Oh come on, I know not getting stressed to begin with is the best way to handle stress. it’s just not happening for me.
What does work- and like a charm too- is stress cleaning.
Whenever I go down that rabbit hole of stressful thoughts or beurocratic mess I need to handle, I feel an urge to do something. as in something active. let’s face it- I feel an urge to get as close as I can to the fridge.
I am aware this is not the smartest move on earth, so if I’m conscious, I grab a broom and start sweeping.
I have to admit I like cleaning.
I know many people don’t, what can I say- its healthy, free, environmental, frugal and the end result is a clean space , what’s not to like?
A few weeks ago, two of my long time friends came to visit, and one of them joked that her mother and I were so much alike- we both can’t deal with people visiting and have to “do something” while everyone is talking.
I immediately liked her mother.
I feel awkward in any kind of social gathering, even if the participants are two of my good friends, I have no idea why, I’d rather talk to them on the phone- although now that I think about it- the social part of the conversation- where they chat about work and men and stuff like that- is hard for me to relate just the same, the only difference is that when we talk on the phone- I can continue doing things while I listen to them, until they get tired of the chit chat and get to what’s really bothering them, then I sit down and listen whole-heartedly and try to help -if I can.
You might wonder why I continue to be friends with people I can’t sit with and enjoy the conversation , well the answer is that I have 4 friends, 3 go more than 20 years with me, and the fourth about 8, and we had each other’s backs in sickness and in health, in marriages and divorces, in the joy- and anxiety of bringing children into this mess of a world, and I already understand that there is no such thing as a “perfect relationship”.
Not with partners, not with family , and not with friends.
So I do my best to avoid social gatherings, and when there is no way to avoid the situation- immediately afterwards- I stress clean.
Benefit #1: obviously: clean and tidy space!
No need to elaborate on this one, but- I want to emphasize the #1 trick I learned through the years and saves me a lot of time and effort- and I mean a lot(!):
The less stuff (knick-knacks) you have lying around everywhere- the less time you spend cleaning.
And please don’t use the cowardly method I used- meaning stuffing everything in my drawers and cupboards and closets- basically wherever is hidden from the eye-only to have the closet’s content collapse on me as soon as I dare open it.
*Not to mention no way I could find anything I needed, each search party took 3-4 weeks to find wrapping paper or what not.
Deciding what gets recycled and what fortunate piece of stuff gets to stay at your house is definitely nothing to joke about.
Mary Kondo made a career based on our difficulty to let go of stuff, and rightfully so.
If you love being surrounded by your stuff- that’s great- just remember cleaning will be much more difficult .
Benefit #2: instead of stress eating- you get your body moving and your heart pumping.
Obviously- again -always better to get your body moving instead of only working your right arm to open and close the fridge.
Also- whenever I stress eat- it’s the first sweet carb I see lying around- no time for smart food choices or anything of the sort. which is a continuous pity, since Everything is definitely connected.
Benefit #3: AKA-The psychological effect:
Stress gets your adrenaline going. that’s our bodies’ way of dealing with what it considers as danger.
Adrenaline means the urge to do something.
For me- this means -either getting up and going to the fridge, or grabbing a cleaning cloth /broom.
The best option would of course be to sit and meditate through this, but I found out that my body just can’t sit through a stressful situation. the physiological urge is to move.
Now- since I am already stressed- why add future remorse(thus more stress) by devouring the fridge like there is no tomorrow? because often times- tomorrow does come, and the implications of stress eating tag along as well. I find it hard to sleep well, my workout is compromised, hence- even more stress- and catch 22 right in front of me.
On the other hand-
Stress cleaning has the exact opposite effect-
I find that tidying and cleaning helps me get my thoughts in order, as well as my house, thus alleviating the current stressful situation- and helping you create a comfortable space for you to rest and contemplate the best course of action to be taken to deal with the stress and allowing for some relaxed sleep knowing your to do list has one less thing on it.
Hope this works for you- the cooliflower.