I hate starting something and not having the time or resources to finish it. I set out to clear my entire back yard of brush and rocks, and I'm now exhausted, sitting next to a fire I built, and calculating just how much more is left to do.
Organizing, cleaning, yard work--they're my therapy. If I can organize, clean, or control it, I immediately get a (temporary) sense of peace and satisfaction.
It makes sense. I read once that unhealthy emotions normally express themselves in one of two ways: manipulation or control. So when I've had a hard day, week, month, year(s)...you'll likely find me cleaning out the refrigerator, organizing the pantry, mowing the grass--controlling what can be controlled.
I call these the "punching bag" coping mechanisms. They're normally harmless outlets for working through difficult emotions. They're also signals, though, and when you learn your own, you can take a more accurate reading of the health of your soul and avoid them worsening.
Because if you don't, those punching bags turn into real issues. Like I paraphrased in a previous post, "When your truth can't find an expression, it creates a symptom." Decompressing, letting it out, unwinding--call it what you want--it's necessary, but it's not a solution. It will grow, it will evolve, if not dealt with.
There is a term we joke about at work called "creative avoidance." It's where you're doing something good but not the right thing. For example, I need to set five appointments a day. It's also important to keep my desk organized. Making phone calls and being told "no" isn't fun, therefore, my desk is getting organized.
That's a silly example, but I think it represents what we do all the time in our personal lives. Watching Netflix isn't bad, but I really should be picking up the phone and making that call to that person about that important thing.
Do you know your punching bags? Are you aware of how you creatively avoid the most important self-work? It's easy to do. I do it all the time. But I'm learning, and I'm recognizing, and I'm growing (two steps forward, one step back).