For many, spring means warmer, brighter weather—and that means it’s time to throw open the windows and start spring cleaning!
We’ve discussed before how spring cleaning has health benefits. Opening the windows to let in fresh air can actually improve the humidity and change the oxygen balance in your home. Even sunlight coming in through the windows can help clean the air. But spring cleaning also has associated mental health benefits, including improved mood, decreased stress and heightened creativity. Here are some specific mental health benefits of spring cleaning:
Gets you moving
Spring cleaning is a physical activity, and it gives you a sense of accomplishment. Cleaning gets the happy chemicals moving around in your brain, propelled by an increased heart and respiratory rate. Spring cleaning can give you some of the same mental health benefits as physical exercise, such as running or biking. What’s more, a disorganized space is associated with less physical activity, while organization and order have been associated with choosing to eat more healthy and taking charge of your general health
Clutter and stress are related, and we know stress is bad for mental health. For example, piles of paper can create a false image that work is endless, and that even when we finish what we are working on, there is more to be done. Looking at the clutter in your home can bring on the anxiety of incomplete tasks or just make it more difficult to accomplish your daily routine. Many Americans feel that home organization and cleanliness are among their biggest stressors. Women specifically have shown to have chronic levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, if they perceive their homes as cluttered. Attacking that clutter can help reduce that stress.
Invites a fresh start
Sometimes mental health issues seem overwhelming because of their long history. You can fall into a pattern of poor mental health and get stuck there. Spring cleaning makes you feel like you are getting a fresh start. When your house looks different—decluttered and clean—you feel a greater ability to change the state of your mental health as well.
Tips for “spring cleaning” your mental health:
If you’re struggling with your mental health, why not try giving it a fresh start as well? Spring cleaning is not only a deep house cleaning, but an exercise of the mind!
- Create a targeted, personal to-do list of what you want to achieve emotionally.
- Divide goals into dream goals as well as short and long-term goals.
- Get at least 20 minutes of physical activity every day.
- Get up at the same time each day to create a better sleep routine.
- Schedule regular social activity.
- Nourish your body and mind with a healthy diet.