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How to do the Dishes when the Dishes are too Stressful

Care Tip: Don't

As the dreaded dish pile grows, you are in your home stressing about the possibility that you might actually be consumed by dirty dishes. The dishes will rise up and attack. You might become a dirty dish. It feels impossible to manage. How can you ever get through these?

Our favorite piece of advice to give is "don't do the thing". "The thing" whatever it may be, is tangled up in executive dysfunction. It is possible to push through - sometimes. However, sometimes, it is quite possible for you to use up all the remaining energy resource you do have and still not get the dishes done. Or perhaps you get them done, but poorly. Or even you may/may not get them done, but you cause yourself actual injury either physically, mentally, or emotionally, because you simply did not have the internal resources to spare. In those circumstances, instead of pushing through:

  1. Unhook; allow yourself to be ok with the dishes not being done and not having a timeline of when they will be.

  2. Reassure yourself that they will be done when you have the resources to do them.

  3. Break down the tasks. Let's not start with the dishes. Let's start with organizing the dishes. All that visual clutter eats up your energy, causes you don't need that. Don't wash the dishes. Organize them so that the visual impact is not chaotic. That's it! Walk away. Task complete, you did it! When you find yourself feeling motivated and ready,

  4. wash the easiest dish(es). Is it the one pot that you used to cook with? Do the plates give you the least amount of trouble? Whatever causes the least amount of stress and seems the most possible at the time, start there. Done! Have a rest. Not ready to rest? Feeling like you might have a little more in you?

  5. Choose another category to wash. Not ready to take on another category? Try putting the dishes you've already washed away or perhaps reorganizing the queued dishes after you've taken away some of their friends.

Do this until you work through them all!

The tip is to break down the mountainous task of washing the dishes into smaller tasks and committing only to one or as many of those tasks that you can bare at a time.

Remember, the dish monster is only strong when it's united in chaos. Take away the chaos and take away the foot soldiers, one category at a time, and you'll always win the war.

This tip doesn't only apply for dishes. Any task that feels too big, too hard, too cumbersome, break it down. Follow these steps and you will likely notice the difference!

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