As we approach the end of winter and the glorious rejuvenation of spring, many of us feel compelled to do some spring cleaning. We’ve endured a long winter spent cooped up inside (for those of us who live in the northern parts of the country) and in these times, clutter tends to accumulate.
The reality is, the state of your home can actually influence your emotional state. In a survey of the top 5 stressors people perceive as most impactful, worrying about the cleanliness and organization of the home was up there with not getting enough sleep, worrying about weight, and concern about finances. When our space is cluttered and messy, it can be distracting. Our brains pick up on peripheral mess, even if we aren’t consciously aware of it. So rather than feeling welcomed, relaxed, or peaceful when you come through the door, piles of papers and unread mail, unfolded laundry, and dirty dishes can serve as a reminder of work to be done. This added stress can leak into work performance, relationships, and overall physical health.
It can be difficult to find the time or the energy to tackle the mess, especially after a long day, but it doesn’t need to be perfect for it to be beneficial. Even small steps toward organization can boost mood, provide a sense of accomplishment, increase feelings of pride in your space, and for some, it fosters motivation to take control of other areas of life such as developing a healthy diet and regular exercise. So whether you take a weekend to do a full-on deep clean of your home, or spend 5 minutes a day cleaning a little bit at a time, what may seem like a chore could lead to lasting psychological benefits.
Written by Elise Browne, MS
Augustin, Sally Ph.D. (2010, April 23). A Good To-Do: Spring Cleaning. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/people-places-and-things/201004/good-do-spring-cleaning
Belkin, Lisa. (2013, April 29) HuffPost Survey Reveals Lack of Sleep as a Mjor Cause of Stress Among Americans. Huffington Post. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/29/stress-survey-sleep_n_3156991.html
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