When In Doubt, Clean

Sometimes, like today, I lack the energy or mood to get anything of consequence done. It might be one of those helpless days when you feel despair for whatever reason: guilt from over-indulgence of any kind, anxiety from time wasted or feeling unproductive, etc.

The first thing I do — and am doing now — is remind myself that I’ve felt this way many times before, and every single one of these times, eventually, was followed by times of excitement, energy, productivity, and happiness. Therefore, it is natural to have down moments, so don’t get sucked into the fear that this is your lot in life. This too shall pass.

The second thing I might do is will myself to the gym to exercise, knowing that this is an immediate and guaranteed mood-booster. However, since I worked out yesterday and like to have at least one rest day, I’m skipping over this step right now.

Instead, I’m doing the third thing I normally do, which is to clean my apartment. Unless it’s one of those deep cleans you might give your bathroom or kitchen every once in awhile to restore them to a shiny condition, the surface-level cleaning I’m talking about requires very little enthusiasm and energy on my part. I can still feel despair and aimlessness while doing laundry, folding clothes, making my bed, washing dishes, putting conspicuous clutter back in its place.

And once all this is done, my mood may very well not be lifted at all. But at least I’ve now gotten something done. And when I wake up the following morning to a brand new day with new possibilities, at least now the less useful part of me of the previous day has gifted this new butterfly with a clean slate from which to operate.