Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Home's Launchpad

Image Courtesy of  Appolonia
Whether preparing a holiday feast or just keeping up with the day to day tidying, a clean kitchen is a launch pad for raising our spirits and enjoying our homes.  Nobody likes to work in a cluttered kitchen with dirty dishes piled in the sink and in some cases on the counters.  Wiping off the counters and table tops in your kitchen are so much easier to handle when done after every meal and each cooking task in the kitchen.  I know this sounds difficult to some of you, and I do not want you to fall into the perfectionist trap that you have to do it perfectly every time.

Every time you work on the task of cleaning the kitchen, you are building better habits, particularly when you make an effort to do it throughout the day, rather than letting things pile up.  Some people think they have to do housework in wholes:  clean the entire refrigerator, scrub both sides of the sink, wipe off all the counters, etc.  However, not everyone finds that an acceptable and easy thing to do.

The truth is that whether you are bursting with energy, whether you are 18 or 80, whether you have a chronic illness or not, whether you would just rather do something else -- it is easier and quicker to spend short amounts of time working on the kitchen.  It frees you to do other things you need to do or you want to do.  Whether you have a very messy kitchen or it is not bad at all, this is an excellent time to concentrate on this area.  If you have family coming for the holidays, it may be just the thing to get a kind of rhythm  going in your life, where it just seems like the norm to spend 10 or 15 minutes cleaning up the kitchen  several times a day.

Join me for the Kitchen Challenge during the month of November.  I think you may actually be surprised at how easy tidying your kitchen can be.  And remember, baby steps will get you there.  Perfectionism is not an option.  Let it go.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

15 Minutes: A Short Amount of Time

Today, I read this on on FlyLady's flight plan:

Today I want you to spend 15 minutes getting rid of anything that does not belong in your living room. Things that have gotten thrown in a corner, on a chair, or even the floor. If you have children get them involved. Make it a family game with the timer. If you do not have any kids set the timer for yourself! You should only declutter for 15 minutes, and when the timer goes off sit down and breathe.

Then, I thought, "What a short amount of time fifteen minutes is."  Of course, I suppose that is relative to how you feel or what that fifteen minutes might contain;  but, it really is a small segment of a day in comparison to the rest of the things you do during a day.  

When I think about the time that passes so quickly when I am immersed in a reading a book, playing a game, reading email, or writing--15 minutes seems minuscule.  It makes me wonder why it is often hard to get started earlier in the day on household tasks.  Truthfully, it does seem that getting started earlier would be better, rather than doing a dozen other things first that are not going to make my surroundings more pleasant or more efficient.  15 minutes of housework spread through the day several times Each Day would make the process of keeping things tidy a walk in the park rather than a marathon.  

15 minutes of tidying, spread throughout my day, will leave me plenty of time to do the other things I want to do, as well as the things I must do.  Furthermore, I will avoid that overwhelmed feeling that happens when one is always playing "catch up."  

Take the first step.  Decide what needs to be done first.  Set my timer.  Get moving!!!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Do You Ever Fake It Til You Make It?

Image Courtesy of artur84
Today, I want to share an article, which I will list at the end of this page.  I think it sums up some of what we have to do when we are working on our habits and our attitudes.  I can think of many excellent ways to apply the information by Karen Koenig, therapist and author of Normal Eating.   Practice:  does it ever end?  Sometimes, I think not, as I learn and hopefully improve my own actions, thoughts, and feelings in life.

However, I have to admit I do have an aversion to being fake, so where do I draw the line?  I want to be authentic.  Is there a place you draw the line?

Let's explore that by listing some of the ways we might "fake it 'til we make it."  Perhaps you can add some ways you have done this in our discussion on facebook or here in our comments.

Ways I have or am working on faking it until I make it:

  • I am not totally sure this applies, because it is such an ongoing thing, and I honestly do keep working at this;  however, I am not completely there (wherever there is) yet.  It is the area of keeping down clutter in the house.  I have made such wonderful progress over the last five years in that area;  however, sometimes my house gets out of hand when I am working on a project or life takes over in unexpected ways.  Then, I have to regroup; and, I used to feel like I was starting all over again, but that has changed.  Now, I have all the habits and things I have learned and relearned whch fall back into place so much easier than before.  Moreover, I have made such great progress in getting rid of years of stuff that I think most people tend to save if they have room, which we do not have in this particular house.  I am not done yet, but I am closer.  And, it is actually fun when you realize that you are freer by being able to get rid of the detritus.
  • Emotions is a hot topic.  But, I have a body that gets that cortisol thing going when I get anxious and upset.  It starts a cycle that can get out of hand, because it hurts so much.  I hate that chemicals in our body have such power over our physical selves and our brains;  but, I am certain that is part of my genetic makeup.  And, it also is part of what makes me sensitive to how others feel.  The things that help me and have helped me in the past are: prayer, scripture, relaxation techiniques, running (I can't do that now), walking on the beach or in a park, reading, even playing a game (unless the computer is fueling my anxiety), doing a crossword puzzle, cleaning house.  Ha, ha, I never thought that last one would show up on my list, but if clutter is the source of the anxiety it makes me feel better to have neat and organized surroundings
My list is not exhaustive, because I only meant it as an example, and I am not so concerned with the past, so much as how this can help us now.  Although, I did think about one that applies that happened to me today.  My dog is super sensitive to my emotions.  She even gets diarrhea when I am upset.  I am pretty sure that is the connection to her tummy problem.  Today, I was dealing with something that has had my cortisol flowing like crazy streams.  My anxiety was palpable, like you could touch it.  And, I saw her cringe.  I realized she was feeling my upset.  So, "Fake It Until I Make It"  went into immediate action.  We have a game where I say, "Let's cuddle-buddle."  She jumps on the bed.  I lay across it, and she gets a tummy rub.  It started when I was not able to get down on the floor before my hip surgery when she was a puppy.  She is the only dog that has ever been allowed on the furniture or in the bed.  I realize I have totally spoiled her in that one way.  

The thing is the actions I took with our dog actually helped me feel better.  Now, I am writing and I feel pretty good.  Admittedly, I took half of a pill for anxiety, but this time I had to.  I am so glad that panic attacks are not something that regularly happen to me anymore, but I do keep my medicine on hand for the rare moments.  Lately, I have cut them in half, because I so rarely need them, a whole tab makes me feel sleepy.  From my view, that is progress.  

I hope this helps you in some way.  I can see many ways to apply Koenig's excellent article.  I am so glad she reached out past her practice to help people.  She could not possibly see all the people she has encouraged.  Here is the link:  Fake It Til You Make It Equals Practice.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Link to a Great Article About "How Clutter Affects Your Brain."

I found this fantastic article on a subject near and dear to me.  It is perfect that I found it today, because October is my month to get back on track in several areas of my life. Moreover, I know that entails cleaning the clutter out of all areas of my life.  To do that is going to take more than a month:  it is really an ongoing process.  

The point is that I think better, do my daily work better, and I manage life better when I do not let clutter get the best of me.  I am dividing the following article into manageable sections and planning on seeing how I can best apply it to my life.  

Blessings!  I hope you enjoy reading How Clutter Affects Your Brain (and what you can do about it) by Mikael Cho.  And, I hope he does not mind me pointing you to his well-written article.  I loved knowing about how the brain is actually affected by clutter, which is no surprise to me.