How to Avoid a Mid-project Breakdown

A couple laying on the floor dreaming about their home improvement plants with a box and ladder next to them.

When embarking on a home renovation, it's common to want advice from a contractor when it comes to construction, but it's equally as important to be properly equipped with how to handle unwanted emotional stress that can overcome you mid-project. While a hired contractor has the ability to navigate building mishaps and produce solutions for them, they aren't a therapist so it’s useful to have coping skills in place. The last thing you need is for worries to outdo the new renovation you have planned.

Schedule a Worry Time

A man sitting in front of a laptop with his hands on his head worrying about something.

A growing body of scientific literature suggests that consistent worrying can have both short and long-term effects on your well-being. According to the Liberty Mutual Insurance “Worry Less” Report, worrying is a behavior that steals joy and affects sleep and decision making. Instead of allowing worry to sneak up on you in the middle of a home renovation when decision making is crucial, schedule a time to worry.

Designate a day and time to make that your scheduled “worry session” for about 30 minutes. In this time, you're allowed to think about the worries you have been feeling throughout the home improvement process, as well as develop a plan to overcome them. Because you're designating a time, you may find that the worries you saved to think about during your session may come and go without even having to use the 30 minutes to address them.

Practice Mindfulness

According to the same report, financial and housing worries are typically the highest for those ranging in age from 25 to 44 years old, but can of course bother anyone at any age. If worries about tackling your home renovation seem to be consuming your thoughts, learn to replace this kind of unhelpful thinking with mindfulness to help reduce the worry. When we're able to focus our attention on the present, we make better decisions. If you’re in the midst of a stressful project like a renovation, instead of worrying, you may need a replenishing moment. Take a moment to enjoy the space you’re creating for yourself, be present in it, and see the positive impact it can have on your mood.

Check Your Insurance

The feeling of wanting to protect what you have worked so hard to achieve is another potential cause of worry during your renovation. It's likely that you put in many hours of planning and preparing your home before the renovation started. Now that you are mid-project, it can be hard to watch what is happening to your home and difficult to picture the end result among the sawdust.

However, if you take productive action to address this legitimate concern, like reviewing your home insurance, you may feel more secure. But while focusing in the moment helps manage worry, it does not prevent negative outcomes from occurring. Therefore, it’s also useful to think proactively about protection. When you are making these upgrades or changes to your house, check with your insurance company to review your policy and check that you have adequate coverage. This will allow you to feel more at ease when watching the construction take place.

Consider Smart Home Applications

A smart phone next to a bunch of home improvement supplies and tools.

Finally, accepting uncertainty is something most people tend to struggle with. This feeling may emerge at mid-project, but can very well occur before the project has started and/or once the renovation is completed. You do not want to find yourself at work or on vacation worrying about issues that might arise in your newly renovated home when you’re not there. To help cope with this feeling, you can take advantage of installing new smart home technology which can ease worry, knowing that everything is connected to your smartphone—from your smoke alarm and thermostat to your security system. These installations may also lead to smart home savings, such as the Smart Home Verified Discount from Liberty Mutual Insurance. When you feel connected to your home while not having to be present to check on it, you’ll spend less time worrying about any potential issues and enjoy greater peace of mind.

Dr. Simon A. Rego, PsyD, ABPP, ACT is a Board Certified Cognitive Behavioral Psychologist. Recently, he co-authored the "Worry Less” Report from Liberty Mutual Insurance to help home and auto owners feel they have the knowledge and tools to be prepared to deal with uncertainty whether it’s an inconvenience like a flat tire or protecting their home from a weather emergency. The Liberty Mutual Insurance “Worry Less” Report is a summary of scientific research from the past 20 years that sheds light on the science of worrying and how to break the worry cycle.