THE MENTAL HEALTH BENEFITS OF SPRING CLEANING
Spring is a season of new growth, freshness and transition. In this guest post from Mia Barnes from Body+Mind magazine, we reset the button on your home, life and self-care and explore the mental health benefits of spring cleaning.
A NEW SEASON AND NEW MOOD
As winter subsides and the first blossoms signal the start of spring, you may sense a feeling of renewal. Spring has that effect on many people — it’s like hitting the reset button on self-care.
Naturally, after a months-long hibernation, you’ll look forward to shedding the clutter and stepping back into the sunshine. It may not surprise you that there are mental health benefits to spring cleaning. Let’s face it — the start of a new season gives off a fresh feeling few can resist.
Giving your home a deep scrub makes a significant difference in your mood — in addition to wiping away dirt and germs accumulated throughout the cold season, you can rejuvenate your body and mind. As such, it may be a good idea to get cleaning for your mental health upon spring’s arrival.
A LONGING FOR MENTAL CLARITY
Poor mental health is one of the leading disabilities in the world, negatively affecting how you feel, act and think. It can be physically debilitating and emotionally draining when left untreated. Some people find it impedes their ability to do their work or isolates them from friends and family.
The winter months — when days are shorter and people spend more time indoors — are often the hardest. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) impacts up to 3% of the global population — about 10%–20% and 25% of patients with depression and bipolar disorder experience SAD, respectively.
Although mental health conditions can affect every age group, 31% of millennials have depression and 10% live with a substance abuse disorder.
Nowadays, a high prevalence of mental health conditions has many longing for mental clarity. Cognitive therapies, treatments and at-home self-care are on the rise, especially amid the many economic, social and environmental triggers facing people today.
5 WAYS SPRING CLEANING IMPROVES MENTAL HEALTH
Needless to say, mental health matters to many — and the welcoming spring activates a part of us to create change and find happiness. If winter had you in a slump, here are five ways spring cleaning can energise and improve your mental wellness.
1. Cleaning Equals Happiness
Have you ever felt overwhelmed with clutter? Sitting in piles of belongings is enough to make anyone feel claustrophobic and sad. Start your spring cleaning with a purge of your closet and drawers — you’ll likely find that several items no longer fit you or serve a purpose in your life.
Better yet, you can donate gently used clothes and accessories to free up space. Making room in your wardrobe makes it easier to see what you own and decide on an outfit. Additionally, you’ll feel good about giving back to others in your community.
Sifting through your clothes should invigorate you to clean the rest of your house. Go room by room with your cleaning supplies to wash away the winter grime. Cracking a window for fresh air will also boost your mood by drawing the outdoors inside. Studies suggest that just 10 minutes spent in nature positively affects your well-being.
2. Helps Burn Calories
Nobody said spring cleaning would be easy. In fact, it’s actually an excellent workout. Who needs an aerobics class to warm up the muscles when you can Swiffer the entire first floor of your home?
You may be surprised to learn how many calories you burn while cleaning. For instance, you can burn 155 calories by vacuuming, ironing, dusting or doing the laundry. Gardening also burns about 386 calories per hour.
You’re likely already familiar with the benefits of the endorphins you produce when exercising — hormones that induce happiness and wellness. That’s why many people who prioritise fitness have reduced anxiety and depression.
3. Reduces Stress
A disorganised home is enough to bring about severe stress. There are several reasons for this — for one thing, a cluttered home is a reminder of needing to do chores on top of everything else. Clutter also makes us feel more distracted and as though we lack control over our lives.
Cleaning can provide an escape from your troubles and concerns. When everything is crumbling around you, the moments you can sweep your stress under the rug can deliver temporary relief.
That doesn’t mean you forget about your stressors entirely — it just gives you time to calm down and think more clearly through your emotions.
4. Renews Your Mind
If spring represents renewal in nature, you can imagine it does the same for your mental health. Personal growth is a direct result of self-care and derives from shifting gears on the parts of your life that no longer work for you, such as a negative state of mind or poor habits.
Chores are sometimes the best mindfulness activities, allowing you to clear your head and grow more in touch with your surroundings. Setting foot into a clean room can have a calming effect and impart a sense of pride for your efforts.
As you get rid of things and clean up, pretend you’re also getting rid of feeling pain, worries, regrets and anything else that fogs your mind. The more junk you clean up, the more renewed and calm you’ll feel.
5. It’s Ritualistic
Research shows that the Marathi Hindu community experience reduced anxiety and greater tranquility when performing ritualistic behaviours. Aside from religious practices, the calming nature of rituals can also apply to other long-term routines.
Rituals are essential to positive mental health and can lead to healthier lifestyles. Regarding spring cleaning, most people have turned the practice into a yearly tradition worldwide. According to one survey, 74% of Americans participate in spring cleaning annually.
Maintaining cleanliness at home invokes positive feelings and at-home nourishment. Who wouldn’t want to wake up and go to sleep in a calm, healthy environment? An annual deep cleaning is a ritual within itself that promotes positive well-being.
CLUTTER-FREE LIVING FOR MENTAL WELLNESS
There are fewer things as important as prioritising your mental health. Clouded cognition can have trickle-down effects in every part of your life, including physical health if left unaddressed. This spring, reap the rewards of deep cleaning to rejuvenate your mind and body. A clutter-free space makes for a happier and healthier home.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mia Barnes is a freelance writer and researcher with a passion for mental wellness and healthy living. Mia Barnes is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the online health publication, Body+Mind magazine.
YOUR NEXT STEP…
To start decluttering and simplifying your home, why not get your copy of my free Declutter Starter Kit packed full of tips and advice to help you clear clutter and keep it away. Pop your details in the box below to get your copy today!