Living

How to stay sane during your neighbour's construction project

My brain feels like it’s going to explode — I suspect I'm about to become a madwoman, leaving my house in my bathrobe and screaming while running up and down the block.

Masterfile

My brain feels like it’s going to explode — I suspect I’m about to become a madwoman, leaving my house in my bathrobe and screaming while running up and down the block. What has led me to this state? Construction.

I moved into my house three years ago; immediately after that, the neighbours across the street started their one-year renovation project and the new neighbours beside me began the eight-month process of gutting their house. Both of those reconstructions ended this summer, and I could finally think clearly — I work from home, so silence is golden.

But now there are construction trucks parked outside my house, yet again, because the city has decided to fix the sewers. I’m not sure how long this will last, or how much longer I can take it. I feel like I have a constant headache and every person I speak to on the phone asks, “What’s that noise in the background?”

I know I’m not the only one who feels like she is constantly surrounded by construction, especially when so many people now work at home. I spoke with Laurel Crossley-Byers, who is a life coach for mothers and children at Opti-Mom. Not only does she have advice for people living in areas with never-ending construction who feel like they are losing their minds, but she too is living next door to a 16-story apartment building in the midst of a year-long renovation project. I got her advice on getting through the madness.

1. Meditate: “Meditation is huge,” she says, when it comes to calming yourself down and focusing on working at home amongst all the outside noise. “Meditation will teach your brain to shut out all extraneous sounds and get you to focus on the task at hand, like your job.” She suggests joining a class and says it only takes two minutes, once you learn how to get into that meditative space, to get focused.

2. Improve your workspace: Especially during construction, she says, it’s very important to set up a space at home where you feel inspired and can desensitize yourself from what’s going on right outside your home. “You have to make a sacred space. Maybe you want to paint the walls your favorite color, or buy nice candles, or flowers, or put your favorite chair in the space.” In other words, make the best of a bad situation.

3. Try ear plugs: Yes they can be uncomfortable, but they do cut down on the noise. And they can be bought cheaply at any drug store.

4. Get out of the house: “Get away from it,” she says. “Even if you just go for a walk for 30 minutes, at least you will get away from the noise. Even better, take some time to socialize. It will help you forget, make you feel better about life as a whole, and the construction won’t matter as much.”

5. Think positive: Yes, it is hard to, but remind yourself that there is an end date, she says. “In the meanwhile, it’s your choice whether you’re going to allow it to bother you or not.” Think about upcoming long weekends, she says, when city workers can’t work.

6. Create a schedule: It’s very important, she says, to really create a schedule if you work at home, especially if there is construction. “Schedule in times away from working to get away, and that way you know when you will be working and set those hours. A lot of people who work at home have no real schedule. But if you make one during times of construction, you’ll at least know that these are the hours you need to get through.”

How do you deal with construction in your neighbourhood, especially if you work at home?

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