Your messy room.
Yes, you read it. Your messy room is one of the reasons why you are in the commonly felt 2020 rut.
That rut where you find it difficult to get out of bed, have clarity and direction on what you should be doing that day and has you feeling tired and exhausted at the end of the day.
2020 has been a rough year for me (and for so many others).
It started off well! I was checking off those 2020 resolutions like it was my job.
And the Covid happened.
And then the rut started to happen. My motivation to get up early and exercise started to decrease. The excitement to work on projects of mine also started to decrease. It all seemed bland. Un-noteworthy.
And then here's the kicker: I turned 30.
Now, if there's nothing that won't spark an existential crisis, it would be living in a city that you don't enjoy, not earning money in doing something that brings you fulfillment, having all your goals and plans kibashed by COVID.
So on July 17th, after having self-diagnosed myself as "being in a rut", I do as one does, I googled "How to get out of a rut".
Endless suggestions popped up and I started feeling overwhelemed. It's hard enough to pick one thing to do. How do I know which one will work?
And then I read an article about the connection between clean living spaces and mental health.
Thirty couples were studied by the University of California on their stress hormones.
The couples who described their house as messy were found to have an increased level of cortisol which is the hormone that responds to stress!
I looked around my room which had clothes strewn all over the floor, half empty boxes that had been there for months and random shelving things that I just dumped more objects on looked back at me.
Hmmm... I thought. Maybe this can be the start. The start of getting out of a rut.
Cleaning my room.
Could it be that easy? Organizing and cleaning my room could help me feel more focused. Have more clarity?
I uncovered a study that was done in 2011 by Princeton where they found that clutter could make it actually more difficult to focus on a particular task.
Maybe this could help provide some calm grounding in my brain that otherwise runs 1000 miles per minute. My brain that has a difficult time deciding which task to do and which things to focus on. Maybe this could be the salve to my brain that felt that I had little to no stability in my life at the moment.
So I woke up the next morning determined to turn my bedroom into an organized oasis. Someplace that helped me feel grounded and calm. Previously, I would have thought it ridiculous to spend time creating a space for me because hello, I can operate in chaos.
But here's the thing that I discovered.
There's a certain threshold that we can handle chaos for and operate normally. That point is different for people.
Although I have a high tolerance for chaos and didn't think it affected my thinking and focus, clearly I had reached beyond that threshold even for myself.
So I spent the day organizing my clothes.
And at the end of the day, the hamster wheel inside of my brain seemed to take a pause.
I felt like I had made visible progress. Somewhere in my life. Even though it was a seemingly small activity, it was a visible progress that made me feel like I was less stuck in a rut.
So, here's to a surprising piece of advice for getting out of your rut.
Go clean and organize your room!