Sunday, May 1, 2016

The mess in my mind


Anxiety Brain

Welcome to my world.   Anxiety is horrendous.  It manifests itself in so many different ways.  It's not always the pacing the floor, wringing your hands type of thing (although I have been known to do that whenever the disaster involves red Kool-aid, Sharpie pens or pointy objects), it's more like living under the constant threat that you are forgetting something, late for something, failing at something, under-qualified for something, and so on....

I don't know exactly how I got here, but I think it has something to do with attaining/giving birth to four children in very short order, followed by deciding that homeschooling was a fun and fabulous thing to do, followed by thoroughly sucking at most of what I put my hand too.  Also, being over-scheduled, out-manned and unprepared most likely played a role as well.

I used to be really good at handling stress and keeping my shit together.  I was a non-traditional student (read: OLD) working three jobs AND maintaining a 4.0 GPA.  I cranked out papers, paid the bills on time and found time to craft, garden, hike, learned how to build stuff (power tools!!) and took a trip every now and then. I was on it!!

What the hell happened?

I have been spending hours on Pinterest, working hard to find ways to pull me out of this endless loop.  After wasting the last couple of years of not doing much that was productive, there is a lot that has stacked up, waiting to be dealt with.  Literally...stacked.  If you walked through the door right now, you'd think you walked into an episode of Hoarders.   I've bought bins, made countless chore charts, shuffled around paper piles, bought self-help books, read blogs, spent time on Facebook, took long naps, ate loads of chocolate.... none of it solved the problem and got to the core of the matter that I was clearly over-whelmed and totally unmotivated to do anything about it.

Fly Lady?  (check)(got irritated with the constant sales pitch)
KonMari? (check)(I haven't moved beyond the first chapter.  Do you know how many clothing items 6 people own???  And what is it with all that folding business??  Clothing is not origami friendly)
GTD?  (check)(I am not that OCD)
Home Routines (check - and actually quite successful, when I remember to actually do it, and if there isn't anything more interesting to do, like surf the Internet, or nap)

So here is my latest attempt at reining in the chaos.  It of course involves lots of sticky notes.  Sticky notes are awesome.  It is visual.  If I can't see it, I don't think about it.  (the exception of course being the clothing, legos, wrappers, mail, dirty forks, spoons bowls and cups, dog hair and shoes that I see. every. damn. day.)

This chart is a mish-mash of Kanban and Alejandra (I so totally envy her colored binder collection) and it sits in full view of my desk.  When I am able to tear my eyes away from Facebook and actually look at it, I can see all the things that swirl around in my brain in a format that lets me know - "Here is what you deemed important enough to write down on a sticky note, so get your ass out of that chair and do something!!"  The list of goals I want to meet (above the sticky notes) addresses all the things that nudge at me and give me anxiety. Things like: I don't read enough to the kids...everybody gets to bed very late...the kids need to learn how to pick-up after knee is still very weak and in constant pain...I can't ever find the paper item I need without digging through 4 different stacks of paper, 90% of which is junk mail anyway...  You get the picture.  I copied the idea for this from an Alejandra TV video.  The sticky notes below are little steps I can take to get items checked off the list above, thus lessening my anxiety about not getting anything done.  I have spent the past couple years ground to a halt, totally stuck on which 'thing' to tackle first.  So I tackled none of it.  Now I have choices that I can act on, with minimal fuss or preparation, that will move a goal along to eventual completion.  I can drive to the store to get the paint that I need to finish the painting job that was started 18 months ago.  I can sit at the computer and pull together a reusable menu of family favorites.  I can assign kid w/parent cooking nights, which will teach them an important life skill.  I can create a standard shopping list tied to a week's particular menu, saving me tons of time.  I can get the kids in a routine by teaching one skill at a time: clearing dirty dishes, loading the dishwasher, putting away clean dishes, and wiping the table.  All of which they suck at except for Jordan, who can load a dishwasher like a boss.

Little steps are what I can handle at the present moment.  A single counter space.  A single goal (put away this basket of laundry).  A single errand, phone call or email that I have avoided.

Read this Interesting article about willpower as a muscle by


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