Teachers in Transition

Teachers in Transition - Episode 32 - Clutter and Its Effect on Stress

October 31, 2019 Kitty Boitnott Season 1 Episode 32
Teachers in Transition
Teachers in Transition - Episode 32 - Clutter and Its Effect on Stress
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Teachers in Transition
Teachers in Transition - Episode 32 - Clutter and Its Effect on Stress
Oct 31, 2019 Season 1 Episode 32
Kitty Boitnott

Clutter isn't necessarily a sign of being busy. It's more a sign of being unorganized. It may also be a sign of procrastination. And frankly, it could be a sign of a lack of personal control.

More importantly than what clutter may be a sign of, however, are some of the problems that it can cause without your being aware of them. The truth is your clutter could be hurting you in ways you don't understand yet. Studies show that clutter is a problem that can manifest itself in your physical, mental, and financial health.

"Clutter and Its Potential Negative Effect on Your Life" is available at http://bit.ly/clutterandmentalhealth

 

Show Notes Transcript

Clutter isn't necessarily a sign of being busy. It's more a sign of being unorganized. It may also be a sign of procrastination. And frankly, it could be a sign of a lack of personal control.

More importantly than what clutter may be a sign of, however, are some of the problems that it can cause without your being aware of them. The truth is your clutter could be hurting you in ways you don't understand yet. Studies show that clutter is a problem that can manifest itself in your physical, mental, and financial health.

"Clutter and Its Potential Negative Effect on Your Life" is available at http://bit.ly/clutterandmentalhealth

 

Kitty Boitnott:

Are you a teacher who's feeling stressed out and overwhelmed? Do you worry that you're feeling symptoms of burnout or are you sure you've already gotten there? Have you started to dream of doing some other kind of job or perhaps pursuing a whole different career, but you don't know what else you're even qualified to do? You don't know how to start a job search. You just feel stuck. If that sounds like you, I promise you're not alone. My name is Kitty Boitnott. I'm a career transition and job search coach and I specialize in helping burnt out teachers just like you deal not only with the stress and overwhelm of your day-to-day job, but to consider what other careers might be out there waiting for you. Join me for "Teachers in Transition." In some episodes I'll be speaking to stress management techniques and how you can manage your stress on a day to day basis. In other episodes I'll be talking about career transition. What tools do you need to be successful in a job search when you're moving from one career into a totally different track? These are questions that you need answers to and I can help you find those answers. My name is Kitty Boitnott. Welcome to "Teachers in Transition." Welcome back to Episode 32 of "Teachers in Transition." My name is Kitty Boitnott, and thank you for being here and for listening. And if you're on the YouTube channel for watching today, I want to talk about a stress related topic that you may not always think of it as a stress related topic. And that is clutter. I have recently undertaken the job , uh , project , uh , effort to "Marie Kondo" my home. If you're not familiar with Marie Kondo, she is a young Japanese woman who's written a couple of books about the "joy of tidying up." And I had first heard of her a while back and knew only a little bit about her concept of ridding yourself, your home, your area, wherever you are, office of anything that doesn't bring you joy. And I was intrigued by the idea, but I never took the time to follow up or to actually look into what it is that she offered. And just recently because this time of year, fall is my time for whatever reason for wanting to reorganize and um , overhaul my living space. I did a major overhaul and fall cleaning a couple of years ago in October and I have been feeling the need to do some clearing out recently. And so I've bought her book and read most of it by now, still reading it. But I've got, I've got the gist of it and I also have watched a couple of the episodes from her Netflix special because she has a Netflix special that , um, highlights her work with individuals, families and um, an individual , uh , people who are in the midst of some sort of life transition that requires them to let go of stuff or to reorganize their stuff or just to figure out how to manage all their stuff. And I'm fascinated with it frankly. So this week in my newsletter and I will share the link to the newsletter in the show notes so that if you're interested in this topic, you can read my newsletter and , um, if you're interested in subscribing, let me know. I'd be happy to share with you. I write a newsletter , um , in addition to the occasional blog post and this podcast and YouTube channel. I do a weekly newsletter for all of the individuals who are on my email list and I talk in the newsletter I talk about a variety of different topics. I try to be inspirational and motivational and educational and in this week's newsletter, the topic, it says the subject is "Clutter and Its Potential Negative Effect on Your Life." And the reason I want to share it in the podcast episode today is that clutter can affect your stress level and I don't know that we're always aware of that because when we're in a stressed state, we tend not to be aware or mindful or thoughtful or intentional because in the stress state we're simply in survival mode. When we are stressed, our brain takes over the amygdala. That little almond shaped part of our brain. That's the reptilian part of the brain the part that that's in charge of your survival. Also the part that helps to regulate your breathing and your heartbeat, heart rate and all that other stuff. But when you are in a stressed state, your amygdala is in overdrive and it is pumping extra adrenaline into your bloodstream to help you to cope with whatever stuff is going on in your life, to cause you to be stressed. And so when we're in that heightened state of fear, because stress is usually the reaction to some fear of some sort, real or imagined, we are not as mindful as we would otherwise be about the things that may be contributing to our stress. So the point is that our , the way we manage our belongings, the way we manage our household , the way we manage our day-to-day life can impact our stress level. In my book, stress stretched or just plain overwhelmed. And I'll include a link to that in the show notes as well because it's free. You're welcome to have it if you'd like. I cover the seven specific things that you can do each day to help make yourself more resilient and to help you manage your stress more proactively. In effect, I don't cover straight up clutter in that book because clutter is sort of a extra uh , environmental issue that I believe does impact your , uh, your level of stress at the end of the day. And I, I covered just a little bit about how the potential for a negative effect on your mental health and your life in general, not just your mental health, your physical and emotional health, even your financial health can be negatively impacted by clutter. And in the newsletter, I use an example of a friend of mine. I love her dearly. She's a best friend for years, years, years ago. I haven't seen her for awhile , but when I visit her, when I last visited her, I was reminded that when she , when we come in from out taking an outing somewhere that maybe shopping or just being out somewhere, the dumping ground for everything that we bring in from the, from the car is the dining table. And so the dining room table is covered with books, magazines, old mail, pocketbooks, grocery bags. Bags from the Target or Walmart or wherever it is that we've been shopping. And it never gets cleared away. I mean, very rarely does it ever get cleared away. And so we don't eat at the dining room table. We eat on TV trays in the living room and in the living room and the corners, there are stacks and stacks and stacks of magazines, old magazines from probably years of collection. Many of them, most of them probably not ever having even been open , but sat there with the intention of reading them later. But truthfully, I don't think they ever get red and they never get turned out. Even if they're red certain then it wouldn't be that late of staff if they were ever being discarded. And as a result of all that and then clothes are lying around. I mean it's just a , it's a cluttered area. And she's comfortable with that and that's fine. That's her work space. And I know she's busy and I wouldn't ever begin to debate her lifestyle. But what I know for me is that when I come home from a visit with her, I feel this need to tidy up my own space to throw out all the old mail that's accumulated on my counter or to clear off all the stuff that's pled up any anywhere and I , I tend to be a pile in my office if you are in the local around my office right now, which is in the midst of my major, we even see piles of books, piles of papers, files, piles of stuff. I'm in the midst of getting rid of a lot of stuff like that, but the point of all that is that the clutter, whether she's aware of it or not, that clutter can have a negative effect. And the financial negative effect is if you don't pay attention to the bills as they come in, you can miss one and then suddenly you get a light notice and now you have to pay a late fee. That's happened probably to everybody. I know it's happened to me on the rare occasion. It's happened to people all the time and it can, that can be avoided because if you pay attention and deal with the mail as it comes in, then you don't let things drop through the cracks. It's only when you're not paying attention, you're not being mindful when you're not aware that the mail that's done through your house needs to be attended with that that things can fall through the cracks. So that's a financial impact and people who don't bother to keep up with their bank statements or credit card statements or other kinds of financial statements, they can run into some subtle at some point. I had a friend a while back that felt overwhelmed with that she had allowed back payments on her house to accumulate and she was fearful of losing her phone and come to find out there had been more payments made than she had given herself credit for. Once she found out that the bank they got it straightened out and she, she had been making some payments that she had forgotten about or had she had been, she'd been unaware that they were actually as caught up as they were. She was really creating a lot of stress for herself, by not being aware and not being willing to ask for help. So things can pile up, things can add up and at the end of the day it can create anxiety. And anxiety is a sign of stress. So how do you get a handle on it when, when clutter becomes a problem instead of just the occasional stuff that needs to be cleared out? We've all seen this show Hoarders, right? And I'm not suggesting that people who have a lot of clutter in their head and are hoarders , but hoarders don't set out to become hoarding. Nobody sets out to do that. Hoarding is a mental disorder. It's compulsive. People can't help themselves. They cannot throw anything out. They're fearful that they will need it for some reason why either and as a result of not ever throwing anything away, it just piles up over and over through that. For one thing, if you're, if you tend to keep a really messy house, your anxiety level is always kind of high. If you're worried about somebody dropping by and seeing your mess, you are too tired or too overwhelmed or too whatever, too ill to to clean up to tidy up to put things away. But you're also embarrassed at the idea that if somebody dropped in on you yet they would, they would see the message you live in. So that creates anxiety and it could create , the anxiety can also be created just by the presence of the clutter itself. It's been said that a cluttered environment is the sign of a cluttered mind, but I would also posture that a cluttered mind is created environment. So it's a chicken and egg, which which comes first, butter or the clutter ordered mine and they go hand in hand actually. So another symptom of clutter is that an unwillingness to let things go that maybe hold onto the past, especially things that remind you of maybe the happier time in your life or time that you have fond memories of. And I'm not suggesting that you should throw out sentimental items because we all like those to trigger happy memories. In , in my cleaning up the other day, I ran across pictures of some dogs that I used to have, but I had lost track of the pictures and I was happy to find them and I want to hold on to them because I loved as little dogs. I have two dogs now, but these two dogs were previous to that and they gave me a lot of joy and seeing the pictures of them when they were younger and happier and healthier than when they were when they died at their old age at made me see those pictures . So I'm not suggesting that you get rid of all the vestiges of your past. But at the same time there's no need to be hanging onto things compulsively either because you can't let things go. So back to Marie Kondo for just a minute. She suggests that you organize your home by going through categories rather than room by room. Her method for cleaning and tidying up is to go through everything by category . She starts with clothes first and then books and then papers, and then she calls the rest "kimono." Miscellaneous items. I haven't adopted that methodology too to the greatest degree . I have been through all of my clothes and I've made four trips so far to the GoodWill and if I were to make one more sweet through everything, I could probably make a couple of work trips, but we're going to be, I'm going to call the clothes done for that. So the next thing I need to do our books and that's what's what's up , piled up everywhere around my office. I'm getting ready to go through all of the books and the next thing that will have to go all the papers and I've held on onto notebooks of papers that I haven't looked at for five years since I started this business. But I've held onto them thinking that I might need them later or yes , what I haven't needed them, so it's time for them to go. So I've got a lot of work to do for myself to clear the clutter, but I know that once I get it all clear using her methodology, I will have it cleared for good. It won't begin to creep back in because I'm going to be using her method of only hanging onto those things that give me joy. At the end of the day, the antidote to stress is joy. Think about that. If you can replace feelings of stress and anxiety with feelings of gratitude and joy, isn't that a wonderful feeling ? That's my goal. And I would encourage you to consider, look at your environment, take it in as a whole or if you had unexpected company in the next five minutes, would you be proud of the place that you're living in right now? Would you be okay with them seeing your home in the state that it's in right now? You didn't know they were coming so you didn't throw everything in the closet to get it out of the way before they got here. Would you be okay without things [inaudible]? Now if you are, clutter or not, if you're comfortable with it, go for it. Cause I'm not suggesting that you take on anything that you're not comfortable with but if you feel a twinge or wouldn't like that, if somebody dropped in her , want them to see that I've left something out on the counter or that clothes are still laid out from the, from the last laundry laundry then maybe you want to take a look at is that stuff causing you on unnecessary stress? And if it is would taking on some method of clearing out stuff in cleaning up, tied to to quote Marine "tidy up" would that help to alleviate some of your stress and I'm fat . Let's considered if it works better for them. That's it for this week. Thank you for listening. If you have questions or comments, please reach out to me at KittyBoitnott@gmail.com. Please leave a review of the podcast and let me know what you think. Also subscribe to the "Teachers in Transition" YouTube journey as well and whether you are watching or listening. Thank you so much for being here and let me know if be more than am . It's a question of like the youth then . Bye bye. So there you have it, an episode of "Teachers in Transition." I hope you enjoyed the information and I hope you'll plan to come back. Please subscribe to "Teachers in Transition" so that you can be alerted of future episodes. And let me know if you have any questions or topics that you would like me to specifically cover in a future episode. I'm more than happy to help with individual questions as well. So email me at KittyBoitnott@BoitnottCoaching.com. If you are interested in finding a new career or just enjoying your life more, this is the place to start. Hi, I'm Kitty Boitnott and this is "Teachers in Transition."