This is my brain on overwhelm.

The pile gets bigger and bigger until it seems daunting to start and impossible to finish.

And so I ignore it, telling myself I'll get to it when there's more time.

The time never comes and the pile only gets bigger.

And then I beat myself up for waiting too damn long to start.

Here's the shift.

1. Get clear. Dump the clothes on the floor and sort. Whites, darks, delicates.

2. Make a plan. What will you wash first? What can you realistically get done today?

3. Ask for help. Get your family to help you. You didn't sign up to work at a laundromat.

4. Take charge. Do it on your terms. Instead of standing over the washing machine, with your back aching, fold while you watch the Bachelor. A win/win.

5. Reframe. Rather than thinking, “Ugh! I have to do the laundry.” think “I’m choosing to do the laundry because it’s important to me that my family smells fresh and looks clean” Note: This doesn’t apply to me. I use unscented detergent that, according to my husband, leaves our clothes smelling like crap.

 6. Let it go. Does it really matter if your son wears slightly dirty underwear to school tomorrow? I mean how dirty could they possibly be?

But the real question looks more like this:


Is this ascending pile more than just a stack of dirty laundry?

Is it possible that there’s fear or avoidance attached to it?

Could it be that by not doing the laundry you’ve created a scenario where you get to say that there’s not enough time in the day for you to do what needs to be done? 

And by not washing your clothes you can stick with that story which is sometimes easier than doing something that might be new or uncomfortable.

In other words, by not washing your clothes you get to tell yourself that life is overwhelming and there's too damn much to do. Which can be a hell of a lot easier than getting focused, crossing shit off your list and moving forward into the unknown.

The next time you look at your hamper, ask yourself: Is it more than just dirty laundry?

And if it is more… turn off the spin cycle and make the shift.

And if it isn’t more...wash, rinse, repeat.  

Carly Hamilton-JonesComment