Mental Check In: Why do long weekends feel so depressing?

Last week I was all glee-filled and tra la! at the idea of three long days off for Memorial Day weekend, one of which (today) is paid. Paid! I'm sitting here on the computer (well, not literally), eating a blue raspberry popsicle, and I am getting paid! I didn't even have to shower!

I did, but I didn't have to. There's a difference.

Now that it's here, though, it feels like one long, unrelenting Sunday. One reason for the gloom is since we're home with no plans all the chores we can't get to during the week are positively glowering at us. What excuse is there not to vacuum the family room when you don't have to get to work? N-O-N-E… And the laundry… And tidying… Ad nauseum. So, where's the relaxation, the potential for enjoying ourselves?

Exactly.

When I'm home I also notice how much junk we have (partly because I have to move it to vacuum), how cluttered the place is. Is this the only country on earth that has this problem? Because our lifestyle is generally comfortable we accumulate all this stuff. All these things we don't need or – in some cases – actually use. We have entire rooms we don't use, except to pile up clutter. And rooms like our living room we use once a year, at Christmas, to put up the tree and open presents. More stuff we have to find room to store. So, out with the old – donated to this or that association – and in with the new. More stuff we could have easily lived without. Stuff we didn't know we needed. Because we didn't.

I don't think home can be a comfortable haven when you're constantly stubbing your toe on something, washing twice the laundry you really need, and, on top of that, doing the cleaning and maintenance every home requires. Somewhere I read if you have to spend more then ten or fifteen minutes picking up clutter you have too many possessions. Think about it. That's true. Next time you clean house compare the amount of time you spend picking up to the time spent vacuuming, dusting, cleaning bathrooms, etc. The imbalance may be surprising.

The problem comes in convincing the kids of that, because aside from my books (ahem), the majority of the clutter comes from them. If they could ever get that concept imagine how much easier life would be! Cleaning house wouldn't be the all-consuming, overwhelming load on our shoulders it is now. Tidy up just a few things, clean for a couple hours, and voila! Then I could sit back and feel comfortable. Then being at home wouldn't be such a drag on my mood.

I dream of living in an Ikea catalog, of enjoying a minimalist environment. Of being so free of possessions things aren't falling out of closets onto my head. Is that so impossible?

I know hoarding clutter is both the cause and effect of depression. Freeing up the house, transforming it into a comfortable environment, frees up the spirit. When your house looms as an unfriendly entity you'd rather avoid that's a huge problem. It's supposed to be the place you kick back and relax, not the source of unrelenting anxiety.

A little ray of sunshine to lighten the mood, we have a pickup date set for a charitable organization to come collect our castoffs this week. Maybe I could just hit a closet or two, bag up some more things, and buoy my mood from raging depression to a small sense of accomplishment.

You know, I think I'll go do that. Right NOW. Then maybe I'll read, to reward myself. Sounds like a decent trade off to me.

4 thoughts on “Mental Check In: Why do long weekends feel so depressing?

  1. I feel the same way today! I am pacing around, not sure of what to do. I don’t want to just nap, but I don’t want to do any of the chores that have piled up, either. I think it’s the weather, because I felt fine yesterday.

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  2. I am so with you on this! I, too, live in the Ikea catalog, but these kids… They just keep bringing me back to the reality that we live in a cluttered dump. Sigh.

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  3. Liz – days like that just make me crazy! I hate that unsettled feeling. But I did go through a dresser and part of a closet and felt a bit better. Then I read a while and didn’t feel as guilty as if I’d done nothing all day!

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