Dealing with anxiety is never as easy as waking up one morning and saying that you are going to “deal with it”.
But there is a quick and easy hack that you can get started on today and that is: looking around your environment with fresh eyes and “seeing” if your environment is causing a piece of that anxiety.
Is it possible that your clutter around you is causing anxiety? If so, where do you start? How about these quick tips to get you started easy today.
Clutter, chaos, and a constant to-do list are a constant part of my life as a busy mom working from home with 5 kids 11 years old and under. And it causes me anxiety.
I didn’t know at first that I was dealing with anxiety. I always thought I just needed a break from caretaking. As my symptoms of randomly bursting out into tears and binge eating became worse I went to see my family doctor to make sure I wasn’t on the spiral of depression. Talking him through what was going on and my symptoms he looked at me and said … “You are not depressed. You have anxiety.”
Let’s define anxiety for a second, shall we?
“Anxiety is an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure. People with anxiety disorders usually have recurring intrusive thoughts or concerns. They may avoid certain situations out of worry.”
I’ve also heard Rachel Hollis at her recent RISE conference (online of course) describe anxiety as: the worry and fear about the future while depression is the worry and fear about the past.
Going home from the doctor’s office that day didn’t change my life.
He offered no drugs that I can remember (thank God) and offered me tips to-do which I completely forgot. But I do remember that in the years that followed I went on this journey to declutter my life.
I was coming off a highly stressful part-time volunteer position, I had just, within the last year, had my 5th child and, with my husband working 70+hours a week, it was me and the kids.
And our house … oh. Dear. God. What a disaster.
Starting with the master bedroom. It had become the dumping ground to hide the junk from the rest of the house. Also, my clothes had exploded as I had pre-pregnancy clothes, maternity clothes, nursing clothes, post-pregnancy clothes, and post-post-pregnancy clothes that fit the now bigger size me. Esh.
Dealing with the anxiety
It takes time to pinpoint if you have anxiety and what severity level you suffer from. And it takes time to get diagnosed and to develop good habits in your life to help you be supported to live life to your fullest instead of suffering in anxiety.
Dealing with anxiety is never as easy as waking up one morning and saying that you are going to “deal with it”. People that don’t have anxiety don’t understand this. But as I said, there is a quick and easy hack that you can get started on today.
Look around your environment with fresh eyes and “see” if your environment is causing a piece of that anxiety.
Starting with a stack of books on your bedside table with all the books that you should read maybe a huge trigger of anxiety. What about easily taking out your anxiety about the books by getting rid of them. If tossing them out causes you anxiety you could even pack them in a box in the bottom dark corner of your basement so you don’t need to think about it.
What about the treadmill sitting in the corner of your living room that you never use and daily reminds you of all the ways you are failing, plus taking up a huge amount of floor space.
Take some pictures and sell it. You will feel 100 lbs lighter.
You can also create a simple strategy to get all your exercising in by doing something a little easier and simpler like buying a year subscription to a workout app where all you need is running shoes and weights.
What is the clutter anxiety connection? Get the details and go a little deeper than what the article about clutter and mental health says. What does clutter do for your anxiety in particular? The worry about the made-up future. And how do you know if you have this anxiety?
What action can we take to combat this anxiety?
Related Post: The Joy of Clutter Free Living
Quick tips on other ways you can reduce the anxiety in your life
Yes, your cellphone can stress you out for clutter.
It could be that the cell phone is cluttering up your life with the time that you use it for. As in you get to the end of the day and you’re stressed out that you didn’t have time for yourself but yet if you look back throughout the day you will find that there were times that you were on your phone.
This could be taking a good long look at your calendar and making sure that you have some white space present in it. White space would be a block of time where you have nothing scheduled for the week. Like 2 hours of free time on Thursday afternoon, for example. Giving you a chance to breathe and have space for “life” to happen.
And when “life” does happen it’s okay, no need to panic because you have a couple of free hours built-in.
Esh, clothes. Clothes can be a sneaky anxiety. Like the accumulation of different sizes and styles over the years. Toss a pregnancy or 2 into there and you will have not only all the regular clothes but the pregnancy, post-pregnancy, and nursing clothes.
Reducing your clothes to fit into a certain section of the closet or what I did was one dresser for everything. The physical limitations of the space will force you to toss the clothes that you no longer need. Only keep what you love and wear right now.
Did you know that out of the 100% of our clothes we typically wear only 20% on a weekly basis?
A super-easy way to declutter clothes is to grab a stack, a shelf, or a drawer. Empty that onto your bed and sort through the pile asking yourself 3 questions as you put your clothes to keep back. “Do I love this?” “Do I use this?” “Would I buy this again?” if the answer is yes put the item back in your drawer.
That way every time you open your drawer to select clothes for the day all that you have inside are clothes that you love, use, and wear all the time — making clothes selection and how the clothes fit you easy and anxiety-free.
When the house feels like a disaster and I’m not too sure where to start, I always start with a garbage sweep, and I aggressively toss stuff into the garbage.
And by stuff, I mean literally garbage.
I’ve no idea how the living room can collect the random pillow stuff, empty yogurt container, and broken toys but it happens and a quick sweep of me walking around the room with a garbage bag in my hand makes all the difference towards my first step of cutting the clutter and thereby the anxiety in my life.
Related Post: Create Your Version of a Clutter Free Life
If you struggle with anxiety take a look around you.
What is going on in your environment? Do you feel good about it? We are not aiming for picture-perfect here we are only aiming for that cozy feel and deep breath you take because you are home. That’s what we are going for.
And when open the closet door to find an outfit, or opening your phone to send a message or looking at the week ahead, or walking into a messy room where you don’t know where to start causes you anxiety …
causes you to want to curl up in a corner and cry…
or eat the whole row of oreo cookies…
or make you want to lie down for a nap instead.
— remember this is one part of your life that you have complete control over. This is one part of your life that you can make work for you and use it the work you do here to make not only you feel good but your family as well.
So let’s start calming the anxiety right now. What are you decluttering this week?