Most of us have had the unfortunate pleasure of moving house in our lifetime - probably more than once - so it's pretty safe to say we all know how stressful it can be. So stressful in fact, it's currently ranked as #1 on the 'Top 10 Most Stressful Life Events' list on www.top10.me!
As not everyone will be faced with a renovation of some sort in their lifetime, it's only fair to excuse Top 10 list makers for not having RENOVATIONS on their 'most stressful events' list. However if it was, and if you have lived to tell the tale of surviving a renovation, you'd probably shoot this baby straight to number one, right?
So what is it about renovating that makes it so stressful? Shouldn't it be seen as an exciting, life-changing-for-the-better experience?
Well it is, and we do start out feeling that way -- with our buzzing energy, high on vibes and hope. But over time doubt can slowly make its (sometimes suffocating) way in to break up the I'm-so-freakin-excited-about-my-life party.
Doubt can show up as a 'stress reality' -- a present negative emotion or feeling. To give an example, here are a few realities that you're sure to come across while renovating your garden --
Being human. Yes, we're all human. We didn't 'measure 3 times, cut once'. In our excitement we just CUT. Argh!
Overoptimism (and sarcasm). Oh things are going to take twice as long as you'd estimated and what we had expected? Perfect.
Feeling narky. I have strangers in my garden with their music playing and crap strewn around everywhere -- don't people pick up after themselves anymore?!
Being ungrateful. Rain forecast in summer? In Perth? Just when we need to pour the driveway...?
Feeling tired. I am sooooo tired. Let's just stop now and make do with where it's at.
Be prepared to be confronted with these negative thoughts and feelings. Renovating draws on our stress triggers because we are completely at of our comfort zones, while being at the mercy of trades, weather and budgets.
At times like these, what we need to remember is this -- most realities are transient.
So what can we do to move out of our 'stress realities' quickly to avoid a complete meltdown? Start by taking a deep breath, then put these into action --
1. KEEP THE END GOAL IN SIGHT
Put your design, mood board, inspiration images -- anything really that represents the end goal -- in front of you. This may be on your fridge, stuck to your computer screen or on your partner's forehead. It's to remind you every day of the reward at the end of the journey.
2. TRUST IN THE PROFESSIONALS AROUND YOU
Your designer, tradespeople and suppliers have been in this situation many a time. You would not have chosen them if you did not think they could do the job. No matter what roadblocks or hurdles occur, let them do what they were hired to do -- without the added pressures of negative vibes.
3. FIND SOME PERSPECTIVE + GRATITUDE
In the scheme of things, renovating your garden to become the beautiful space you have been dreaming of is pretty goddamn good! Think about all the things you are grateful for in your life. Your current gripes will begin to feel very insignificant... they won't completely disappear but you will hopefully be able to handle them with perspective.
4. TAKE TIME OUT TO LET LOOSE + GAIN BALANCE
Living and breathing a renovation can become a little unhealthy. No matter what is happening, take the time out to have a night with friends, do some exercise or, even better, leave it in the hands of your trades and go on a small trip. Take yourself out of the environment to gain some balance. You'll be sure to come back refreshed and re-inspired.
5. PLAN A PARTY FOR YOUR GARDEN REVEAL - WOOOO!
After all the work is done it can feel like a bit of an anti-climax. The trades are no longer buzzing around and the constant thinking on your feet is gone... In a strange, sadist way it can make you feel a little lonely. So when you're at around 3/4 of the way through your renovation start planning a garden reveal party! The event will help get you through the last 25% and over the finish line. Just be sure not to be overoptimistic with the date -- give yourself enough time for the project to be completed properly without rushing for a deadline. You want to make sure you do not cause any unnecessary stress!
Do you have a renovation experience you've survived? What helped you get through the process? We'd love to read your comments below.