Today’s topic is one that I have strong feelings about. Not because I’m good at relaxing my mind when I need to. Rather, I am the complete opposite. The day before I was due to give birth this past August to my son, I cleaned until 4 am. The day before I was to have my kidney stone surgery, I cleaned until 3 am. I will literally move everything out of my closet just to redo everything again and will then do it again a few days later. I’m terrible at relaxing when it feels like there are a million things running through my mind. Have you ever had that feeling?
This post is about those of you – us – who just can’t seem to NOT do anything. You’re constantly bombarded with tasks to do instead of reading a book or taking a nap. It’s for all of us who feel obligated to pick up every toy, clean all the dishes, and scrub the bathroom until 10 pm before you finally decide to go to bed. You feel like a production machine.
Perhaps you can’t seem to shake off that feeling of not doing enough. For those of you who are moms, I understand this feeling. You feel the need to do your part. So you do it. And you make sure to do it well. After all, if you’re not producing results in the form of clean living rooms or tidied kitchens then you’re not giving your all right? Wrong! But the thought of giving yourself some quality me-time sounds selfish so you skip it.
Or maybe you can’t relax because you’re overcome by other people’s expectations. This can be your spouse’s expectations, your mother-in-law’s, or your friends’. I know this feeling too. It’s as if someone is judging my character based on how clean my home is. The first thing I do when guests come over is to apologize for my “messy” home even though I just spent the last two hours cleaning up.
So how do you try to relax when your mind won’t?
Sometimes the best thing to do when that urge to complete a task crawls into your thoughts is to ask for help. If the laundry is calling out to you, ask your partner or the kids if they can help you out. I ask (more like demand) my husband to help me clean up our home with me. I can finally relax and not think about it if we do it together and get the cleaning done.
It’s important that we realize what’s triggering our inability to relax. Journaling can be quite therapeutic and may even reveal to us what those triggers are. Again, it may be anything from having to fill the role of the caretaker or worrying about judgment from others. You may find that your inability to relax may stem from anxiety that only a professional can help you deal with.
Sometimes I don’t try to fight the feeling of having a million things running through my mind. I accept that it’s a part of who I am. If the urge to clean is THAT strong and it’s the only thing I can think about, then I do it. As silly as it may be, I try not to get mad at myself that I spent an entire day organizing my bedroom closet or that I broomed the floors twice in a two-hour period.
It’s hard to enjoy the little and simple things when you are constantly bombarded with the inability to relax. (Again, it doesn’t have to be the examples given above). It’s exhausting. I’ve spent many nights staying up until the sun rises because of this habit. Maybe this post should have been titled, “I have an undiagnosed cleaning condition so please help me.” Whatever the case, I know that it can get better for those of us with the inability to relax our minds. We just need to find our own method that allows us to cope and relax.