Hello my name is Pamela…. and I have anxiety.
(Also I think we should all wear name tags because seriously I’m terrible at remembering names.)
Honestly though, there’s a huge elephant in the room and its name is ANXIETY. I don’t know many parents that haven’t faced that emotion at one point in their parenting journey. Some only for a little while, and for others’ it is always an uphill battle to allow our children to even venture out into the world. I feel like the word ‘anxiety’ has come to be a blanket-term people use to explain the indescribable emotions and stress related to certain tasks – or life in general for some. But let’s make one thing very clear here: It’s not a BAD word.
We have become such a society of inclusion that anxiety is now a word for everyone. But the definition of it is not always. My anxiety over things won’t match your anxiety. What makes me react one way, won’t affect you the same. Some days I’m perfectly fine and you’d think I was the coolest cucumber in the patch, and other’s I’m clearly drowning in a pool of my own making.
I read recently in an article published on Psychology Today, how clutter and having a messy home can increase the stress-related anxiety that some of us feel. It can make us feel more depressed and more overwhelmed. That’s really what today’s post is about. I have been thinking on this issue for a very long time.
I have come home so many days to a house that’s cluttered and stressful and all I want to do is go straight to my room and hide. It’s been easier to do nothing at all than to try to clean. Some of you won’t understand that concept and that’s alright. This post isn’t for you. For those of you feeling me on another level, keep reading (please).
With the start of the year we are getting ready to hear the words “Spring Cleaning” so many times it will make you want to vomit. And guess what… my house has probably never had a proper spring clean. I always start with really good intentions and then become so overwhelmed by all that’s left or everything I haven’t done, that I just stop.
One of my resolutions this year is to overcome that hurdle. So I am bringing you this guide to help others like me, that some days need every. single. thing. listed to its very basic and minimalist level – or other days can breeze through three rooms in one go without a single thought of it. But no guide can be really and truly helpful without some suggestions up front.
#1 Sign Up for Emails
So that you don’t miss my weekly posts and guide downloads, follow my blog posts by entering your email to the right. You’ll get email alerts notifying you of any blog posts that I make. Just keep an eye out for the ones titled: “Anxiously Cleaning”.
#2 Do What You Can
Please keep in mind that with this guide, it is not a one-size-fits-all post. Some days you might be able to do more and others less. The one thing that I ask, is that at the very minimum, you complete the Daily Tasks as well as the Daily Goal. (For others who can, there will be optional tasks to do as you see fit.)
#3 Print Out the Weekly Guide
Be sure to print out the weekly guide. These will list all the tools and supplies needed for each day, as well as provide an easy-to-read checklist to follow with the Daily Tasks and Daily Goal listed for every single day. They are a companion to the blog posts and meant to put all the information in one place for easy access, no internet required.
#4 This is a Guideline
I repeat, this is a guideline. I am not a cleaning expert – my kids and husband… well everyone who knows me really – can attest to this. I am merely sharing what I am doing and what is working for me as I face cleaning-related anxiety, and how breaking down tasks and rooms into their most simple form can still help us to feel accomplished.
#5 Go At Your Own Speed
While I will be posting your upcoming weekly task list on Sundays, please know you can go at your own pace. One day you may feel up to doing more that the minimum and that is okay. Again, this is for people like me who might have days where even the very easiest of tasks can become overwhelming without very clear guidelines to follow. Some “rooms” may take up to two weeks for some while others may be able to complete it in one or less. For busy parents looking to accomplish only a little bit each day after work, maybe you just need a focus area. This is hopefully something that can be utilized by more than just an anxious parent like myself.
#6 Do Everything To Completion
There will be many days where we are required to purge. Be prepared. On those days, the task is not completed until the purged items have been dropped at a donation station or packed and put in storage where it belongs. Completion does not mean placed in a bag or box and set in the corner. All that does is take clutter from one place and move it to another! If all you can achieve is placing it in a corner and taking it the next morning, that’s perfectly fine – BUT DON’T MOVE ON TO THE NEXT STEP UNTIL THIS IS DONE. I know this might mean several trips to the donation station, but the reality of it is this: I know I won’t do it later if I move on.
#7 This is NOT Meant For Maintenance
With the exception of the Daily Tasks, the idea is that we will systemically approach all cluttered areas in the home, focusing on one room at a time. This is not a weekly to-do list for how and what I clean each day. I will tackle the idea of maintaining a clean and clutter-free space on another day. This series is designed more for people who are just needing a place to start from. People needing a foothold to re-learn some good habits and keep us accountable.
So without further ado, click HERE for Week One!