I was on hour seven and word 842 of the last of that day's three papers, all due before midnight. It wasn't that I had procrastinated, but instead that I had been kept so busy throughout the week with work, other schoolwork, and family commitments that I had not had any time to get them done. This overwhelming anxiety about finishing on time, coupled with the slight buzzing of my brain, spent and slowly growing more and more unable to form coherent thoughts after seemingly endless hours of staring at a computer screen, caused me to be irritable, easily annoyed, and lashing out at people for asking me basic questions.
I needed a break.
As I walked into my room, the frustration I had been feeling all day incarnated itself in the form of me wrapping my long, curly hair into a messy bun, and getting to work. I pulled every piece of clothing out of my closet, sorted it by what I did or no longer wore or wanted, and hung it all back up by style; I rolled my rug up and threw it in the washing machine; vacuumed and Swiffered the floors; dusted the baseboards and my bookshelf; and moved around two dressers and vanities I had in different places beforehand.
As strange as it may sound, as I organized, sorted, and rearranged the environment of my everyday reality, the physical and emotional irritation and resentment I was feeling slowly melted away. Thinking back on it now, I get why the Chinese use Feng Sui to guide the planning of their physical environments to promote peace, harmony, and a unity with one's surroundings. For me, having a clean, organized space is better than any anti-anxiety medication or unhealthy habits some people use to release stress, and for you, it might be too.
In the hour and a half it took me to clean and organize what felt like my life, I rediscovered so many things I had forgotten about, too—clothes I never wore because I couldn't find or see them; pictures or birthday cards given to me over the past few holidays, filled with words of love and affirmation from those I love; and little tokens or reminders of memories from the best times of my life.
So next time you're feeling stressed, ask yourself, "Is the environment I'm living in now sparking joy and ease in my life, or increasing my stress and anxiety?" My grandma always said, "A cluttered life is a cluttered mind," and, like always, I'm pretty sure that she was right.
Oh, and I got that final paper submitted on time too.