The first day of spring has arrived, which means winter will soon be a distant memory. For many of us, this also means “spring cleaning”, or the chance to get rid of things we no longer use or need in order to make space in our lives. Gretchen Rubin, best-selling author of The Happiness Project and Happiness at Home, says that “outer order contributes to inner calm”. This is a common realization that she (and many others) have had and is surprisingly not emphasized by many positive psychologists or other wellness advocates. I can attest to the feeling of serenity that occurs once I’ve cleared the clutter from my apartment or cleaned off the top of my desk – it’s almost as if I have more space to breathe and accomplish what I need to do. Ultimately, that messy desk or house might seem trivial, but getting control of that space or area of your life can have tremendous benefits for your emotional and environmental well-being. Essentially, getting control of your stuff can help you to feel more in control of your life.
Clutter-cleaning expert and best-selling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Marie Kondo says “Many people get the urge to clean up under pressure, such as just before an exam. But this urge doesn’t occur because they want to clean their room. It occurs because they need to put ‘something else’ in order.” I’ve experienced this myself after a chaotic event has ensued in the ER. For example, I recall when a dog came in to the hospital after being hit by a car and then arrested. After performing CPR and other life-saving measures, the owners decided to euthanize the dog. After our team debrief, I found myself madly rushing around the ER to “clean up” the mess. One of my technicians said to me “we’ll look after that, go get your records done” and I remember saying “I won’t be able to concentrate on anything else until this space is clean again.” In a way, cleaning the ER was a way of calming my mind and regaining order after what had been an intense experience.
If your clients walk into your waiting room and see pamphlets or magazines everywhere and a cluttered shelf of food or other merchandise, they’ll feel the same inner chaos that you and your staff feel when you walk into your cluttered office or break room. Here are some pointers to help you tidy up at work:
Marie K. Holowaychuk, DVM, DACVECC is a small animal emergency and critical care specialist and certified yoga and meditation teacher who also has an invested interest in the health and well-being of veterinary professionals. She organizes Veterinary Wellness Workshops & Retreats for veterinarians, technicians, and other veterinary care providers. To sign up for newsletters containing information regarding these events and veterinary wellness topics, please click here. More information can be found at www.criticalcarevet.ca/wellness.