Covid-19 has changed our lives in unimaginable ways, imposing restrictions on our movement and changing the face of our work, education and home lives. It’s a time to adapt and it can be stressful. If you’re feeling stressed it may help to focus on what you can control.
Some things causing you stress right now might include:
- not having an environment conducive to work
- having family members at home, creating noise and mess or needing to be cared for
- the stuff overwhelming you and taking up space
- tasks that need to be done around the house
Research tells us that we experience stress in situations where we do not feel in control.
“feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of well-being.” Professor Cary Cooper, University of Lancaster.
What to do if you find yourself feeling stressed out at home
Don’t stress – use your zone of control!
The key to reducing your stress lies in focusing on what you can control.
Think of these three elements:
- Zone of control (blue) – the things going on here are within your control to change. For instance you can control what you say and do
- Zone of influence (white) – you can influence the elements within this area but you cannot personally control what happens here. E.g. you could ask someone to help you to tidy up a room, but you can’t control them
- Zone of concern (green) – you cannot control or influence what happens within this area. e.g. the weather. You can’t control or influence the weather.
You can reduce your stress levels by focusing your energy on the things that you can personally control – the elements within your Zone of Control. For example, you can make sustainable purchases, recycle and reduce your energy consumption to lower your impact on the environment. You might go further and change to renewable energy sources, choose to walk more often rather than use your car and so on.
Taking action with the things you can control feels so empowering. It will make you feel productive, energised and more positive about your situation. And you never know, the positive effects will may even rub off on others in your home.
How can we use this mindset at home?
If you are frustrated with the state of your home, you could try taking action on the things that are within your control, such as:
- organise your work area to create a space you can comfortably work in. Clear surfaces around you, arrange the things you need in drawers or storage boxes nearby
- organise your paperwork and manage it regularly so that it doesn’t pile up
- plan household tasks and set weekly ‘light load’ diary reminder to ensure that you keep on top of washing
- helping your child practice tidying and giving away toys they no longer use (important skills for the future!)
- create zones with accessible storage so that things can be tidied away easily when finished with
- declutter and organise areas of the home that you can control (such as your side of the bedroom). Often when we get organised this rubs off on others as they notice the benefits of our efforts
If you feel like you have not time to tackle your things, think again. You are in control of your time. You may have to make some tough decisions and get clear on your priorities, but you have the power to control how you spend your time, so ensure you spend your time on the things that are important to you.
So the next time you’re feeling stressed…
As yourself – where can you take control?
And remember … let go of the things that you can’t control! (Yes it takes practice but it’s worth it!) ;o)
Would you like help getting organised?
Laura Williams is a Professional Organiser and Declutterer based in Nottingham, UK. She provides guidance, ideas and practical support to help declutter possessions and organise homes and routines. Laura works with clients who want to make changes, to create calm, ordered space and free up time and money to focus on the important things in life. She works via video call or in-person, runs online workshops and delivers talks for groups.
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