tidy the home to tidy the mind

When the home is messy, it’s really difficult to feel relaxed and it doesn’t feel good to be in. Likewise, when my mind is messy, it’s impossible to relax, I feel scattered and it’s really the last place that I want to be. Taking care of my home, creating and providing a nurturing environment that says I care about myself not only gets the house into tip top shape but the mind as well.

When the home is messy, it’s really difficult to feel relaxed and it doesn’t feel good to be in. Studies show that living with a messy home, living with clutter can increase anxiety, depression and a whole realm of debilitating effects on your health and wellbeing. At least with the home, unlike the mind, you can leave it and come back to it at a later time. Like the mind though, it’s still going to be there exactly as you left it. In my experience, to bring the mind back into balance, taking care of my home, creating and providing a nurturing environment that says I care about myself not only gets the house into tip top shape but the mind as well.

Here’s a story that I think a lot of us can relate to. I was chatting with my sister tonight and she was telling me how on the weekend she was feeling scattered, somewhat anxious and decided that she’d go shopping to make herself feel better. She wanted to browse through the shops, checking out clothes and even if she didn’t buy anything, that’s OK ‘cause it would make her feel better. She was almost out the door when she stopped and asked herself why was she doing this? She’d just realised she was shopping because she was avoiding tidying up the house. She was only going to go out, browse through the shops, feel tired and come home and the house would still be messy. This was pointless!
This got me thinking, how many times have I done something else to avoid doing the thing that just needed to be done. For me, having a messy home is like having a messy mind. When my mind is in overdrive, I start to feel anxious and I shut down those habits that have a positive effect on keeping my mind clear, alert and decisive. When it’s messy, I imagine my mind is a cartoon; it’s the chook with its head cut off, aimlessly running around without a single clue on where it’s going or what’s happened to it. When my mind is messy, it’s impossible to relax, I feel scattered and it’s really the last place that I want to be.
The same can be said for a messy home. When the home is messy, it’s really difficult to feel relaxed and it doesn’t feel good to be in. Studies show that living with a messy home, living with clutter can increase anxiety, depression and a whole realm of debilitating effects on your health and wellbeing. At least with the home, unlike the mind, you can leave it and come back to it at a later time. Like the mind though, it’s still going to be there exactly as you left it. In my experience, to bring the mind back into balance, taking care of my home, creating and providing a nurturing environment that says I care about myself not only gets the house into tip top shape but the mind as well. These are quick wins that don’t cost you anything. Let’s get schuzing!

Just start by tidying up one room. Identify the one thing that is annoying you and start there. For my sister, that was folding clothes up and putting them away. Tackle one job at a time and move through the space methodically. This type of work gives your mind a chance to relax, it gives your mind breathing space for your mind and physically you observe how the space reveals itself as an ordered and tidy environment. There’s something to be said about this connection between the physical act of cleaning and the message it sends to yourself about self-care. If you’ve got the energy, and by now you’ll probably find that you do, tackle another room and keep going. The bonus is that once you’re done, you’re at home so you can immediately enjoy the environment you’ve just created for yourself. I love to light a candle once I’m finished up because the scent helps to set the tone for the rest of the day.

I’m writing this as the border between NSW and Victoria is shut, Melburnians are in the midst of a second lock down and NSW are reducing the number of people at any one gathering. Times are uncertain and we take each day as it comes. What is clear is that working from home is going to remain on the cards for some time to come. It’s even more important to create that environment that is going to support you across all areas of your life – physically, emotionally, spiritually – as well as ensuring you remain productive and energised to engage with your work in a meaningful way. If you’re working amongst mess, it can often feel like things are closing in and it feels harder to maneuver through the day. If this is you, then tackle this space first. Many of you who are working from home were probably initially thrown into this environment without preparing for it. Now is a great time to look at the space you’ve pulled together at a moment’s notice. You’ve had a few months to get yourself sorted in terms of how this is all going to work, so now would be a good time to evaluate if your set up is working for you as well. If the layout isn’t working, change it around. Keep moving things until they feel perfectly right for the way that you need to work. By bringing these two areas together you’ll be more relaxed, more able to focus properly on doing your work well.

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