Do you feel a sense of failure when your home gets messy and you don’t have the energy to clean? Do you feel like a better person when your space is tidy? In this episode, Whitney examines shame, stigma, and judgment around care tasks. She references How to Keep House While Drowning by KC Davis and how she’s applying the lessons to her own life. Whitney dives deep into subjects such as laziness, personal and moral failure surrounding cleanliness, shame, and perfectionism, to name a few. Whitney discusses care tasks through the lens of neurodivergence. She shares insights on how emotional energy, sensory discomfort, executive dysfunction, and several other factors impact how we upkeep ourselves, our homes, and our lives, and the subsequent perceptions we have around it. You will want to take advantage of the many valuable takeaways from today’s episode, so tune in to learn and understand more.
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Keeping Up A Functional Home
Ebbs and Flows of Life
I am feeling good. It’s so interesting because, in the last episode, I was talking about how I wasn’t feeling very good. I mentioned that I wasn’t entirely sure why I was feeling that way. Mostly, the time that I was not feeling good was the day after Thanksgiving. I was dealing with overstimulation, feeling overwhelmed and tired, and also the fluctuations in my body as a woman. This episode is hopefully a nice little pivot from that and a reminder about the fluctuations that we take regardless of gender, biology, and all of that but how life ebbs and flows so much.
In the wellness world, there’s a lot of misrepresentation, I suppose. Not in full acknowledgment of the fact that as human beings, we shift a lot in our moods and how we are feeling physically. Our overall well-being is not stable. It’s because one thing that went well doesn’t mean that it’s going to be stable and consistent, and you are going to feel good because you reached a certain milestone. I grew up thinking that that’s what life was like, “If I did this, then I would get that. If I reached this point, then I would feel this way.” The older I get, the more I realize that’s not true.
It’s hard to escape from that sometimes. A lot of my past was showing that I still believed that. In my past content, especially with Eco-Vegan Gal, sometimes, I felt a bit cringy. I feel maybe a little bit embarrassed, in hindsight, about some of the messaging that I pushed and how it felt very formulaic. I believe those things to be true. You could only speak on what you believe. Isn’t that a great lesson, too? It’s because we believe something doesn’t mean it is the reality. That has been a very humbling experience.
Something that I have leaned away from is assuming that because something works for me, it means that it’s going to work for you or someone else. We have to take into consideration so many factors. That comes up in the book that I’m going to reference. I read that somewhere. I’m going to dive into some things from this wonderful book, How to Keep House While Drowning: A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing.
I referenced this in the last episode, too. It was one of the quotes that I highlighted. It could have also come from another book I’m reading called Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times. Sometimes, it is hard for me to keep track of which quotes come from which books because I am reading so many at a time.
There is a quote from Wintering that feels relevant. The author, Katherine, said, “We are in the habit of imagining our lives to be linear, a long march from birth to death in which we mass our powers, only to surrender them again, all the while slowly losing our youthful beauty. This is a brutal untruth. Life meanders like a path through the woods. We have seasons when we flourish and when the leaves fall from us, revealing our bare bones. Given time, they grow again.” It’s so beautiful. That wasn’t the quote I was looking for. There was another piece in one of the books about how our circumstances, in general, are different for different people.
I might not come across that quote among the quotes that I’m going to share with you but I want to acknowledge it because I’m going to share some things that have been working for me. I’m going to share some positive elements and the momentum that I’ve built in a few days and how far I’ve come. It hasn’t even been a full week since I did my last recording. This episode is being recorded a few days after the previous one that was out. I can see this enormous shift. There’s a part of me that’s thinking, “I’ve got it. I’ve come out of my funk. I’m good,” but I also have the realization that I will be back in a funk again. I will have another low period.
That self-awareness of noticing how I’m fluctuating helps me from feeling shameful. That was something I touched upon last time. It was how there’s so much shame in resting, rejuvenating, and taking a break. There’s shame in not feeling our best. As a society, we tend to emphasize feeling good. It feels like we are striving for that. We want to feel good. I don’t think anyone strives to feel bad but maybe they do. I can’t assume. That’s part of the lesson of not assuming what other people want.
Biologically, human beings and most animals, if not all, anything living is, seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. We want to go after the pleasure and feeling good. We want to go after all of that as much as possible and run away from the pain and the bad feelings and try to prevent it. To have shame in the feeling bad as well as to have that pride and that ego in feeling good can be detrimental too. I want to acknowledge it.To have shame in feeling bad as well as to have that pride and that ego in feeling good can be detrimental too. Click To Tweet
Regardless, some people do like to hear what works well for others. I’m going to share with you some things that have come together in my life and the ripple effect that it has had. These are minimal things. The biggest shift that I went through was the day after my last episode. The day I’m recording this is Tuesday. I recorded the previous episode this past Saturday. On Sunday, the day after that recording, I decided to do some tidying. I decided that I was feeling frustrated with the state of my home. Yet, it felt incredibly overwhelming to start. I remember thinking I had the whole day free. I had zero plans and no work pressure.
It had been the holiday a few days prior, so it felt like an extended time. I felt like because of the holiday, the resting I did on Friday during my lull, and the recovery from that lull on Saturday. By Sunday, I was out of that funk. I felt the space schedule-wise, mood-wise, and time-wise to do something but there was also this pressure to do something with that space.
I gave myself the opportunity to not do anything even though I intended it and wanted to do it. I thought if I can remove the pressure to do it in any particular way or even do it at all, that might be helpful. At some point, I thought, “Let me start something.” My first step was to go into my bathroom, which I wanted to address. I go to the bathroom multiple times a day, whether to brush my teeth, wash parts of my body, do my hair or use the toilet. Also, my dog, a lot of her stuff, is situated in there. She likes to hang out in there for one reason or another.
I’m in that bathroom a lot and didn’t enjoy being there. I felt shame around it. That’s going to come up in this book, addressing the shame. I thought, “If I can do one little thing here, that will feel enough.” I don’t remember exactly where it began. Maybe I cleaned out the sink. I keep a sponge by that sink for the sink. I sprayed it with some cleaner and wiped it down. I then unclogged the drain that’s been clogged up for a while and annoying me. Those two things felt good. I started tidying up the stuff around the sink and then some things around the floor.
I had to move some things from that sink into another space. I went into this office space that I’m in and put something away. While I was here, I thought, “What if I can do one thing in this space, too?” I was doing things. I was in the momentum. Suddenly, it started to feel good. My reward center and my brain started lighting up. I was like, “This feels good. Let’s do more.” It was this snowball effect that I felt many times. Maybe you can relate to this, too. Everything started to feel better, and the momentum started. The next thing I knew, in such a short amount of time, I had tidied up in a way that made me feel good. My office space, bathroom, and bedroom space felt better. It felt good.
I vacuumed the floor. I decided to even clean my walls because I have this wall cleaner that is holiday-scented. I’m into making everything feel good for the holidays. I was spraying that in the walls, cleaning it down, and making it smell good. I opened the windows. All of a sudden, the air started to feel better. It was amazing. This is no surprise. I’m sure you’ve experienced this, too.
Most people know what it feels like to make a few changes and how the whole energy shifts. I have that momentum where because I did some cleaning, it has become easier for me to add to it every day. I feel encouraged to do that because I’m still in the momentum days later. Since things are tidier, it’s easier to continue. The big realization with all this is a reminder for you and me.
Being Overwhelmed is NOT a Personal Failure
Even sharing things that work for us is a reminder for us to keep doing them. I acknowledge the fact that you can know something like this and still not want to do it. I only feel this type of energy to clean a few times a year. I know this about myself. If I can remove the shame from that and say, “I have trouble tidying and cleaning. This is hard for me, and that’s okay,” that’s something I want to get into with this book.
How to Keep House While Drowning is amazing. I have 70 highlighted quotes to share. I might not get to them all because that’s a lot. The book starts by saying, “Being overwhelmed is not a personal failure.” I referenced this in the last episode, too. It is okay if you are overwhelmed by tidying, cleaning your house, keeping up your house, and all of that.
It is okay if you are struggling with that because you are feeling tired, depressed, and overwhelmed. KC says, “These may seem like non-complex tasks but when you break down the amount of time, energy, skill, planning, and maintenance that go into care tasks, they no longer seem simple.” That’s so important, too. I know how to tidy and clean.
She references all these things as care tasks. It probably took me at least an hour to tidy up. I stopped paying attention because it felt so good. I didn’t have a schedule that day, so I wasn’t keeping time at all. It took at least an hour, which is a good chunk of time. Many of us feel like we don’t have enough time in the day, so an hour can feel like an immense amount of time to dedicate to a task. Energy is finite for many of us. My energy is constantly fluctuating.
There is skill involved, too. There’s so much gender in our language when it comes to things like cleaning. I’m referencing myself but let’s say some people, in general, have a knack for cleaning. Maybe they like it. Maybe they were taught by a parental figure. Maybe they took a class. Maybe they watched videos. There is skill involved. Cleaning the toilet feels complex to me sometimes. What brush do you use? What solution do you use? You are also determining whether it is the right ingredients that align with your values. How much money do you spend? Do you make your own? There is so much skill.
There is also the planning, too. I did plan, in my head at least, to clean that day. That took a lot. There is the maintenance too to keep all of this up. This is not a simple task. KC said, “You need energy and skill to plan, execute, and follow through on these steps every day, multiple times a day, and to deal with any barriers that come up. You must have the emotional energy to deal with the feeling of being overwhelmed.” That was the theme of the last episode. Overwhelming in itself can be so intense because there are layers of thought that go on top of it.
On Executive Functioning and Emotional Energy
When I was feeling like I wanted to clean but was too overwhelmed even to start, the first thing I needed to do was to have the emotional energy to deal with that feeling of being overwhelmed before I can do anything else. KC says, “You may also need the skills to multitask while working and dealing with the physical pain or watching over children if you have them. Even animals can be a lot to deal with when you are trying to clean. You must have the executive functioning to deal with sequentially ordering and prioritizing tasks.” This is huge for me. I struggle with executive functioning. I don’t know if the term canary in a coal mine applies to this but it was a clue to me that I am neurodivergent.
I suspected ADHD because when I heard the term executive functioning, I thought, “That sounds like me.” I want to get the official definition of executive functioning because I’m struggling even to describe it. It is in cognitive science and neuropsychology. It is a set of cognitive processes that are necessary for the cognitive control of behavior, which is a scientific term. Executive function includes key skills like attention and working memory. It impacts our learning and our work in everyday life.
Someone with executive functioning challenges, according to Psychology Today, will find it more difficult than others in their age group to remember information, plan and execute tasks, keep time, keep items and information organized, and maintain motivation. They may also struggle with emotional impulse or attentional control. I’m fairly good at planning but having the motivation to follow through with those plans can be hard to execute on them. They are very challenging.
Planning is good for me. Planning was one of those things that might have been a mask for me as I examined my neuro divergence. It was a coping mechanism. I became good at planning because I’m not always great at executing. Planning is as valid as executing because you can partner with people. If you have the opportunity to and you have a willing partner involved, you can get somebody to execute for you.Planning is just as valid as executing because you can partner with people. Click To Tweet
A lot of people, since we are talking about cleaning, hire a professional cleaning person to come into their homes and do that. You could also plan that out if you have that executive function or they can do both for you. That’s my dream. I would love to have some house cleaning support but that has money involved. That’s another element of all of this to keep in mind. The element of executive function is fascinating when it comes to all of this.
Going back to KC’s book, she said, “You must have the physical energy and time to complete these tasks and the mental health to engage in low dopamine errands or tasks for an extended time.” I talked about how my pleasure center was being activated but when I first started doing something like cleaning, that does feel like a low dopamine task because I’m dreading it. I’ve got all these mental barriers. I have to overcome that to get to the high dopamine experience. Sometimes, we are doing things that never give us a high level of dopamine. We have to have that physical energy, time, and mental health to engage in them. That’s such a wonderful point that KC makes.
You must have the emotional energy and ability to process any sensory discomfort. The senses are huge. Something I’m learning about neuro divergence is the smells involved. If your home smells bad, maybe that’s fine with you because you can’t deal with the other things. Dirty dishes can smell awful, so you have to have the emotional energy and ability to process them to clean them.
There are sounds involved with things. Maybe the vacuum is overstimulating, and you can’t handle it. There are also textures in cleaning. My hands get dry from various soaps, and that drives me crazy. I have to have the energy to be prepared for that discomfort and then moisturize. There are a lot of sensory discomforts when it comes to cleaning. This episode is not just about cleaning and tidying. You can apply this to anything. This book I’m referencing and my personal experiences are related to cleaning, tidying, organizing, and all of that but it’s not limited to that. That’s not the lesson here.
The Laziness Lie
KC also references laziness. As I talked about last time, a book, Laziness Does Not Exist. KC says in her book as well, “Do not think laziness exists. Do you know what does exist? Executive dysfunction, procrastination, feeling overwhelmed, perfectionism, trauma, a motivation, chronic pain, energy fatigue, depression, lack of skills, lack of support, and differing priorities.” That is one of those things that I was trying to bring up earlier where these are perfect examples of why we can’t apply the same formulaic approach to pleasure, success, and whatever.
The things that we are striving for we have to keep in mind that a lot of people are dealing with at least one of those things. I deal with many of them like I mentioned, executive dysfunction. I procrastinate. Procrastination seems like the result of some of these things. It’s not always separate. It’s coming because of them like feeling overwhelmed. I deal with perfectionism. I’ve gone through trauma. I have energy fatigue. Sometimes, I feel a lack of support. Sometimes, I have different priorities. There are a lot of factors that go into those times where I’m feeling shameful or where I’m remembering when I’m falling under that myth of the laziness lie that Devon Price talks about in their book too.
KC talks about how ADHD, autism, depression, traumatic brain injury, and bipolar and anxiety disorders are some of the conditions that affect executive function, making planning, time management, working memory, and organization more difficult. Tasks with multiple steps can become intimidating or boring. When barriers to functioning make completing care tasks difficult, a person can experience an immense amount of shame, “How can I be failing at something so simple?” they think to themselves. “The critical internal dialogue quickly forms a vicious cycle paralyzing the person even further.” I experienced this.
Many of these quotes that I’m reading are describing some of the experiences that I was mostly facing not long ago. Having made this shift is interesting to read through these because I can still identify with these struggles even though I’m not experiencing them. That’s key, too. We don’t have to, in the present moment, be experiencing pain, shame, overwhelm, etc. to understand and relate to them.
In the present moment, we could be vastly on the other side. I also always have this looming feeling that it’s around the corner again. That’s uncomfortable and frustrating. Sometimes, that feels helpful like, “Don’t get too comfortable in your state of mind.” I wouldn’t recommend thinking that way but I will admit to it. I struggle with a lot of these things that I’m listing out and sharing. Maybe that’s because I have bought into the laziness lie.
KC Davis says, “Being labeled as lazy cements the belief that struggling to complete these simple tasks is, at its core, a moral failure.” Maybe one of the reasons that I feel so good having tidied up my home and maintained some of that momentum is because I feel morally successful. That comes up in this book. There is so much in here.
KC talks about, “Looking for a role to fill that would finally make me feel worthy of kindness, love, and belonging. When I viewed getting my life together as a way for trying to atone for the sin of falling apart, I stayed stuck in a shame-fueled cycle of performance, perfectionism, and failure.” That’s something that I need to check myself on or want to check myself on. This feeling of having my life together, is that part of the perfectionism trap that I have been caught in so much? I don’t have the answer to that question yet.
On a different note, I am in a section of the book with quotes about tips that started to help me out and aided me. KC talks about finding your way of keeping a functional home, whatever functional means to you. This was huge when I was tidying up because I started with the things that felt most important. Cleaning my sink wasn’t getting in the way of function, on the surface level at least. That’s where I started because it was easy. Cleaning that part led me to clean the drain. The drain, which was clogged up, didn’t feel functional because every time I would run the water, the sink would fill up, and it would be harder to keep clean. I remembered KC Davis’ tips on function, and that helped.
The Perception Around “Function”
Further down in the book or upcoming chapters, KC talks about how a function is so important to label for ourselves. A lot of us feel like the way we are functioning is not quite in alignment with what other people think. All of this is a journey of care, not a journey of worthiness, because we are already worthy of love and belonging. That morality portion that I touched upon earlier concerns itself with the goodness or badness of your character and the rightness or wrongness of decisions. It is impossible for kindness or affirmations of others to penetrate your heart when you are thinking if you only knew.
What would it be like to replace the voice that says, “I should go clean my house now because it’s a disaster,” with, “It would be such a kindness to future me if I were to get up now and do blank? That task would allow me to experience comfort, convenience, and pleasure later.” That’s so good. That shift from, “I need to do this because it’s a disaster,” does feel like this moral judgment to, “It would be kind to my future self if I were to get up and do this.” I wasn’t following that mentality exactly when I started tidying but it was subtly there because I was thinking about how I felt uncomfortable in my bathroom. I wanted to feel more comfortable in my bathroom.
I did feel shame and embarrassment about the way my bathroom looked. If anyone were to walk in there, it was like, “Please don’t come in my bathroom.” That’s motivated me a ton. Before COVID, when more people would visit me at my home, that’s usually when I would do the most cleaning. When I don’t have people visiting, I tend not to clean that much. What if I made it more clean, tidy, and functional for myself only? That’s a complete shift in the mentality. I deserve as much cleanliness, tidiness, and organization as somebody else coming into my home but why do I prioritize their opinions? That’s because it’s that moral side of it.You deserve just as much cleanliness, tidiness, and organization as somebody else coming into your home. But why do you prioritize their opinions? Click To Tweet
KC says, “No one ever shamed themselves into better mental health.” That’s so key. It’s these emotional tools that we can develop to experience the world differently and not as a part of the shame. Here’s a line. Maybe this is the one I was looking for. “Many self-help gurus over-attribute their success to their own hard work without any regard to the physical, mental or economic privileges they hold.” That was the quote I was looking for. I see this so much in the health and wellness world. She says it right there. Even the word guru makes me feel uncomfortable.
There is an episode on the earlier side of this show talking about gurus. Ever since I recorded that, I avoided using that phrase because it feels so in the ego. It’s focused on success. I personally attribute that mentality to privilege. People don’t seem to recognize how much they have and how much success can be due to privileges beyond our control, which KC shares.
“Someone who is affected by serious mental illness or systemic oppression has a lot more standing in the way of a happy life than a simple attitude adjustment.” That was another one of those quotes that hit me because there’s a lot of emphasis on that attitude adjustment. For myself, what was standing in the way of me cleaning and feeling better? I don’t know. My mental health shifts all the time. Some of it does not feel within my control. I have a lot of privileges. I have a ton but I still struggle because there’s a lot that goes into this.
Systemic oppression is who am I to say “Do it.” I can’t even believe that those words used to come out of my mouth so much. I was ignorant. I didn’t understand systemic oppression. I still have a long way to go. I still have so much to learn about mental illness, mental health, and all of these factors. It was still a lot of judgment to peel back. As KC says, “Different people struggle differently. The solutions that work for them are highly dependent on not only their unique barriers but also their strengths, personality, and interests.”
“Many people doling out productivity advice focus on areas where they are naturally gifted. Those are areas where all they needed was a little push or a couple of tips to get themselves unstuck.” That’s exactly why I have been trying to acknowledge that in this episode. The neurodivergent stuff is interesting for me because I recognized a lot of obstacles that I’ve had to work through that I didn’t even realize were there until embracing the neuro divergence.
It’s because of neurodivergence that I have some gifts that other people don’t have or I learned them. I don’t know if being naturally gifted is quite right. Maybe the way my mind works is my natural gift. My mind can think about things from different perspectives that neurotypical or people that aren’t me think of. It’s hard to even identify with a natural gift because I’ve had so much privilege and compensation to do for neuro divergence. Peeling back all those layers is interesting.
Finding What Works
I’m immersed in well-being. That is something I focus on every single day as a coach and as a host. There are all these books I read. Part of my natural gift is loving research and learning in general. I have tools constantly. Sometimes, all I need is a little push. Sometimes, the tips are helpful for me. Sometimes, that helps me get unstuck. Other times, none of that stuff works for me.
With what I was experiencing the last time, no advice in the world could have gotten me to feel any better. I wasn’t feeling good mentally and emotionally. That’s why it’s important to devise something for ourselves that’s customized to our unique barriers, strengths, and interests but also recognize that some of that might not work, and there’s no shame in that.
KC says, “They are pro realism and pro accessibility.” We can do things like saying, “Today is about getting back to functioning.” Our brains need to see progress or they get discouraged. She gets into some tips. There are things like category cleaning. Maybe that’s what I was doing. I was giving my brain some quick finish lines to feel good about. It is focusing on functioning and recognizing that care tasks are morally neutral and the mess has no inherent meaning.
For example, dishes cannot make meaning. Only people can. Dishes don’t think. Dishes don’t judge. A pile of dishes in the sink does not mean that you are a failure. We can take these as opportunities to notice how we speak. That’s interesting, too. Maybe it is taking the time to clean and reflect on how you are feeling. If you are feeling the resistance like, “How am I speaking to myself through this resistance?” I personally am well aware of the shame I carry.A pile of dishes in the sink does not mean that you're a failure. Click To Tweet
Noticing those things is a step that self-awareness is big. KC says, “You can set up the best systems in the world, but they won’t change your life if you still hate yourself on days when you can’t keep up.” Maybe on those days, you can work on not hating yourself. As I learned in my well-being coaching training, maybe you are not willing to stop hating on yourself or feeling shame.
Maybe you are not there yet. Maybe you want to acknowledge that you are feeling that. That’s a huge part of all of this. It is recognizing that nothing is going to change if you are feeling that way, and maybe that’s okay. Some people are okay with never changing. That is their choice. KC says, “What you say to yourself when your house is clean fuels what you say to yourself when it’s dirty. If you are good when it’s clean, you must then be bad when it’s not.”
Her point being, “I’m a good person. I feel good because my house is clean.” That indicates that when your house is not clean, then you must be bad and not feel good. What if you can make it more neutral, and it’s not about being good or bad, or even feeling good or bad? An interesting realization I’m having as I’m sharing this, I started off this episode by saying, “Now I feel the opposite of what I did, and I’m on a higher peak. I had my highs and lows. The low was not long ago. I’m on a high, so it must be different.” What if I took this piece of advice from KC and looked at it through a different lens of being equal? I don’t know if that makes sense but what if it’s morally equal? What if there’s no moral at all? What if it is neutral?
I love this other quote, “Good enough is good enough sounds like settling for less. Good enough is perfect means having boundaries and reasonable expectations.” That means that whatever you do or wherever you are good enough is perfect. It’s not just good enough. It’s perfect. That’s an interesting perspective shift. The moral attachment to all that is such a huge key in her book. It’s a functional rather than a moral viewpoint of ourselves.
When we understand what matters to us in terms of safety, comfort, and happiness, we can begin to let go of others’ judgments of how our space must look. Since COVID, rarely has anyone come into my home. Why do I still clinging on to judgment of how my space must look? Maybe that’s trauma. Maybe it’s the fact that I grew up with a mother who placed a lot of moral judgment on how I looked, how my home looked, and how my bedroom looked.
Even when I visit my parents, which many kids go through, my mom is obsessed with cleanliness. Maybe that led me to feel rebellious. Clearly, it led to a lot of shame, stress, and overwhelm. There is so much there. Since that motherly figure is playing such a big role in safety, comfort, and happiness, it’s hard to understand what matters to me.
I will read this quote again. It says, “When we understand what matters to us in terms of safety, comfort, and happiness, we can begin to let go of others’ judgments of how our spaces must look.” We also could look at it the opposite way or the other way around. That is, I must let go of my mother’s judgments and not attach them to safety, comfort, and happiness. This is part of perfectionism. If I can let go of that and define my own safety, comfort, and happiness, then I’m not going to care about how other people think of what my space must look like, especially if they are not even here to begin with. Why do I feel that shame around my bathroom? It’s fascinating.
KC says, “All of a sudden, the task isn’t about measuring up but instead about caring for self.” That’s what happens when we shift. It’s not an external measurement of whether we are doing something right. There’s so much. I highlighted a lot. I didn’t even finish the book yet. I listened to the audiobook but often re-read quotes by reading the words in the Kindle version. I’m still learning. Sharing the words out loud is rich. I didn’t mean for this episode to be about cleaning. There are lessons here beyond that. I feel a lot of similar emotions when it comes to exercise. It was something I wanted to mention.
I have been on a bit of an exercise kick, momentum-wise. My favorite form of exercise within my home is virtual reality. I use an app called Supernatural in Meta Quest 2. It’s amazing. I rave about it to so many people but very few people that I know have a Meta Quest. They used to be called Oculus before Facebook owned it and then decided to call it Meta. That’s the nerdy background.
It’s on the other side of this room. I set up a little mat, put my VR headset on, and choose how much time I want to work out. I usually work out for 20 to 30 minutes maximum. I have my Apple watch on, and it tracks my steps and all of that. I enjoy that but my ultimate favorite is taking walks outside. It’s the neighborhood that I’m in. I don’t enjoy walking around that much. It’s annoying. The enjoyment or the dopamine of exercise is key for me. I have to overcome the barrier even to start. Part of the executive dysfunction is causing me to struggle because I have to plan something. If I’m going to take a walk, I have to plan my outfit. Sometimes putting on a different outfit to comfortably walk.
I have a lot of sensory preferences. This is common for neurodivergent. When I walk, I start by thinking, “What clothes are going to feel good as my body is moving?” I could go on and on about this. It is a little behind the scenes. There’s a lot about the tightness of the clothes. Also, outside in public, I want to wear clothes that I find flattering enough in case I run into somebody. In my head, the challenge of the clothes I’m going to wear can take so much emotional energy. That’s why I love virtual reality, even though I prefer to be outside. I could do my virtual reality outside but I prefer to be moving outside, in nature, and all that.
The program I use is a simulation of nature. It’s cool but it’s not the same. The benefit of that is I can wear whatever I want. I still want clothes that feel good. It is the sensory experience of how they fit on my body when I do certain moves. For instance, I wear this black shirt as I record this episode. I could not wear this shirt if I were exercising. The more I move in this shirt, the more uncomfortable I get. I have to have specific attire. All of those can be big barriers for people like the way my shoes fit, the way my body is feeling that day, and how much energy I have.
I like to meet the Apple watch activity minimums. On a lot of these devices, this is probably true for the Fitbit, and all other activity monitors out there. It will tell me how many calories I’ve burned and how many times I’ve stood up and done something that counts as exercise. I like to meet my minimums because I know how much exercise plays a major role in our health. Sometimes, looking at those measurements means nothing to me because I’m too drained. That’s the key. To function, I need to focus on taking care of myself.
To tie it into the cleaning side of it, I can think of my future self and see all the benefits of exercise. I understand that but sometimes, my present self has the priority and my present self’s needs. All of this ties as the title of the book says, “To keep house while drowning.” A lot of us feel like we are drowning in life. I would be willing to say most people feel that way. It seems prevalent. Through social media, it seems many people feel like they are drowning. It is different for each of us.
In general, I wouldn’t describe my life as I’m drowning but there are moments in which I do. There are days on which I do. This is not one of those days yet, but it could happen. I have this lingering fear or paranoia. I’m like, “When is it going to strike me again?” That’s frustrating. I try to make the most of the high-energy periods and the times when I feel like I can function better than others. I’m also working on keeping a neutral mindset and acknowledging but not letting that shame control me. That is the big key.Acknowledging, but not letting that shame control you is the big key. Click To Tweet
I can perhaps celebrate feeling good but what if celebrating it was counterproductive? If I celebrate feeling good, then the opposite of that would be punishing myself for feeling bad. That’s a fascinating shift. It’s something to ponder. That’s not necessarily the answer but it has me thinking about it differently. I’m looking at it on the spectrum and not so black and white. That’s where I’m at.
It was not where I started when this episode began. Certainly, there is a lot to ponder. I hope that you got some value from that, too. Thank you so much, as always, for tuning in. I’m going to do some self-care tasks. I have been working like a bunch. I’m going to have a cup of coffee. I’m going to lay in bed, watch TikToks, and see what the rest of the day holds for me.
I will be back next time with another episode. I say this every time but I mean it so much. That’s why it’s repetitive. I do not repeat things because it’s convenient. I repeat things because they are true. I’m looking at the list of people. There are some people that I haven’t recorded with that I can’t wait for. There’s this one particular person who I met through TikTok. That’s your little clue. It’s coming out soon. If you want to find out who it is, I encourage you to subscribe unless you are reading this episode way in the future, in which case you have a lot of guesswork to do.
With this guest, I feel there’s so much happiness. That’s why I invited them to the show. They have interesting perspectives to share. We are going to nerd out a lot. There are some people that I don’t know yet but I can’t wait to get to know them. It is such a joy. I’ve told you that almost every time that unless I’m insanely excited about a guest, I struggle energetically to gear up for an episode. I dread it. I see it on my schedule and I’m like, “No.”
Even doing this episode, I felt bad. Granted, this is the second episode I’ve recorded. It takes a lot out of me. That’s why I’m going to go lay in bed to recover. I usually dread recording this episode but once I start doing it, it feels good. It is like everything I’ve talked about in this episode. I dread pretty much anything that feels like effort and work. That is the reality of it for me. A lot of people feel that way. That’s why burnout is so prevalent. Do we feel that way because we are burnt out or do we feel burnt out because we feel that way? That makes sense. That is something else for you to ponder. I will see you soon. I’m wishing you all the very best with your own journey. Bye.
- Episode – The Art of Not Trying to Force Things
- How to Keep House While Drowning: A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing
- Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times
- Psychology Today – Article
- Laziness Does Not Exist
- Episode – Cliché Advice: Are “Experts” and “Gurus” Faking It Until They Make It?
- Meta Quest 2
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