Your home should be your safe place, where you feel most comfortable, but there’s probably a few things in your home right now that are giving you anxiety! What causes anxiety attacks? What does anxiety feel like? And what are the risk factors for anxiety disorders? Let’s find out!
I LOVE my little family, but damn they are a messy bunch. I used to have a clean, organized and tidy home. But then, kids happened! Real life is messy. My family brings me joy, but the mess sucks! And some days, it sucks the joy right out of me. The overwhelming thought of having to continually clean up, every day, just to do it all over again tomorrow is enough to trigger my anxiety most days. But there are ways to make any home a little happier.
A little anxiety is a part of life. It’s normal to worry occasionally and feel fear. But some people suffer from anxiety disorders that cause uncontrollable thoughts of extreme worry and irrational fear.
What Does An Anxiety Attack Feel Like?
I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but for me, it’s a heaviness in my chest that makes it difficult to take a deep breath. That’s usually the first sign things are about to hectic. My hands get all hot and sweaty, and my face turns a lovely shade of bright red. When I’m suffering from anxiety, I can’t think straight. My heart feels like it’s beating irregularly and unusually fast, and I feel panic and unease. That’s an anxiety attack. Sometimes, my anxiety just feels like I’m not able to settle and calm down and I get irritable, yet I’m often not able to pinpoint the cause of my anxiety. Could it be something in my home?
Anxiety is a feeling of intense nervousness and restlessness that you can’t calm down. Sometimes I know I’m being irrational, but there’s a real fear there as well… like what if I’m not overreacting? I obsess over my fears for a while, as my heart pounds and I feel overwhelmed. It can take hours to calm down, and days to recover from an anxiety attack. I’ll often have trouble sleeping that evening as the fearful thoughts try and creep back up.
What Triggers Anxiety?
This is a tricky one. The underlying cause of anxiety disorder and anxiety attacks is not fully understood, but there are some risk factors that increase your likelihood of experiencing anxiety. Source
- Traumatic Experiences. If you’ve suffered through abuse or experienced trauma, you’re more likely to develop an anxiety disorder.
- Illness. There’s a connection between poor health and excessive worry leading to anxiety.
- Personality. People with empathetic personality traits are more likely to experience anxiety. As well as people who are shy or introverted.
- Family History. If you have family members with anxiety disorders, you’re more likely to suffer from anxiety as well.
- Drinking And Drugs. There’s a connection between drug and alcohol abuse and increased anxiety.
Is Your Home Triggering Your Anxiety?
I know for a fact that some things around my home trigger my anxiety. My living room is now a playroom, filled with ponies, markers, school projects, dust, paperwork, and more dust. This makes me anxious!
Okay, does anyone else do this? I saved 9 diaper boxes full of old baby clothes for no real reason other than I couldn’t part with them. Ironically, I also couldn’t stand looking at them. I felt a mix of relief and panic once I finally got rid of 90 percent of it. What if I got rid of my fave dress or the shoes she first wore. I did save those things, but what if I missed something?
The never-effing-ending piles of laundry, bills, and dishes that need my attention every day is overwhelming and can trigger my anxiety even on a good day. And we can’t just get rid of it! But I have found a few ways to deal with everyday life a little easier:)
Clutter Is An Anxiety Trigger!
This is the number one thing you can do to improve your anxiety at home. It’s a proven fact that clutter causes anxiety. Source
“Clutter can play a significant role in how we feel about our homes, our workplaces, and ourselves. Messy homes and workspaces leave us feeling anxious, helpless, and overwhelmed. Yet, rarely is clutter recognized as a significant source of stress in our lives,” Psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter wrote in an article for Psychology Today. Source
Start small, just clean out a cupboard, your hall closet, or your dresser drawers and voila you’ve de-cluttered and made more storage room! The less stuff you have everywhere, the better you’ll feel. Seasonal purging is a great way to toss out a few bags of unwanted stuff. Try not to buy new things until you’ve gotten rid of a few old things.
Get Rid Of Your Past
This is a great way to de-clutter. Your ex-boyfriends’ old sweater may have been your fave back then, but it could be triggering your anxiety just sitting in your closet. Same with the old photos, mixed tapes, and mementos you’ve kept in a box in under your bed. I know it’s hard to get rid of them, but it’s also so freeing!
It’s okay to indulge a little, but keeping too much junk food around can trigger anxiety. It’s a reminder that you’ve eaten ‘bad’ and now you feel bad about it! So, if you’re gonna buy the cookies you better eat them all in one sitting so you don’t have to look at the box again…. kidding… kind of. Maybe, let’s just aim to buy one or two snack foods and the rest healthy choices so when yyou look in your kitchen you feel good about yourself.
Time Triggers Anxiety
Looking at the clock often triggers my anxiety just a bit. I feel a little more stressed out and rushed just looking at it. We all need to know the time, so we can’t get rid of the clocks all together, but you can trick yourself into gaining an extra 10 minutes! By setting all your clocks forward 10 minutes you won’t feel so rushed or fear that you’re going to be late. I know you, know it’s 10 minutes fast now, but it does provide some relief for me at least and I hope it will for you too. Also, take the clocks out of your bedroom. If you need an alarm, get a blacked-out one so if you have trouble sleeping or wake up in the night you won’t be stressed out at the time, calculating how many hours you could get if you fall asleep in 5 minutes. You don’t need that kind of pressure in the middle of the night.
If there’s a (legal) way to get rid of these, please let me know! In the meantime, I’ll pay mine (mostly) on time and then get rid of them or keep them all in one folder in the closet. Out of sight, out of mind!
I get it, you felt inspired after a little HGTV so you bought all the supplies and attempted to make picture frames out of wagon wheels but they didn’t turn out how you wanted so you gave up and left them sitting in your basement or worse- hanging on your wall. Or you ran out of money before you could complete your major bathroom reno. These will definitely trigger anxiety. If you can’t commit to finishing a project, no matter how big or small, don’t start. And don’t start another until you finish the first.
Social Media Anxiety Triggers
Social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook provoke unhealthy thoughts, like the need to compare, fear of missing out, and they can lead to addiction. Source. Don’t completely disconnect, just limit your time online.
If you work from home or (like me) often bring your work home with you, it can be causing you stress. Loose papers, to do lists and files scattered around your home can trigger anxiety. If you work from home at all, try and keep your work to one spot. Make that spot enjoyable with photos that make you smile, and bright, cheery colors and add in some cute stationery and you might just look forward to work (like me!). It takes a little time, effort and cash to create the perfect home workspace, but it’s worth the investment because you’ll be more productive.
Other Ways To Create A Mental Health Happy Home
Increase your natural lighting. Light increase your energy and productivity and instantly picks up your mood. Choose light paint colors, high ceilings, light floors, and sheer curtains. Use mirrors to bounce light around a room.
Bring In Nature
Add plants and flowers for an instant touch of bright color, cleaner air, and happiness. These plants are proven to increase your happiness. Open your windows when the weather allows. Get a fish! I put a fish and 3 plants in my home office and it feels so good!
Sniff Some Happiness!
De-stress using the power of scent!
“The part of the brain that processes odors is very close to the [part that houses] emotions and memories,” explains Pamela Dalton, Ph.D., M.P.H., a researcher at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. Source
So the next time anxiety strikes- Amber, of Savvy Mom Oils, recommends this special Stress Away Oil which boosts relaxation. You can use it in your diffuser or apply to your wrist or under the nose. Also, add it to your oils necklace or your bath!
Keep The Happiness Alive
Put up pictures and little reminders around your house of anything that brings you happiness. Add cheerful dish towels to your kitchen decor and use your favorite coffee cup.