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The International Women’s Day 2019 campaign theme of #BalanceforBetter is a call-to-action for driving gender balance across the world.
I’m honored to be a guest speaker for a company that recognizes equality and doesn’t see barriers for moving forward. As I prepare for my presentation, I wanted to pass along to you some information that I will be sharing with my audience.
My intention is for it to move you to great accomplishments in your life that fills your heart and those of others.
“We all have hunger for a meaningful life. How do you tap into that hunger? You ask, ‘What Breaks My Heart?’ Because it is in those moments, those moments of our brokenness, we realize that it is not the past, it is not the challenges in front of us. Once we realize that, we have the power to find the solution inside. We start to hear the stirring in our own heart pointing us to something greater than who we are. And we find the answer to that Great Hunger. But we must be INTENTIONAL. “
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Every August, without fail, I sit down to write my “winter prep list,” in which I check off areas of my home that need organizing and decluttering. Usually by November, my old coats have been donated, the floors have been scrubbed, and everything feels as if it’s in its proper place.
One of my first lines of defense in the battle against mental health challenges has always been to get organized. I’m preparing for those tough days when I won’t be able to lift a mop, let alone put a plate in the dishwasher.
It turns out my thinking is rooted in scientific studies that show organization is an effective tool to achieve a healthier life, both mentally and physically.
One study found that the physical act of tidying up one’s house can make a person more active and healthier overall.
Many professional organizers sing the praises of improving one’s mental health through organizing, including Patricia Diesel, an organizing expert, clutter coach, and the creator of a program called Mindful Tools for Organized Living.
As a certified chronic disorganization specialist and a hoarding specialist, Diesel has witnessed the power of organization in people’s lives.
“Addressing the emotional and mental components of clutter is critical to the underlying cause. I believe that clutter is an outward manifestation that mirrors the body and mind on overwhelm,” she explains.
5 small ways to organize for your mental health
If you’re in the throes of depression or healing from a panic attack, the thought of cleaning can certainly be overwhelming. But I also know clutter tends to make me descend even further into a negative mood. So, I’ve discovered my own ways to tackle organization without letting it tackle me.
Here are five ways to muddle through the clutter, even on your most challenging mental health days.
1. Throw perfection out the window
Even when I’ve been at my lowest, I’d often put pressure on myself to make things look “perfect.”
I’ve since learned perfection and mental health conditions tend to be in direct opposition of one another. The healthier route is to accept that my house may not look flawless during the winter months. If things are generally organized, I can accept the wayward dust bunny that may cross my path.
Diesel agrees with this approach as well.
“Organizing is not about perfection,” she says. “It’s about a quality of life standard. Everyone’s standards are different. As long as the organized environment is in alignment with those standards and it is not infringing upon a quality of life that is obstructing or detrimental to that person’s life, then usually a person will find acceptance and peace from that.”
Let go of your idea of “perfect,” and instead aim for a level of organization that doesn’t hurt your quality of life.
2. Break everything down into bite-sized pieces
Since overwhelm is a big deal to those who wrestle with mental health disorders, like anxiety, Diesel recommends breaking up an organization project into palatable pieces.
“I help people look at the overall project that needs to get done… then we break it down into different categories. Then we rate the priority of each category, and begin with the level that reduces the anxiety the most,” she explains.
“The goal is to have the person see the entire project, and then help them see how to accomplish it in a manageable way.”
Diesel recommends devoting 15 to 20 minutes per day to doing things that need to get done, like doing a load of laundry or sorting the mail.
Often, a little effort can reinvigorate the mind and build momentum toward increasing a feeling of motivation. But that’s not always the case if you’re living with a mental health issue. Be kind to yourself if you miss a day or are only able to commit to 10 minutes.
3. Let go of items that don’t serve you
Physical clutter often creates clutter in the mind, especially if that clutter has taken over your life and space. Diesel helps those with hoarding disorders, sharing tips that can benefit non-hoarders as well.
“It’s not so much about getting organized as it is about how to release and part with their things without shame or guilt. Once this is accomplished, the organizing is usually not an issue,” she says.
Diesel emphasizes the importance of considering what makes an item truly “valuable” as opposed to something you think might be valuable based on fear or other emotions.
4. Remove distractions
Being highly sensitive means I have a sensory disorder that can become overloaded very quickly. Loud noises, an abundance of clutter, and a to-do list in plain sight can instantly break my focus and pull me away from whatever project I’m working on.
When I’m getting organized, I make my surroundings as soothing as possible through peace and quiet. I set aside a block of time when I know I won’t be pulled away.
5. Visualize the end result
Out of all my mental health challenges, seasonal depression is the one that wrings me dry of any motivation to clean or get organized. Diesel says that’s because depression can create a mindset that feels defeated. In this case, it’s key to emphasize the final goal.
“I help people see the vision of the end result, and we use additional tools to help that vision come alive, whether it’s with a vision board or through journaling. The overall goal is to help them feel empowered,” she says.
And if all else fails, remember that you can always ask for help if you need it.
“People who suffer with disorganization is the body and mind on overwhelm, so having a support system and mindfulness tools to go to is extremely important for stability. Support is paramount,” Diesel says.
Shelby Deering is a lifestyle writer based in Madison, Wisconsin, with a master’s degree in journalism. She specializes in writing about wellness and for the past 13 years has contributed to national outlets including Prevention, Runner’s World, Well+Good, and more. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her meditating, searching for new organic beauty products, or exploring local trails with her husband and corgi, Ginger.
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What do you do when it feels as though everything is crashing down on you?
How do you RECOVER?
If you or someone you care about has decided changes are desperately needed in order to lead a better life – congratulations because that awareness is a big step.
The next step is to ask yourself: “What are the changes I need to make and how do I go about doing it?”
This is what Life Recovery is all about.
There are a countless number of events that can impact a life and knock even the strongest individual into a sense of desperation and hopelessness. Some examples are:
Divorce/Ending of a Relationship
We are all human and there will be times when we will hurt. That is when we realize just how fragile we are. Because we are delicate, a person may not cope with a life changing event very well. The frustrating part is when a person recognizes that they are captured by an unforgiving cycle of behavior and do not know how to get out of it.
Life Recovery is about thriving again. It’s about seeing things from a different perspective and thinking outside the box. And it’s about HOPE! The belief that life can and will be different.
Where there is hope, there is usually inspiration. And that inspiration can lead to a vision – greater clarity if you will. And this can motivate us to take action which can change everything and birth new beginnings.
I also believe that sharing is caring. So I would like to share with you all the all the things that I have learned and how I was able to move forward and make decisions that have created a deeper understanding in my life.
Won’t you join me for this very special Tel-Class on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 7:00 PM ET.
Although my Mom was never big on having “one-on-one” conversations with me, she somehow always managed to share her unspoken thoughts with me in other ways.
I recently came across a clipping that my Mother gave me many years ago from the columnist “Dear Abby.”
I am eternally grateful that even to this day… I can still hear her…just when I need her the most.
It goes like this:
“There are two days in every week that we should not worry about, two days that should be kept free from fear and apprehension.
One is yesterday, with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed, forever beyond our control.
All the money in the world cannot bring back yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed. Nor can we erase a single word we’ve said – yesterday is gone!
The other day we shouldn’t worry about is tomorrow, with it’s impossible adversaries, its burden, its hopeful promise and poor performance. Tomorrow is beyond our control.
Tomorrow’s sun will rise either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds – but it will rise. And until it does, we have no stake in tomorrow, for it is yet unborn.
This leaves only one day – today. Any person can fight the battle of just one day. It is only when we add the burdens of yesterday and tomorrow that we break down.
It is not the experience of today that drive people mad – it is the remorse of bitterness for something which happened yesterday and the dread of what tomorrow may bring.
Let us therefore, live one day at a time!”
(Amen Mom – Amen.)
https://patriciadiesel.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Logo_New-1.png00Patricia Dieselhttps://patriciadiesel.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Logo_New-1.pngPatricia Diesel2013-05-06 17:29:062013-05-06 17:29:06Worry About Today Only
Coping with the loss of anything significant in our life can be challenging. It can be difficult to release memorabilia that connects you to a significant person, event or part of your life that was important to you. I try to help and support my clients find balance in memorializing that something or someone (with the proper respect) without having it overcome their life.
The following letter is from a client:
When I attended one of your workshops last winter, you gave me an exercise to do that included choosing some items that would pay tribute to my mother who had recently passed on. I actually made my little shrine by displaying some of her “things.”
Today, I sat among her things and wrote up all my Christmas cards. It was the first time since she died in 1999 that I have been able to get myself to sit down and do all my cards. You see, we used to enjoy this task of writing out our cards together.
Every year I have felt badly about not getting the Christmas cards out. I just wanted to thank you for the role you played in conquering my aversion to doing this happy task without Mom. I dropped off the cards this morning at the post office and it felt just great!
What about you? Is there a task you used to enjoy, but find yourself holding back due to losing a loved one? Do you find yourself holding on to “things” because of the memories?
Although building a shrine typically is meant to honor the deceased, it also can serve as a way to acknowledge loss.
For example, Judith Kolberg explains in “Conquering Chronic Disorganization” how she worked with a retired teacher who had difficulty letting go of memorabilia that represented his teaching years. Unfortunately after years and years of saving his “stuff,” this created an insurmountable amount of clutter and prevented him from making room for anything else in his life.
So, just like my client, Nancy, they too built a shrine, only his was to memorialize his teaching career.
A shrine may take form by selecting a small table or any place you feel fit to place artifacts that represent and pay tribute to your cause. Remember, selecting items that best represent the memories that you hold near and dear to your heart enables you to release the things that stand in your way of moving on.
https://patriciadiesel.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Logo_New-1.png00Patricia Dieselhttps://patriciadiesel.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Logo_New-1.pngPatricia Diesel2012-12-24 09:24:432012-12-24 09:24:43Paying Tribute to Memories Can Help Us Move On
I am looking forward to this class and touching base with all of you again.
It’s a very exciting time here at Keep It Simple Now and I can’t wait to share it with YOU!
Remember, if you cannot attend “live” that is okay. Just register and you will receive the download link for your listening pleasure.
Thank you for your participation – we shall be chatting soon!
Always my best,
https://patriciadiesel.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Logo_New-1.png00Patricia Dieselhttps://patriciadiesel.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Logo_New-1.pngPatricia Diesel2012-09-05 07:28:382012-09-05 07:28:38The Process of Simplifying Your Life - Tuesday's Tel-Class - September 11, 2012
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