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Week 1: Overwhelmed By a Messy Environment After a Bout of Depression?

August 23, 2013
Go! (Australian TV channel)

Go! (Australian TV channel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Let’s Clean House Together!

Finding motivation when you are so blue you can’t get out of bed makes us feel even lower. I find when I’m feeling blue for more then just a few days it becomes harder and harder to get up and get going. I tend to be a morning person.  I get most of my work done in the early hours where some people may find they are more productive at night.  I recently read a post from someone who likes to get their work done at night while everything is quiet and everyone is asleep.  I can understand that, I’ve had nights like that too but for me, morning is the best time for getting my unpleasant work done such as house cleaning and chores.

I also like to get my errands done in the afternoon when I’ve finished cleaning and organizing.  There’s nothing worse then spending a few hours running irritating errands and coming home to a trashed house and an icky fridge.  Unfortunately after weeks of depression, the house has become an overwhelming mess.  So where do we begin? It would take hours to get this house back in order and I physically cannot do it because I’m disabled and I can’t mental do it because it’s exhausting just looking at it!

I am a self proclaimed pack rat and I believe it is because I have lost everything in the past.  I tend to hoard and become attached to material items because I have worked so hard to get them.  My addiction took everything from me, I served time in jail and everything of value was gone when I got out.  So now is the time to get rid of anything I haven’t used in the last few months. I have kitchen things like the chopper do da thingy I”ve never used sitting on a shelf collecting dust.

So I am mentally preparing myself to tackle this project and setting realistic goals for myself.  Low-self esteem indicators are sometimes when we set ourselves up for failure by setting goals that are unreachable.  We then become depressed because we feel like a failure for not succeeding.  Attainable, realistic goals are our first step to improving our environment, making it more manageable and functioning.  I’ve always said that a warm inviting environment improves your mood, messy, disorganized space can cause us so much unnecessary distress.

We can do some easy simple tasks to reduce stress in our home. First, I mentioned running errands and coming home to unload groceries in a messy fridge. Spending five minutes cleaning out the fridge each week before you go grocery shopping eases the stress from running errands. I suffer from social anxiey and agoraphobia so I know how frustrating and fearful simple grocery shopping can be. Once you leave the store you can’t wait to get home, you walk through the door and kids are in front of the video games, the dog crapped on the floor because they were too involved in the TV to let her out and the sink is overflowing with dishes, the fridge reeks of rotten veggies.  It happens every week. So the first thing, run through the fridge real quick and assign jobs for the kids. I make them help with the grocery list, I have them take turns shopping with me and I also have the other one do the dishes while we’re gone. That way the kitchen is clean, the fridge is clean, they know they have to help unload groceries and the afternoon goes more smoothly.

As I said I am a morning person. I like to get things done in the morning but when I’ve been depressed for several months I barely have the energy to get out of bed. The first few days I designated to simple tasks and beginning a daily routine.  Writing calms me and makes me feel accomplished so no matter what I follow my grandmother’s rule of thumb and write for 15 minutes every morning.  Next I try not to think about it, I just do it. I have a really hard time getting motivated so I don’t stall by thinking about what I have to do, I just start. I spend about 20-30 minutes on one thing and I do it well. So maybe it is a box of paperwork that needs to be sorted and filed. Even if that is the only thing I do that day, it’s more then I’ve done the day before so I feel good about myself.  Each day I try to do a little bit more and I balance it out throughout the day.  30 minutes here, 30 minutes there.

Music really helps to motivate me too. I have speakers that I plug into my laptop and I turn up my happy music in the morning.  While the tunes are playing, I dance while I’m working and it makes the time go by so fast.  I don’t even realize I’ve been working for an hour. Time flys when you’re having fun so make it fun, listen to enjoyable upbeat music or if you can have a friend help you. Nothing used to motivate me more then when the cleaning lady came over (when I could afford a cleaning lady!). Knowing she was coming at 8am made me get ready before then, get my coffee in me, and when she got there I was ready to start. She did the cleaning, I did the organizing and we would talk, joke and laugh while we worked.

Set deadlines for yourself too. I have decided to have a coffee group once a week and a labor day block party. This deadline puts a little pressure on me to get my house in order before the big event. When I know company’s coming I get a move on and get things done quicker.

Be proud of yourself and reward yourself! I feel so good about myself when I finish getting things organized and functional. I’ve been updating my home and cleaning out things room by room now for about three weeks.  Even if I only work for 30 minutes its more than what I did when I was depressed and laying in bed all day. As you accomplish these little goals, you are releasing endorphines into your system and killing two birds with one stone, you’re moving around, getting some exercise, doing something productive, getting your home in order and beating depression! Now, get off the computer, don’t even think about it, turn on your tunes and spend 15 minutes organizing something, ready? GO!


From → Recovery

  1. I’ve been really down in the dumps for that past few weeks…couldn’t even find the energy to write. And that is just not me!

    I’ve gone on a diet and am now walking for 30 minutes a day. I can’t believe how much that has reduced the stress! I’m not out of the dark yet…but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    All your suggestions are spot on and I use housecleaning as a weapon…not when I’m blue but when I’m angry. Gets rid of a lot of the energy I would use to stay angry!

    Great post!


    • Wonderful! I think it’s so important to just get up and go! Forget the nonsense of writing out to do lists, thinking about what we have to do or reading a million self help books, we can naturally get our energy back by taking little baby steps each day. It dosen’t happen overnight but just a little walk each day and a few minutes of housework here and there makes so much of a difference on our mood, energy levels and self esteem! Have a wonderful day! Blessed Be )0(


  2. Maia permalink

    Excellent post. I rarely see posts about what to do in the aftermath of depression, addiction, etc.

    What has worked for me is FLY lady. I won’t post the link to her site, because I don’t know if I can, but seriously, you should google her. The most valuable thing that I’ve learned from her is the 15 minute rule. She believes that anybody can do anything for 15 minutes, and now I believe it too. I’ve accomplished so much in the past 3 months by simply setting my timer for 15 minutes.


    • That’s my rule of thumb as well. My grandmother lives by it. She has trained me that no matter what, I write every morning for 15 minutes and I use that when I’m feeling blue. I try to do a 15 minute walk, 15 minutes to do a quick pick up and dishes, etc. I take breaks throughout the day that lasted a lot longer then my 15 minutes of work but it changed everything for me and I have been more productive then ever these past few weeks!
      Thanks so much for the compliment and I will check her out! Blessed Be! )0(


  3. bipol-anon permalink

    I’m hoping to do this soon. After a year long low of bipolar depression my home is out of control with clutter, dishes, and junk mail. But I’m so afraid of failing and not finishing that I won’t start. The worst part, by far is that I’ve dragged my wife down with me. I hope this can help me get my home life back on track. 😭

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know its been some time since you posted this but I thought I’d give you some hope. I started a medication called Latuda, It’s for bipolar depression. It definitely helped me get out of bed and start putting my life back together.
      ~Love & Light ~ Amy


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