“Living with anxiety is like having a constant shadow. A shadow that knows your weaknesses and insecurities. It follows you around just to remind you of them. It lurks in the corners waiting for the perfect opportunity to become a dark cloud that hangs over your head. And it gets to the point where you are consumed with the darkness. Your weaknesses and insecurities are all that you feel.”
I suffer from anxiety!
Lately, I have been struggling. Struggling to get “back on track”. To keep the house in order, to plan my meals, to stick to my cleaning schedule, and to keep my head above water. I have had this post mostly written for about a six weeks, but I haven’t been able to hit that “Publish” button.
In all seriousness, I just wasn’t ready. I mean don’t get me wrong, my house was still pretty clean and tidy because of my routines. I could do nothing in my house for 2 or 3 weeks and no-one would probably notice. Except me! But the obsessive-compulsive side of me does not cope well with falling behind.
Starting a blog.
When I first started my blog I struggled to come up with a name for it. I struggled to find the right way to express exactly what it was all going to be about. Of course, I knew that it was going to be about organising. I mean, I love having a place for everything and everything in its place. I knew I would touch on all things related to the home. But I also knew that I wanted my readers to know that I was certainly not an expert in the field. I am just me. An ordinary housewife with a husband and son. I work 18 hours a week, with countless hours spent keeping house, running errands and looking after the boys.
But how do you explain in a blog name what type of organising you do? How do you explain that one minute you are travelling along fine and the next you feel a sense of total overwhelm? That some days you are on a roll and others you can barely cope with packing lunches?
And “An Organised Home for the Highly Unmotivated Housewife” was born.
At first, I didn’t want to share the whole anxiety situation, but when I thought more about it, I realised that I needed to. How can people relate to me if they don’t know what I am going through? How can anyone understand the reasons behind what I do? The way I cope. The techniques I employ to stay on top of everything.
While I don’t tend to blurt out the details of what I am going through in any particular week, my “lack of motivation” (or the varying degrees of depression and anxiety that I am feeling) does dictate how much I actually achieve. Organising is a great way to deal with anxiety. When I am not organised I am anxious. It is a vicious cycle. A cycle that I have no control over.
So how does organising help?
Organising makes me feel in control.
Living in a world that I have very little control over can be overwhelming. Having my own space that I know is in order, and the way I like it can help bring back some of those feelings of being in control. Creating a home that brings peace and calm lessens the feeling of constraints from the outside world, even for just a short period of time.
My anxiety is greatly reduced when I am organised.
When you can’t find your phone or your wallet or “insert missing item here” your body releases a stress hormone called cortisol. When cortisol is released the problem is escalated with the ensuing irritation, memory loss and stress that it produces. With my belongings organised and in their place, it reduces the “stress” of not knowing where they are. Or having to try and locate them when time is of the essence.
Being organised gives me more “me” time.
I am a huge “list” person. Detailed lists of what needs to be done reduce time spent procrastinating. Knowing what I am cooking each evening reduces the time I spend pointlessly staring into the freezer, and makes meal preparation much faster. Setting certain days to wash my towels, or sheets, or bath mats means that I do these things on auto-pilot. And all of this means that at the end of the day, I have more time to relax and do something that I want to do. Like read a book, or watch Netflix.
An organised meal plan keeps me on track with a better diet, healthier snacking, less wastage and unnecessary purchases, which in turn saves me money.
Planning my meals has been a game changer for me. It makes shopping easier, meal preparation faster, I have far less wastage, and I save money each week at shopping. Of course, there are some weeks where I haven’t planned my meals. On these weeks I can be found wandering the grocery store, thinking I will cook this, and that, and buying all the ingredients for the dishes of choice, but it never seems to go to plan. I end up with way too much food, and way too much wastage.
You can see how I prepare my vegetables for the week here and how it is saving me time, money and sanity here.
A cleaner home is a healthier home.
I have to say this kind of freaks me out because we are all aware of the dust that our homes already accumulate. And the pesky insects that find their way inside, I recently read an article about how much skin and hair we shed every single day. It’s actually pretty gross to talk about, so let’s just leave it at that. An organised and clean home is healthier for all of us. The mere thought of this stresses me out. But keeping up with the housework and having a set laundry schedule for the towels, sheets and bath mats puts my mind at ease.
As well as organising, I am always decluttering my belongings.
I despise feeling bogged down with all the “things” around me. It is one of the main causes of my anxiety. Over the past few years, I have worked towards a more minimalist lifestyle, however, I am nowhere close to being finished. But having less clutter around me certainly does help me stay calm. Now I get rid of items I no longer need, use or love, which has also had a wonderful effect on my home and my mood. And the biggest benefit is, the less you own, means less to clean and less to organise.
I hope this sheds a little light on my reasons for this blog and helps you understand how others deal with anxiety. Or simply lets you know, that you are not alone.