I ended up so emotionally drained that truly cleaning was put on the back burner. Needless to say, I looked around my place and become overwhelmed. That feeling of peace was no longer there, which is a huge no-no when struggling with any kind of disorder. Your home is your sanctuary! It should make you cozy and safe, and restarting the process can be difficult after you’ve had a flare up. Just looking at the amount of “stuff” you can collect while recuperating can cause your anxiety to flare again. It’s really amazing how much a human being can acquire in such a short amount of time.
SO…here are my tips on cleaning and organizing through any kind of episode flare up you may have to help either keep your home feeling more relaxed or to avoid that overwhelming feeling you’ll have when your energy finally returns.
- Start small – Depending on what you may be struggling with, even getting the energy up to clean can be a hurdle. Instead of looking around and stating you need to clean, give yourself small objectives. You will always look in a room and see what has to be done, but instead of focusing on the whole room, pick one spot. If you’re like me and pile up your mail on your kitchen table, you may want to start there. Give yourself the goal of cleaning off the table one night, then the counter top the next night. It’s a slow go, but it’s not as overwhelming.
- Pick a room – Instead of jumping around from the kitchen table to the coffee table in the living room to your dresser in the bedroom, focus on one room. It will take a while to finish, but you will feel accomplished by just completing one room. I do my best to ignore the rest of my place while I’m trying to focus on one thing. When anxiety races, focusing becomes essential in order to keep yourself from playing into the fight or flee instinct. Jumping from place to place will keep your mind racing.
- Trash ANYTHING and EVERYTHING – If it looks like junk, it’s probably junk. If you haven’t touched it in a while, toss it.
- Make your Bed – Your room will automatically look cleaner with a made bed. I know it doesn’t make sense since your only going to get back in it, but it does make your room look more organized.
Do you have any short cuts for cleaning? Any tips to keep yourself organized through stressful times?