Updated: Apr 28, 2022
Now don't get us wrong; we're not pushing you to deep clean your house this spring just to add one more thing to your already overwhelming to-do list. We just want to talk for a minute about the connection between spring cleaning and mental health.
There are several ways that spring cleaning can help you feel reenergized and at your best. Here are some ways that cleaning can benefit our mental health:
1. Clutter-free spaces help us relax
Think for a minute about what your house looks like when it is at its messiest. Think about the days when the dishes pile up, the junk mail and school papers have consumed the dining room table, and the mound of laundry is as tall as you. Tumbleweeds of dog hair are rolling across your hardwood floors. Now, think about how you feel in your home on those days. Are you able to relax well, or do you have a hard time sitting down because it feels like there is so much to do?
Now think about how you feel when you walk into your home when it's clean and decluttered. Do you feel more peaceful and relaxed? Are you able to enjoy more of your downtime because you don't feel you need to be up cleaning?
Spending some time spring cleaning can help you turn your house into a place where you can better unwind, relax, and feel your best.
2. Clean rooms promote better sleep
If you struggle to fall asleep or stay asleep, it can help to clean your bedroom. There are many connections between our sleep habits and our mental health. Struggling to fall asleep or stay asleep can be a sign of a mental health disorder or that you're struggling with stress and anxiety in your daily life. In addition, those who struggle to sleep well may be at higher risk of health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and depression.
Cleaning your room and having clean sheets on your bed can help promote better sleep. The Sleep Foundation conducted a study and shared that the following tips can help promote better sleep:
Washing your sheets at least every other week
Make your bed in the morning
Use essential oils such as lavender to improve the quality of sleep
Keeping the temperature at 65 degrees Fahrenheit
Use white noise to block out sounds
Keep the room dark
Have a comfortable mattress and bedding
3. Organization can help combat anxiety
When you're running late in the morning and trying to get the kids out of the house for school, you don't want to waste time digging through piles of papers to find the permission slip they need or trying to find your keys. Taking time to organize your space—at home or work—can help you eliminate unnecessary stress and anxiety.
Put the old saying into practice: "a place for everything and everything in its place."
You don't have to take it to the extreme, but as you spring clean and declutter, look for better ways to organize your space. Think about the things you use on a regular basis and find a place for them that makes the most sense. You may also find it helpful to spend a few minutes each night preparing for the following day. Put the things you're going to need access to in a central location so you can easily find them in the morning.
4. Removing old items can free you up from negative thoughts
Do you have clothes in your closet that no longer fit? You want to lose weight so you can fit into that pair of jeans again, but right now, every time you see them, you end up feeling bad about yourself. If that's the case, toss or donate the jeans. If you are determined to wear them again in the future but seeing them leaves you feeling flawed instead of motivated, box them up and store them out of sight until you're ready for them.
Clothing might be a common example, but this concept can apply to many different items. Are there items in your house that are reminders of difficult seasons in your life and they cause you anxiety? If so, remove them from your space. Your home should be filled with things that bring you joy and help you feel your best.
5. It gives you something to feel good about
If you're struggling with anxiety and depression, getting up and accomplishing things can be challenging. When it feels like everything is going wrong, having some small victories can go a long way in helping us feel successful, which can help build confidence. You don't have to clean your entire house deep to benefit in this way. This can be from things as simple as making your bed every morning or having a clean sink to wake up to in the morning.
If you're going through a difficult time right now, choose one or two small tasks to complete. Once you finish them, enjoy the success of completing them. Be proud of yourself for accomplishing it, no matter how small it is. As you continue to do this, you may find yourself becoming more motivated to tackle other small tasks. This can create a positive snowball effect.
What if it all feels too overwhelming?
If you are struggling with daily activities, it could be a sign that you're dealing with anxiety, depression, or other mental health challenges. You may benefit most from working with a therapist to help you explore what your best options are for managing and overcoming your symptoms to feel your best. You can be matched with one of our therapists in Stillwater through this link or by calling 651-425-9297.