Why pandemic stress breeds clutter—and how to break the cycle Cluttered workspaces increase levels of stress and anxiety, which in turn make people more disorganized.

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Greetings readers, I would like to share this important article written by BY

 

THE MESS STARTED with typical office supplies—loose papers and pens. As the time she spent cooped up inside dragged on, Sarah Frances Hicks saw a whole new kind of clutter pile up on her desk. Hicks’ grandfather had died before the pandemic began, and she was sorting through his possessions to pass the time during lockdown. Not the type to start new projects before she finished old ones, Hicks quickly let that mission take over, filling her desk with a small ukulele-banjo, twirling batons, a violin case, old hymnals, and her grandfather’s laptop. Her productivity suffered.

“I can’t function with clutter,” says Hicks, a freelance writer in Orlando, Florida, who prefers working in coffee shops under normal circumstances. “I need everything in order to be able to focus on my work. Whenever I can see clutter, I can’t think of anything else until I deal with it.”

Hicks is far from alone in this feeling, which has only intensified as more people have had to live and work at home to avoid COVID-19. Since the early 20th century, and perhaps long before that, conventional wisdom has linked success with fastidiousness. “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” theologian John Wesley said in a 1778 sermon.

More recently, neuroscientists and psychologists have studied the effect of clutter on our cognition, emotion, mental health, behavior, decision-making skills, and more. Researchers have made connections between low quality work environments, such as loud offices with harsh lighting, and a reduction in work productivity and job satisfaction. Disorganized or cluttered workspaces, specifically, seem to increase levels of stress and anxiety.

Tidy images give many viewers a sense of calm.
But when clutter reigns supreme, it can trigger one’s fight-or-flight mode.

Neuroimaging has shown that some people’s brains react subconsciously to mere images of order and organization. Tidy images give many viewers a sense of calm. But when clutter reigns supreme, it can trigger one’s fight-or-flight mode. For many people, cortisol levels leap, and they become emotionally exhausted or burnt out more quickly. This heady emotional stew can even affect our relationships.

For others, mess is a mark of creativity.

Lawrence J. Peter, known as author of the “Peter Principle,” famously asked, “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?” The line is often misattributed to Albert Einstein, who indeed had a messy desk; so did other innovative thinkers, such as Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs. In a study from the University of Minnesota, students working in disorderly spaces came up with more creative ideas than their counterparts in clean areas.

Clearly, clutter causes more stress for some people than it does for others. And while the fix for folks who are perturbed—cleaning up messes—might seem easy to some, many people live in environments that they cannot change, so coping becomes a necessity.

Your divided attention

Sabine Kastner, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at Princeton University, started researching the science of attention in 2008. Curious how the human brain reacts to randomness and variation in our environments, Kastner created a study in which she showed images of street scenes to participants undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans, which show blood rushing to the active parts of the brain.

In multiple experiments spanning several years, Kastner asked subjects to focus on an item in the images, such as a person or a car. In every case, the frontal cortex, which plays a key role in cognitive control, working memory, attention, and emotional reactions, came alive on the fMRI screen. Participants’ brains were expending more energy trying to concentrate than on processing any one thing in the picture.

“Many of us aren’t good at processing clutter,” says Kastner. “It can become overwhelming and make our brains do more work to complete simple tasks.” The more conflicting stimuli we’re dealing with, the more our brain has to work to filter out what we need.

When you take away this strain on our brains from competing objects, focusing becomes much easier. In 2011, Kastner found that people who cleaned up their homes or workspaces were able to focus better, and their productivity increased. Other research teams have confirmed that decreasing visual distractions can reduce cognitive load and free up working memory.

Our environments influence more than just our attention. They can influence our hormones as well as our mood. Clutter can cause our bodies to release cortisol, the stress hormone associated with the fight-or-flight response. Long-term exposure to clutter can induce chronic stress, and clutter seems to stress out mothers even more, according to a 2009 study. Another study in 2010showed that wives stress over clutter far more than husbands. Regardless of gender, clutter seems to cause some people to procrastinate in response to stress.

Although schools might never be the same in our post-pandemic world, before COVID-19, smart teachers harnessed the power of neuroscience to declutter and create learning-focused spaces.

Jared Smith, a high school exceptional education English teacher in Tampa, Florida, understands that organized, comfortable classrooms make better learning environments than chaotic, messy ones. So, he made his classroom an inviting space, decorating the walls with art and replacing the traditional desks with moveable tables and rolling chairs. He emphasized cleanliness, open space, and flexible seating. After he made the changes, all of his students’ test scores went up, he says. But changing his classroom to psychologically benefit his students was about more than the numbers. He says he could tell by the way they acted in his classroom: his students felt welcome.

Many of Smith’s students were already facing learning challenges because of their exceptionalities. “They’re already going to be adapting more than any other student,” says Smith. “I had to give them ways to do that, to be in control of their own space and feel comfortable where they are, so everything can fade into the background, and they can focus on learning.”

If cleaning up is difficult, other solutions exist. Like many people weathering the pandemic at home, Hannah McLane, a neurologist and occupational medicine specialist in Philadelphia, is juggling childcare and her job. But unlike many people who are stressing over the pileup of pandemic clutter, McLane can turn to her neuroscience background for some perspective. She knows being at home comes with distractions, so she implements a strategy of mindfulness, and she recommends her clients do the same.

“As you’re sitting in a room and trying to work, your mind can easily jump to different things and tell you to do something else,” says McLane. “You see a dirty dish, and you just have to clean it. You see a dress on the floor, and you pick it up. This can lead you into a series of thoughts, stressing about what you need to do or actually doing it, even though you should be focusing on something else.”

When you notice you’re having cluttered thoughts, ask yourself if you’ve already thought that before. Do you really need to be thinking about that right now? Could you write it down instead?

HANNAH MCLANE, NEUROLOGIST AND OCCUPATIONAL MEDICINE SPECIALIST

If messiness is affecting your ability to work from home, try to declutter or reduce other distracting stimuli, including noise. If you can’t get rid of the mess, McLane advises cultivating a mindfulness practice, which can help you stop worrying about problems in your home and focus on your work.

“When you notice you’re having cluttered thoughts, ask yourself if you’ve already thought that before. Do you really need to be thinking about that right now? Could you write it down instead?” McLane says. “Mindfulness definitely helps you stop overthinking, understand the thought processes behind your procrastination, and overcome distraction.”

The people who are coping with working from home best might not even be the neatest people, but they are the ones who have trained themselves to avoid distractions, or at least, not to react to them. Our perceptions of our environment, in other words, have a greater impact on us than the environment itself.

For some people, clutter can even be stimulating. “It depends on what your brain can deal with,” says Kastner. “There is no one size fits all. Our abilities come in such a broad spectrum. There is so much diversity in what our brains can do.”

 

BY

Hope you have enjoyed the article as much as I did.

Make your own mask if you cannot afford to buy one.

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(Above Product Image taken from the Ladies Enrichment Club Shop on Redbubble).

Greetings Ladies,

I was busy working on my Ladies Enrichment Club Online Shop on Society6 and realized that there are many people out there that cannot afford to buy masks. During this time we all need to stay safe and healthy and need to use the resources we have and can afford.

Many people are walking around without masks (probably they have a health issue and not wearing a mask), but we all need to respect each other’s health and wellbeing and take care of one another. Kids are going back to school, or attending school and need to be protected always.

Here’s a few links you can checkout to create your own mask, also make sure you use the materials that is safe and effective. I randomly picked a few sites to get mask patterns but if you want to share your pattern with me, please do so and I will post it.

Pleated Face Mask Sewing Pattern with Ties or Elastic – Free Printable

DIY Face Mask Tutorial and Pattern

Face Mask Pattern – DIY Mask in 2 Styles (FREE)

 

Happy sewing and stay safe.

Ladies Enrichment Club Worldwide

Lovely Product designs from the Ladies Enrichment Club on Redbubble

Hi Ladies,

For some time I’ve been wanting to put my photography and art on products like fashion, home products, etc. I tried a company before but wasn’t truly satisfied with the end results.

Redbubble are really easy to use and they have so many products to place your artwork on. From masks, cushions, shower curtains,puzzles, etc.

I have researched their quality of prints and materials used and couldn’t find any negative feedback so far. If you have any experience with them I would like to hear from you. Please email the ladies enrichment club, any suggestion will be appreciated.

See my product here https://www.redbubble.com/people/ladiesenrich/shop

I am busy uploading loads more, please keep an eye on my latest products through Redbubble.

Happy creating and stay safe.https://www.redbubble.com/people/ladiesenrich/shop

Ladies Enrichment club

The Ladies Enrichment Club Logo on a cushion. Designed by me.

Girls to Women

Greetings Women of the World,

This morning I came across the Projectgrl.org founded by Joyce Meyer Ministries.

As the founder of the Support group, Ladies Enrichment Club Worldwide, I support Joyce Meyer Projectgrl. I also listen to her podcast and follow her on Twitter.

What an amazing project, please visit her site to know more on what she is doing for girls and women.

Below is a pdf file shared by Joyce on how to educate girls, all the credit to her and her wonderful work.

https://joycemeyermedia.com/SitecoreFiles/HandofHope/ProjectGRL/parent_prompts.pdf

Women support Women!

Have a beautiful day 🌺

Product Review…

My review and opinion on products I’m using daily and can see, feel and experience the difference. Share your thoughts on products you like, I would like to try and review them.

Support me in this mission to introduce great products to Ladies out there that really works and eliminate products bad for our wellbeing.

Let’s reach out and promote healthy living.

The Below link will take you to a brief review on Garden of Life vitamins, hope it’s informative.

https://youtu.be/xbDGYRcAO0k

Stay healthy and stay safe

Ladies Enrichment club www.ladiesenrichmentclub.com

Jobs…

Great Places To Look For A Job

The below article was taken from Moneycrashers, written by Mark Riddix.

Temporary Services

Full-time, permanent jobs may be disappearing but temporary jobs are on the rise. Job applicants looking for work should visit their local temp agency. Many temporary jobs often lead to full-time employment. Temporary jobs give a company the ability to audition a candidate for a few months and see if they are a good fit. The only negative to temp jobs is that they rarely offer benefits and the salary may be less than full-time employment.

Online Job Boards

Everyone knows about national online job sites like Careerbuilder, Monster, and Yahoo Hot Jobs. There are also some lesser known sites where you can search for jobs as well. Sites like Snagajob.com and Indeed.com offer jobs that often do not make it onto the big national job databases.

Also, don’t forget about your college or high schools. Sometimes they will have alumni job boards available to you where you may be going up against less competition.

Social Networking

You may have thought that social networks were just for having fun and catching up with old friends. Use social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook to network with other professionals in your career field. That’s why it’s so important not to have detrimental information about yourself on social networking sites. It may be time to take down that picture of yourself hung over at your best friend’s party! Landing a new job is often about who you know. It’s easier to get hired if you are recommended by a current employee. Sometimes you can be the most qualified candidate and the position will go to a friend of the boss.

In the current economic environment, finding a job is no easy task. It takes perseverance and finding the right match for your skills. Be sure to apply, apply, and apply more! The law of large numbers works in your favor. You can increase your chances of finding employment by sending out more resumes.

Hello fellow blog followers…

As part of a goodwill act, I am writing and updating CV’s for free for Ladies that lost their jobs due to the current situation. Be sure to visit http://www.ladiesenrichmentclub.com to read more articles, get discounts, advertise your products on the website and the YouTube channel, etc…

Good luck to everyone that is looking for jobs, never give up and push forward. I will be sharing some CV templates on my blog next time.

Zelda

Me in my Studio working on product shoots.

Just for the Health of it :) Healthy Banana bread for snacking…

Moist Banana Bread With Coconut Oil

Ingredients
• 4 ripe bananas
• 1/3 cup coconut oil
• 3/4 cup sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• Optional: 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
• Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan, or spray with cooking spray.
• Place the bananas in a large mixing bowl and mash them with a fork. Add the coconut oil and sugar to the bananas, and beat with a fork or an electric mixer until smooth.
• Beat in the eggs and vanilla
• In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
• Gradually add the flour mixture to the banana mixture, on low speed with the mixer (or using a rubber spatula or fork) just until well-incorporated, but do not over-mix, which will yield a tough banana bread. Stir in the chocolate chips, if using.
• Scrape the coconut banana bread batter into the prepared loaf pan.
• Bake for about 55 minutes until a wooden skewer or a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn out of the pan and finish cooling upright on the wire rack.

265
Calories
13g
Fat
34g
Carbs
4g
Protein

For the Health of it :) It’s time to bake some healthy break time rusks….

Classic healthy rusks
12 servings Preparation: 25 mins, Cooking: 5 hrs


Ingredients:

500 g butter — or margarine, melted
2 Tbs molasses (I used 2tbs date spread)
2 eggs — extra-large, whisked
1 kg flour — self-raising
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt (I didn’t use salt because the muesli already contain salt)
375 ml brown sugar — soft (I used 30 ml less because I’ve added more cranberries and raisins)
2 cup muesli — toasted
80 ml pumpkin seeds
30ml almonds — finely chopped
100 cashew nuts
100 g macadamia nuts — chopped
500 ml buttermilk

Method:
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease 3 small 18 x 9cm tins.
Beat together butter, molasses, buttermilk and eggs.
Combine dry ingredients and stir through butter mixture with a wooden spoon.
Pour dough into greased tins, pressing down evenly. Bake for about 40 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Leave loaves in tins for 15 minutes to cool before turning out on wire racks to cool completely.
Carefully slice and cut into thick rusk wedges. Reduce oven temperature to 90°C.
Arrange rusks on large baking sheets and dry for 3-4 hours or until crunchy.

Tip….

Nut allergy: replace nuts with dried cranberries and other seeds.

Get your communications skills right

The following article was written by…

Michael Thompson
This article will hopefully encourage those that needs it.Ladies Enrichment Club Blog