Monday, January 17, 2011

Immobilized by "Too Much".

Its been snowing here....
a lot.
"Too Much" in my opinion.

A couple days ago I started to get cranky.
Then I got REALLY cranky.
Then I noticed that I was becoming mentally numb.
I thought maybe I was getting depressed from the weather (which is very odd for me).
But I just couldn't concentrate on anything.
I felt like I was suffocating.
Then this morning, it reached a point where I couldn't think at all.
My mind felt completely frozen in the snow.

Then it occurred to me, I wasn't depressed,
I was stressed out.

Since I don't often feel stress, I googled it...
and I read something fascinating on

Psychologist Connie Lillas uses a driving analogy to describe the three most common ways people respond when they’re overwhelmed by stress:

Foot on the gas – An angry or agitated stress response. You’re heated, keyed up, overly emotional, and unable to sit still.
Foot on the brake – A withdrawn or depressed stress response. You shut down, space out, and show very little energy or emotion.
Foot on both – A tense and frozen stress response. You “freeze” under pressure and can’t do anything. You look paralyzed, but under the surface you’re extremely agitated.

I realized I am a "foot on both pedals" reaction kind of person.
That is exactly how I felt.

But I wanted to feel like myself again.
So, I thought "Some mindless labour might help....since I can't concentrate on any drawing right now. I'll clean and straighten up the house, (since I never got to it on the weekend)."

Over Christmas, with the massive purging and decluttering I did, the house has been really easy to keep clean and organized. Even all three of my children have been taking it upon themselves, without me asking, to clean their rooms. (And this NEVER used to happen). Their rooms used to be filled with so much crap and clutter, I couldn't get them to keep it clean. I would go in there and clean it REALLY good, a couple times a year but within a week or two it was back to being a mess.

THAT'S when it hit me!

Too Much of anything causes stress.

Too Much exercise puts stress on the body,
Too Much food puts stress on the digestive system,
Too Much clutter makes cleaning stressful,
Too Much responsibility is stressful for the mind
and then there is
Too much snow.

My kids apparently now have the right amount of possessions
that they each can handle in their personal space
and so "Too Much" no longer immobilizes them.

It must have been SO overwhelming for them to feel responsible for "Too Much" stuff. And since its very natural for kids to make a mess (just like I do at the studio), it would have been very defeating for them to figure out what to do with it all when it wasn't going to be an easy task to put it away. However, now that there is far less stuff and everything has a place to go away to, it takes no time at all to clean it up.
I also think that they understand intuitively how good they feel being
in control of their own space and lives, and that is why they take care of it.

Sometimes, we have "Too Much" of something, like snow, and there really isn't anything that we can do about it, except deal with the situation as best we can, while it is happening. However, there are many "Too much" situations in our lives that are COMPLETELY under our control....
"Too much" clutter, "Too much" work, "Too much" stuff to do, ....etc.

After I finished cleaning the house (which only takes an hour and a half, once a week now), I felt SO much better and I was finally ready to tackle the task of dealing with
too much snow.


nadia said...

wow cathy! I have been feeling out of sorts with the snow as well. I have been de-cluttering and ready to move for the last year and a half. finally the house will be up for sale and now to keep it "tidy" for showing. that is stressing me out! will people like it? did I look at people's furniture, pictures, sink when I was house hunting. so amusing how little things can stress us out. thanks for the reminder to de-clutter! I think I will de-clutter my mind of negative thoughts today. ciao!

Emily Anthony said...

GREAT post!!! Thank you Cathy!!!