Sunday, 13 March 2011

Take No Prisoners, Show No Mercy, Leave No Witnesses

I know everyone has their own ways of dealing with stress and troubling emotions.

Some people exercise.

Some people drink.

Some people knit.

Some people clean their weapons* or do maintenance on their car.

Some people turn on the TV.

For whatever reason, I clean.

When I get super stressed out, I roll up my sleeves and attack.

I guess it might be something about not wanting to think about whatever is making me sad/anxious/angry because whenever this mood grips me, I acquire an intense focus that allows me to power through tasks that I usually have to drag myself into doing and there is no room in my brain for anything else.

It's also good to know that even if I'm using the cleaning as a way to procrastinate or distract myself, I'm doing something practical.
There's a tangible real-world effect.
I've achieved something that improves my surroundings or situation in some concrete way.

If you did an undergraduate degree in psychology, you could probably also argue that being able to organise and control your external environment may help you to begin attempting to organise and control your life.
Or help you deal with the fact that you have absolutely no hope in hell of managing to organise or control your life, at least at this point.

Whatever the myriad of reasons, I find wading into a room fists first and cleaning the hell out of it incredibly satisfying and soothing.

There's a system.
There's a sequence.
And it's wonderfully physical so you can work off anything that's bothering you.

The Procedure
  1. Clear off all the flat surfaces.
  2. Clean them down.
  3. Throw away anything that you cleared off the flat surfaces which isn't needed any more.
  4. Use the flat surfaces to organise those things you've decided to keep.
  5. Empty out the cupboards or storage areas.
  6. Clean inside the cupboards or storage areas.
  7. Throw out the dross.
  8. Use the flat surfaces to organise those things you've decided to keep**.
  9. Clean off the things you've decided to keep, if necessary.
  10. Put all the things you're keeping back into the cupboards or storage areas in an orderly fashion.
  12. Make a list of anything you may need to replenish or replace now that you've gone through everything.
  13. Sweaty and dishevelled, stagger off for a cup of tea and a collapse before a hot shower and further collapsing, exhausted but content.

At the end of all that, I may have realised that whatever was bothering me wasn't so bad after all, or I might feel closer to being able to deal with it, or I acknowledge that whatever is bothering me is still a poop sandwich but I don't care for a while because check out this freaking spotless room and/or house!
And, honestly, some days that's good enough.

*Not with the intent of doing anything to themselves or others with said weapons, they just find the act of maintenance meditative.

**At this point you may need additional flat surfaces in the form of card tables or similar.

No comments: