In a nutshell – after a major event, whether it be a birth, death or something traumatic in the news, decluttering loses priority. Here is how I stay focussed and look after myself.
It may seem like a very minor thing to want to get rid of some stuff when something big happens. In the wider picture it doesn’t really matter one jot which shoes you keep or chuck. Personally, I find that if I feel things have spiralled out of all control I need to practice a bit of self-care. It helps me to keep decluttering too, gently exerting the power I have over what little I can, brings my feet back to the ground.
I’m not a coach, nor a councillor. These strategies are based on what works for me and have been heavily influenced by the Procrastination Coach who’s advice about getting things done in a gentle, manageable way really work for me.
1) Talking to friends
Use social media, make a phone call or even send a postcard pretending you are on holiday at home. Connecting with people even just by being around them in small doses makes me feel like I’m part of the world. If you don’t feel up to talking, try just being around people. Go to a museum, a park, even a supermarket. If you feel totally friendless then the Samaritans are not just for suicidal people, you can talk to them about anything, 24 hours a day.
2) Finding something beautiful
I find hope on the inside of a flower, specifically at the moment, a foxglove and especially when a bee is mining it. There is beauty in clouds and trees, buildings and even cars if you look close enough. It requires a change of attitude to find it sometimes but just spending a few seconds admiring the aesthetic shifts my mood and makes me feel that more is possible. If the beauty extends to the funny too that makes it all the better. There is no shame in googling funny cute kitten videos on YouTube.
Stupidly, the first thing I stop doing in any crisis is breathe. This is clearly insane and I have spent chunks of my life with post-it notes saying ‘breathe’ all over the house. If you can find a way to remember to take a big lungful of air and draw it deep into your tummy every now and then your body will be more fortified against emotional attack.
4) Scale down your goals
If you are under a lot of stress your decisions may not be the best. You can reduce the potential damage by expecting less from yourself. Tone your decluttering goal down into just one thing a day, only get rid of stuff that is clearly rubbish and don’t get rid of anything valuable. Having a tiny achievable goal each day and actually doing it can make you feel loads better.
5) Avoid the news
You don’t need the gory details, it won’t help you or people concerned. Ignore newspapers, switch the channel when the news comes on and install a blocker like FB Purity so you don’t need it all over your Facebook newsfeed.
And remember, all this will pass.