A little while ago I asked the GvL hive mind for suggestions for future articles. The Strawbear left a comment that stayed with me regarding the correlation between low mental health and their environment. Specifically:
‘…I was thinking about how I used to live in my 20s. Depressed half the time… I let my living conditions slip massively from what I’d been used to growing up. Things didn’t get fixed, jobs got abandoned halfway through, walls were left literally crumbling.’
This came back to me right now when I walked into my study. Cluttered and stinking of dog. Piles of bills, unread books, undone to-do lists – all heaped on the desk alongside overdue library books. My calendar was on the previous month. A mess – and one that reflected my mindset.
Just looking at it made my mood plummet. Working in the middle of it was a non-starter. I took myself off to Costa instead. I just couldn’t face the mess.
The Strawbear raised an important point. Chaos and disorder breed more chaos and disorder. At first glance a mess can be insurmountable. It’s tempting to close the door and walk away from it – which is what I did. Doesn’t solve the problem though.
As I walked home from Costa I bumbled into a charity shop and bought myself The Monkees’ Greatest Hits. Slapped it on the turntable to boost my mood. Sat down in my study and made another list. One that went a bit like this:
– Look for the easy win – open the window, air the room. Fresh air brings fresh perspective.
– Clean the dog snot off the window – a small job with an instant reward.
– Dance (I’m A Believer was a personal highlight).
– Shove all the stuff on the desk on the floor. Divide into piles – filing, action needed quickly etc. Put the books on the shelf.
– Look again for the easy wins – my library books can be renewed online. Done with minimal effort.
– Bin the crap. Every room builds up human detritus. Empty cans, paper, food etc. Just clearing one space can make a huge difference – whether it be my desk or your living room table.
Enjoy the results of your effort. Repeat the list when you feel up to it.
The Strawbear made another wise point – ‘The actual work takes very little time’. It’s motivation that is often missing. The anxiety or black dogs in our mind can stay our hand from action.
I found that breaking down the mess into smaller, easily dealt with tasks helped me move through a fog. I have friends who execute their mundane tasks such as ironing while bingeing Poldark or Outlander. The steaming hot rompage helps make the pile disappear in a much more pleasant way.
So maybe, if you feel up to it, take a step back and look around you at the space you are in. Is there anything you can spot straight off that causes anxiety or irritation? Is there a simple remedy to that problem? If you feel up to it then do that one thing.
This can be applied to any room. I hate changing bed covers. I also think getting into a cool clean bed at night is heaven. Think of the pleasure after the pain.
Simple actions, leading to simple pleasures. Just one or two, in your own time, can lead to a brightening of the overall picture. It might not solve the underlying problems that you face, but it might help you feel a little more in control.
Thanks to you all for reading. And a huge thank you to The Strawbear for sparking this week’s topic. Please feel free to comment if you have any thoughts on today’s article, or if there are any other topics you would like to see covered here at Geeks Vs Loneliness.