I have been trying to pay attention to this that create anxiety or frustration around me that I can change. I think with most things I will need to change my attitude and thinking to some degree (more on this later, maybe I’ll even link if I remember), but usually there are some practical changes I can make in order to reduce the effect.
Reflecting back to the height of my panic, in order to avoid attacks I would pack up Baby A and everything I needed in the morning and leave the house for the day. Getting away from the house stopped the attacks, and I know some of my logic behind this was that if I was outside the house and ‘something bad’ happened or I wasn’t coping, at least someone (anyone!) would be there just in case. As an aside, I read alot about people becoming afraid of going out for fear of ‘something bad’ happening, which I guess in panic logic kind of makes sense too.
This was totally strange behaviour for me – I love nothing more than to relax in my own space and not have to go out if I don’t want to. Interestingly, once in the ward, I didn’t feel the need to constantly get out at all. Clearly, some of this was because there were other people there, nurses and other mothers and babies just like me, but I also noticed this sense of relief in suddenly having all my posessions in order. Things suddenly felt much less overwhelming when everything was pared down to just what I needed (or really love), even though I felt more busy, getting chores done seemed much easier and satisfying. I realised that some of the reason I didn’t want to be home was that I had become overwhelmed by mess, and felt embarrassed and anxious when visitors turned up. Also it is surprising how even well-meaning family come out with insensitive comments about the state of the house 😦
This is really only a small trigger for the panic I was feeling, but it is a very practical change I can make well ahead of time to try and make life easier. I didn’t really get the opportunity before Baby A arrived to properly put things in order because I was working long hours tying up work affairs. In typical fashion I also didn’t think I needed to, because ‘it will all be fine’ and ‘there will be plenty of time once Baby A arrives to get things done!’. I think I also underestimated how much the state of the house would play on my mind, seeing as I have never spent so much time at home before!
So, this time I have a good 7 months to do something about it. The first part of making the house somewhere I want to be is to declutter. I’m focusing on this first because I know I like to do it. 😊 The next bit will be making cleaning a habit, which I’ll talk about later (and link to it too?).
I have been drawn to the Konmari method for a little while, partly because I love anything Japanese, and there is just an inherent Japanese-ness in her writing and attitude, partly because she makes decluttering into a giant one off project (which I know I am more likely to complete), but also because of the joy element in deciding what to keep in your home. I like this because really the purpose of my decluttering is to improve my mood, and if I’m going to be at home so much, I want to be surrounded by only happiness inducing things, not guilt ridden things. Oh, and is just going to be super practical to have a clutter free house.
There are some elements of her method I’m going to back away from a little bit. One is the ‘aim for perfection’ goal. I know this is a recipe for panic. Also I have a husband that collects certain things that don’t necessarily ‘spark joy’ in me, but he lives here too, and it’s mainly contained to one small room anyway. Also, omg, two babies will live here, and they come along with so much stuff. So I am going to be a bit flexible with baby stuff, but I will think about a plan to purge items that are no longer needed (later!). I like giving, so this shouldn’t be too hard, I just need to make time for it. I know that if I just focus on what I can control it will go about towards helping me feel less overwhelmed.
So, I have happily started on the ‘clothes’ category, and I will talk about the progress in a coming post, and maybe even post a picture. 😱
I will be talking a bit about Marie Kondo decluttering method as I go along, but if you want to know more about it, her book is a lovely read 😊: