Where do you go when you want to take yourself away from the day’s hustle and bustle? My friend finds that sitting on her stairs is the calmest place to be. I’ve noticed that my daughter does this sometimes too as she said that it’s a nice place to think.
I tried taking a moment in the car today! I popped out after work to run yet another errand for the family – a prescription collection – and was feeling a bit overwhelmed from the stresses of the day. As I was about to buckle up and drive home, I paused and thought… What if I don’t go home right now? I stopped for a moment and everything felt still.
I remember my friend telling me that she’d sat in the car the other day before going back into the house as it felt quiet, she felt happy, and there was no mess. I recall this myself once between getting off the train and rushing to the after school club 10 plus years ago.
I took a few deep breaths and felt the calmness start to kick in. I remembered the recording that another friend had kindly created for me a few months ago and switched it on.
I’m always trying to think of new solutions around the house to ease the chaos and clutter. Just before Christmas, I decided that I was fed up with the mess in the downstairs hallway. The rest of the family (and sometimes me) would literally kick shoes and other footwear towards the half height under-the-stairs cupboard with a tiny chance that at least one shoe would land in there.
I was working on another home project at the time and my coach suggested that it might be a distraction to try and fix the shoe cupboard issue as well. I knew he was right and decided that whilst working on one thing at a time was out of my comfort zone, I could treat the shoe cupboard project as a reward for actually completing something else.
When you are feeling overwhelmed it can be difficult to know what to do. Things feel like they are getting on top of you and it’s not always obvious what to do first.
In my case today, the whole house felt like a mess and I knew I had a lot to tackle to make myself feel better, but I didn’t know where to start and I didn’t particularly feel like doing any of it at that moment in time.
Fortunately I’ve felt like this before and knew that this overwhelm was just my mind playing tricks on me. I sat down with a cup of tea and drew a mind map after asking myself an important question about the clutter: What’s on your mind right now?
Beauty is everywhere; you just need to look for it. I have a few days off and went out for a walk a bit later than usual this morning. I took my time as I didn’t need to rush back to log on for work.
The weather was overcast at first and then it began to rain. Just before arriving back home, the grey clouds parted and the sun shone through. Even though it’s March, I felt a bit of warmth on my face and noticed the shadow patterns that the trees had made on the ground. I was grateful for that.
I then returned home and noticed that some tiny orange and yellow flowers had popped up in amongst some weeds in my garden. They’ve probably been there for a few days but I hadn’t taken the time to notice them.
As I go through the rest of my day, I’m going to be positive, and more mindful of the beauty around me.
Wishing each and every one of you an enjoyable day.
Have you ever considered that the way you think about tackling a challenging task might be very different to how someone else thinks about it?
To set the scene, we have a very large and heavy, solid wood writing desk in our bedroom where my husband has been working from home, and last week we decided that it needed moving to the lounge before eventually selling it for a smaller one. The desk was chocablock with stuff on top and underneath it and every drawers was full.
My way of dealing with this would have been with careful planning to move everything off the desk, sort out the drawers etc., even before we could think about getting someone to come round to help move it. A week had gone past and I hadn’t even starting clearing anything.
Today (Saturday) I was in my office busy finishing an overdue coaching assignment, when my husband came in and said that his friend would be round in 10 minutes to help move the desk as he was in the area. “What?” I said, “We’re not ready for that, can you please tell him we’re not ready. You said yesterday that we’d let him know”.
My husband (who makes things much less complicated than me) replied that it would be fine and we should just get it done. Part of me was feeling anxious but the other part was thinking, great opportunity to move this desk without my husband attempting to do it (he’s not allowed to lift anything at the moment).
My daughter said to me this evening ‘Thank you for being lovely and listening to me earlier’ and I thought about how my coaching training must be paying off. I’ve always thought that I was a good listener, but in the last few months I’ve been consciously trying to hear every word without thinking of my response; to truly hear the message without trying to offer the solution.
Why is listening without offering a solution so important?
If we offer our solution to someone else’s problem and they go with it, that might not be the conclusion they were going to get to. We have no guarantee that our idea would be better. We could have stopped their thinking part way through the best idea they would ever have.
Being listened to
The flip side of listening to others is having someone listen to you in order to come up with solutions yourself. In my session with my coach today, we eventually got to my new goal of ‘To be able to sit with my feet up in the future’. In my mind there are many steps and barriers that I need to get through to make this happen. He then asked what timeframe I imagined this goal happening.
I think we were both shocked when my immediate response was 1-2 years. What was I thinking? Can’t I just put my feet up right now? What’s stopping me? The answer I came up with was that I’m not seeing it as time to fully relax.
When my coach listened to me more and asked me lots of effective questions, it became obvious to me that because I allow the interruptions to happen, and react to them, I’m always on edge so don’t feel like I’m relaxing.
This was the first day in a long time that I’ve woken up and not thought about clearing my office. It felt good to walk in there and see everything tidy. I went outside for a 20 minute walk to clear my mind and took this photo. Don’t you think it symbolises a new beginning?
Today I spent half an hour clearing the stuff by the back door; all the rubbish, boxes and other packaging from Christmas. It felt good making a start on tackling the mound and leaving it all outside to be recycled in a couple of days. I had to keep a few boxes back as we have some items to return but have made a note to get rid of them if I don’t use all of them. That’s the only way I’m going to be able to live a life of having less stuff.
Quite by chance I just stumbled upon one of my posts from Mar 2021 called Looking Forward to Meeting My True Self. I really don’t remember writing it but there are some nuggets of wisdom in there such as not focusing on the clutter but something else.
“By changing my mindset I can start living as if I already have a clear house, and then have something else as the focus of the day”
I am going to take note of this, and the following affirmation as I move forward into my next chapter.
“I am excited to sit, breathe and relax in my clear and organised space”
Today I achieved one of my end of year goals of clearing and organising my office space. The new bookshelf proudly displays the majority of my personal development (self-help) books in one place next to a clear bed, meaning that I finally have somewhere comfortable to sit and read.
Just in front of that is my work desk which is now also tidy and organised (both the surface and underneath the desk). I achieved this by tackling things one by one and only putting back what I needed. One of the issues I had was the work keyboard being in the way when I want to write or do personal admin in the evenings. I’ve resolved this by adding a suspended shelf underneath so that my keyboard is out of the way from my personal laptop.
I haven’t sat at my laptop and written a blog for a while. Firstly because the desk I use is set up for work and so once I’ve finished work I don’t tend to go back and sit there, and secondly I have been doing a lot of journaling on an app called GrowthDay which is helping me a lot with my personal development (more about that another time).
Home projects I’ve been working on this year
My daughter’s new bedroom: The study I used to have is now completely transformed into my daughter’s new bedroom. So, that’s one more room completed that is no longer subject to ‘my’ clutter and she’s keeping it beautifully tidy.
We worked together on the project and got everything done before her 16th birthday. In one of my previous blogs Finding the Joy in Everyday Moments, I wrote “I am going to enjoy every step of getting my daughter’s new room the way she wants it. If I focus too much on the target goal and try and rush it, I’ll miss the moments that we worked on it together”. I’m pleased to say that it turned out just as we’d planned.
My new office: Once my daughter had moved into her new bedroom, I moved my work laptop into her old room which is now called my office. This is the third room I’ve been working from home in since the very first lockdown, and whenever I shift rooms and organise other ones, the clutter tends to follow me into my work space and I feel like I’m starting again. The built in desk in the room was ok, but it was feeling a bit small for the work set up I needed.
A couple of months ago, I realised that I missed my bigger glass desk which was dismantled in the corner of the conservatory (my first working from home space). So, I got my husband to carry it upstairs and I set it up on the other side of my office just to see if it helped me feel a bit more like writing. I started writing a blog post…
… that was the end of August (and I just found this post in draft). As soon as I moved my work computer onto the clear desk, I was distracted from writing. I was also busy at the time doing a coaching apprenticeship course alongside my day job (I’m really enjoying it but it’s taking up a lot of my time). I have been working hard on that, and my job, as well as putting time aside to declutter this room. Then there’s ‘life’ and ‘family’ on top of that. A couple of friends mentioned that I hadn’t blogged for a while so here it is 😀.
Hopefully you’ll see more posts from me over the coming weeks. I really must clear some more space in the room and in my mind to get into the flow of writing blogs again.