My Version of Stress Relief: Environmental Domination
When under stress or consternation, it is not unusual for me to stop doing whatever it is I’m supposed to be doing, and start cleaning things.
If the kids have been especially difficult, I may suddenly find it necessary to color-organize my shoes.
If I’ve been…discussing…things with Gabe, I may suddenly feel the need to clean out the vegetable drawer in the fridge.
And once, when I had a particularly difficult…discussion…with my mother in law, a friend found me wiping down the sinks in a public restroom.
Usually I don’t realize what I’m doing until someone gives me the hairy eyeball. I’ll be packing for a trip, but start to feel anxious about it, and then find myself reorganizing my sock drawer. Gabe is so gentle (most of the time)- “Um, do you think that organizing your socks is really the most important thing to be doing right now, honey?” Uh…I guess not.
It’s weird, I know. But I realized that, really, I’m just trying to be in control of something. Anything. I can’t make the kids be orderly, but I can make my closet. As a teen, and during the peak period of my mother’s illness, I struggled with anorexia. Everything was so out of control, I had to control something and that was something I could control. Through God’s grace and my sweet Gabe, who loved me out of that need and self-loathing, I left all that behind. Now, I just clean. It’s sort of…environmental anorexia. Which sounds horrific. I just want to have something be orderly, even if nothing else is!
I was on my own with the boys tonight. The evening went well, until about 7:30pm when things began to run amok. So I decided to vacuum. ‘Cause that’s really the priority right at bedtime!
The kinds may be unruly, but at least the carpet’s clean.
You can probably tell the state of my mind by the state of my house. The messier it, the happier I am. Until the mess makes me stressed and then the whole cycle starts all over again. I know. I’m weird.
How do YOU handle stress and consternation?
Anyone have a weirder habit than mine?