“It is by putting one’s own house in order that one’s mind-set is changed”
I must have spent the first four or more CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) sessions I attended for generalised anxiety disorder, discussing the dire state of my house. Obsessed with the never-ending monotony of tidying away toys, emptying dishwashers, and loading washing pile after pile, only for the house to look in a worse state than I first started. I was never able to make any progress, and there was never a reward. No sense of satisfaction that lasted beyond a few minutes, before the tiny tyrants were un-doing all my hard work and the washing pile was back to Mount Everest scale proportions. To say it was soul destroying felt like the most major of understatements, and there days when there was just no end in sight.
After several months of therapy I now recognise the state of my house as being one of my main triggers when it comes to my anxiety or feeling out of control, and my biggest red flag as to when I need to take some time out.
But it’s just a few toys on the floor? Some loose change and old receipts piled up on the side or a collection of dirty shoes at the door? Right? Well yes and no.
Of course I needed a change of perspective. Number one, I have three small people at home who quite literally couldn’t give a monkeys that there is yoghurt on the walls or that mummy has picked up the pens and the paper for the fifth time that day. They just want to have fun, and rightly so. They are just kids after all, and I would hate to think their little lives had been peppered with mummy’s daily outbursts because milk had been spilt on the sofa…again.
Number two, I’m pretty certain that on my death bed I’m not going to wish I had made time to clean out the fridge that summer back in 2019, or that I somehow magically found a way to make the kids keep the toys “in the bloody play room!” As far as I’m aware, the world hasn’t stopped turning because the dried washing remained on the sofa for a week, or the kids’ happiness hindered because I hadn’t found time to put away the winter coats.
However, I truly believe that when the stars align and the house feels clean and tidy (be still my beating heart) I really do feel happier and my mind feels clearer. I feel calmer and more organised, and much more productive and ready to face the day. And I don’t think I’m the only one (am I?) What do they say; a cluttered house equals a cluttered mind?
As I’m learning, with most things in life, there has to be a balance. When it comes to nap time, and you have one blissful hour to yourself, do you reload the dishwasher or relax with a good book (or an episode of Made in Chelsea?) #MiC every time! The dishwasher can wait and that hour has to be about you and whatever allows you to refill your cup.
But can we learn a few simple systems to help reduce stress, or dedicate a couple of hours to de-cluttering that will pay dividends in the long-term? Not to try and create a show home (it’s never going to happen), but to help improve our mental wellbeing and mind set? Hell yes!
This is why I am super excited to be working with Organisational Guru and all round lovely lady Sheila Azouji-Benjamin, founder of Tidy Me Please, who will be co-hosting my next Calm Mamas Brunch Club on Monday 24thJune at the yummy Salway Cookhouse. Tickets cost just £25 each and include a delicious brunch and hot drink or juice, the workshop with Tidy Me Please, an exclusive Calm Mamas Club goody bag, and a 10% donation to the PANDAS Foundation UK – who provide crucial support to parents who are suffering from pre and post natal mental illness.
To purchase your ticket simply visit www.calmmamasclub.co.uk and while you’re there, why not sign up to our newsletter to be the first to find out about Calm Mamas Club events, offers and discounts.