One of my top posts is about renovating a house with anxiety – nice to know I’m not alone on that one. Even so, it’s a little more on the easy-breezy side, so I felt a slightly more serious approach to the perils of redecorating might be in order.
Especially now that we’ve redone our bedroom, office, bathroom and living room. Just the kitchen and garden to go…!
Whether it’s your first home, or your third, renovating and doing up your house is frigging tough.
You start off with visions of colour palettes and fabrics, reading gorgeous living magazines and perusing Pinterest to find your aesthetic. The reality is all your stuff piled into one room, late workmen, intermittent power/water/heating/other essentials and even the simplest of things being tricky.
Forget trying to find something you need. Feeling emotionally overwhelmed and physically exhausted feels like the norm. Expectations versus reality can fast become a stark contrast
It’s enough to make you wonder why you’re doing it at all.
What does ‘home’ mean to you?
The concept of ‘home’ is incredibly potent. It might be where you grew up. It might be where your mum is. It might be where your other half is. It’s where you host friends, relax after work, greet your dog, raise your kids, make decisions, and exist.
If you’re reading this, it’s likely ‘home’ is meant to be where you are right now, but it needs a serious facelift and heck, that’s a lot of pressure to get it right first time. And what if you don’t like it when it’s all done? What if it doesn’t feel like ‘home’? How long will it take to feel like home and not some bloody building site?
When your stability is turned upside down, or you’re going through a visibly monumental shift – however positive the end is meant to be – that can have a profound effect.
If you also have trouble managing your mental health, renovation can exacerbate it, or even develop it. Especially if there are stresses around finances, timescales, quality of work, or otherwise.
But enough of the doom and gloom. What can you do about it?
Create a space just for you
So while all your renovation nonsense is going on, you should consider creating a little baby version of ‘home’ for you. That can be a yoga mat,with a book you can lose yourself in, a tea station with some little snacks, a pimped-up bath with salts and a candle.
Whatever it is (it’ll probably depend on how extreme your renovation is), you need to grant yourself some space for you. Your whole life can’t centre around this renovation – and if it’s going to make it easier for you, it’s totally worth keeping a few non-essential objects around. That being said…
Keep important stuff to hand
Indulgences aside, make sure you’ve got any necessary documents, brochures, tools, sketches, plans, paint chips, ET CETERA nearby. That goes for personal items too – shaving, deodorant, hairbrushes, etc. The last thing you need is to be turning what’s left of the house upside down trying to look for stuff you need on a regular basis.
Talk about it
If you’re renovating alongside someone – your spouse, your sibling, your friend – keep communication lines open. It might feel like one of you is taking more of the load than the other, or even one of you might feel you don’t get as much of a say in some of the key decisions. If you’re feeling anxious, or unsettled, or down about the whole process, talk about that too.
If that feels confrontational or uncomfortable, consider writing it down, or talking to someone objective you can trust. You want to feel like this stress will be worth it in the end, so try to be honest.
in the depths of renovation, it’s not always easy to see how far you’ve come. Take pictures from the very beginning and throughout the process. That way, even when it feels like you’re hitting a wall (which you might literally be doing…), you can see that progress is happening – and that can be very encouraging in the stressful moments.
Redecorating is not forever
This is the hardest one, but be mindful that this unsettling period isn’t forever. With any luck, you’re well on your way to carving out a home for yourself that you’ll love. Just keep an eye on yourself, look after yourself as much as you can and, as always, if it feels more serious than that be sure to seek outside help.
Wishing anyone redecorating all the best. Some of the worst times I had were because I was in the midst of renovation hell and not having any sense of ‘home’. You’ll get to the fun part soon – and when you do, perhaps look forward to the part where your home can actually serve to make you feel less anxious.