Dear Home Ec 101,
I have a condition called schizoaffective disorder (schizophrenia and bipolar). My life and my house are a mess. I don’t even know where to start. Is there a step-by-step online course I can take or anything like that? Any information would greatly be appreciated.
Before I comment any further, I have to be clear that your physician’s advice trumps anything I have to say. Always listen to your doctor over me. I’m just a random person on the Internet who gives out common-sense advice. Your physician knows you and your needs much better than I can from a single email. If you are not under the care of a physician, please, find one.
You are not alone.
There are lots of people out there who feel just as overwhelmed as you. Many of those overwhelmed people are perfectly “normal,” they haven’t been dealt a crap hand by life, and still they are overwhelmed. It happens to people with stable jobs and good marriages. It also happens to people who aren’t living “the easy life.” Either way, you have lots of company.
There is a program like what you’re looking for, and it is free. It’s run by a lady named Marla Cilley, but it’s definitely geared toward women. She gives a step-by-step, email-by-email-by-email approach to getting your home in order. Give FLYlady.net a look if you need that kind of guidance.
I think Marla gives sound advice, but I can’t tolerate the number of emails, and I’m not particularly touchy-feely. If that’s not for you either, continue reading.
You are not going to get it perfect, ever. No one does. Aim for good enough a majority of the time.
Start with getting your kitchen cleaned up and some food -any food- in your refrigerator. If you can have something to eat without a big hassle or without having to squash down disgust at the state of your kitchen, that’s a little bit of improvement you’ll see at least twice a day. I’m assuming you have a job outside of the home. If you’re like me and work from home, that’s an improvement you’ll see three times a day.
Please take a look at the yellow post-it note on my site. (If you’re reading in email, click the title to get to the post on the site) It is clickable and will take you to a weekly chore chart. You don’t have to do it perfectly the first week. It’s also going to take longer than it should that first week because you’re working through all the time you haven’t been keeping up your home. Even if you don’t see a lot of progress the first week, you’re making a difference. It will become much more apparent over time.
Here are 3 points to focus on over the next few days:
- Clean your kitchen and get food in your fridge/cupboards
- Make sure you have your clothes/uniform ready for work. Know where your keys are.
- Make sure your bills/accounts are in order. Ignoring them is not an option.
Those three things will cut down massively on the stress you feel, and everyone benefits from less stress in their lives. Providing yourself a semblance of order is empowering; this sense of control can carry over into many other aspects of your life.
If you like audiobooks, Audible has a free trial.
You just have to remember to cancel it (set a reminder). I recently listened to two that I found helpful. You are in my thoughts.
Keep in mind that I never buy into any self-help system fully. I listen and find relevant, helpful bits of advice and use those, leaving those that don’t fit behind.
Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org