One of the things I have learned over the last 30 years is that the environment a person is in is very important to their ability to deal with depression and depressive episodes.
Being in a messy, unkempt home, or a home in ill repair can help feed the depression. And let me tell you, depression is a greedy, greedy pig that will gobble up everything you can give it and a lot of things that you don’t.
Getting clean and organized can be the hardest possible thing when you are in the throes of a depressive episode. It’s one of the hardest things about recovery from depression.
Here’s a few things I found that helped me:
- Start small, on something that isn’t important to you or related to the cause of your grief and stress. For me, it was going cleaning, organizing and displaying my coffee cups. That’s right. Coffee cups. I pulled every single one of them out of the cupboard and hand washed them, to make sure they were clean. Then, I divided them into two groups: Ones I wanted to keep and ones I didn’t. If I was even remotely unsure, I kept it. In the end, I kept 42 out of 48 cups. The six I got rid of had chips or were from corporate parties. After I cleaned them and sorted them, I hung two long metal bars underneath the cabinet and hung my favorites on them with S-Hooks. The entire thing took a total of two hours and was easy to start, complete and do.
- Start a task with a specific goal in mind and don’t work on accomplishing any other goal except that goal. In the case of the coffee cups, it was a matter of getting them hung up on the wall. That was the end goal. Washing them and sorting them just helped soothe me as I went through the process.
- Don’t push yourself too hard. If you can’t throw away or give away 6 coffee cups because it gives you too much stress, then don’t. Separate them in the cabinet with the mindset that WHEN YOU ARE READY, you will give them away. Give yourself a clear deadline for it at the end of a task or on a specific date. Like, if you have to clean out the entire kitchen, when you are ready to donate everything in the kitchen that you aren’t using, you will donate those as well.
- Set one small task a day. Organize a drawer, or clean a shelf. Every day, even if you aren’t in the mood. Getting things done and doing them will improve your mood dramatically.