Stress is the accumulation of clutter: the emotional and physical “stuff” that you are consciously or unconsciously hoarding. It’s this clutter that keeps you from living in the present moment. De-stressing calls for a major life de-cluttering, focused on de-cluttering your emotional mind, your working mind, and your physical space.
De-Clutter Your Mind
De-cluttering the mind begins by identifying what the clutter is and what a de-cluttered mind looks like for you.
First, itemise the clutter by asking yourself, “What’s on my mind that’s making me feel stressed?” Your list may come out something like a cross between a to-do list and a long complaint, and your reaction might be to stop. That’s completely normal – just keep writing and don’t censor anything. When you’re done, break your clutter list down into a “working space clutter” list, where all the to-do items live, and an “emotional space clutter” list for all the emotions you need to address. Once you’ve identified these things, you’ll be able to more effectively deal with them and work towards your perception of what an uncluttered mind looks like.
De-Clutter Your Space
In times of stress, the adage “cluttered space, cluttered mind” rings truer than ever. Take a look at your living and working environments. Are they the kind of places that would enable you to feel the way you want to feel?
Let’s face it: cleaning is difficult when you’re stressed. But when your house is messy, it’s hard to de-stress. Cleaning is essential for a de-stressed mind, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to move it to the top of your to-do list and add to your stress (remember: the aim is to de-clutter!) This might be a good time to seek out the help that is readily available from professional cleaners.
Take Time for You
Making time for yourself is important for de-cluttering your emotional space. Think about how you want to feel. Now, make the time to do things that will introduce a little of that feeling into your life. A walk, a bubble bath, a coffee date with a friend… try out anything that you think could contribute positive emotions to your life.
Use Clever Goal Setting
Get a calendar or diary and write in the due or completion date for each task you have. Now, think about how you can break these big tasks into little tasks. Work backwards from the due date, writing in goal dates for the smaller tasks. For instance, if your long-term goal is to submit a report for work by the end of the month, you might put “first draft” as your goal for the previous week and “collate data” for the week before that. Focusing on smaller goals, rather than the large ones that are more intimidating, will help you stay motivated and positive.
What steps do you take to remove clutter from your environment and from your mind? If you have any tips that might help other readers de-stress, please don’t hesitate to share them in the comments below.