Catastrophizing is very common when you have anxiety, and it makes you imagine the worst possible outcome when problems arise. A million thoughts are running through your head and all you feel is the inability to do anything because where would you possibly start.
Feeling overwhelmed with what you have to do to fix things is usually the first reaction to bad news, and it's so easy to just fall into destructive habits or ignore it until the situation has become even worse.
What I'm suggesting you do has actually nothing at all to do with your problem (unless the problem is that your apartment is so messy you can barely live there anymore), but it can have a tremendous effect on how you will handle it.
Cleaning might feel like something very small to do, but the trick to managing anxiety and depression is all the small things. It's doing a quick body weight workout routine, it's making a healthy breakfast, and it's going to the dog park to laugh at happy silly dogs. Anyone struggling with mental illness knows that there's no magic day that turns it all around. It's all the small things that you do regularly that will help you overcome anxiety and depression.
Not convinced yet? Of course I have a list of reasons. :)
How cleaning can help with your anxiety
You're doing something to actively better your situation.
Feelings of overwhelm are usually because you feel powerless and out of control, so taking charge of a small part of your life -- like your living situation -- makes you feel more in control of your life.
It keeps your mind occupied.
When your thoughts go round and round in more and more worried circles you want to distract yourself. Put on a TV show, movie, or audiobook in the background and listen to that while you occupy your hands with mopping and wiping table tops.
Related article: How to beat your insomnia with audiobooks
You're making your living space a nicer place to be.
Living in a cluttered, dirty place only stresses you out more, especially if you are an introvert. If you have been in a low period, chances are that cleaning hasn't exactly been on the top of your list. Putting things where they are supposed to be, creating clean, open spaces, and scrubbing out the grit from the corners will make it easier to relax and feel safe. It will also be easier to find what you need to solve your problem, like important papers.
Photo by Hutomo Abrianto
You're doing something physical.
When I feel overwhelmed it's like my feelings get locked in my body and I feel all coiled up with suppressed energy that I don't know what to do with. Doing something physical helps you express that energy and use it for something positive.
Related article: Four healthy ways to blow off steam
You're doing something productive.
Being able to check things off your to-do list will give you an easy win and make you feel accomplished, instead of wondering why you stress-ate a whole tub of ice cream.
It gives you somewhere to begin.
The problem is often that it all feels so confusing and overwhelming that you don't know where to start. Completing a household chore or two will give you the momentum you need to take the next small step, and so on.
Photo by Ian Dooley
So next time life is overwhelming you, bring out the sponges and scrub some frustration away! It will make your place organized, inviting, and clean. An excellent starting point for tackling any problem. :)
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Hi, I'm Erika!
I know what it's like living with anxiety and depression, but living and living are very different things. I believe in practical tips and methods, and I will use them to help you be the brave, daring, darling individual you are.
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