We know it’s early to talk about spring cleaning. But, if you spend a lot of time indoors in the winter, your home may be in need of a good clean. Mess has a way of piling up when you’re busy living your life in a confined place. And it’s never a bad time to talk about the benefits of cleaning. We know about the medical benefits of living in a clean space. And, of course, cleaning can be a good form of exercise. But there are mental health benefits to cleaning as well.
Some people are stress cleaners who turn to cleaning to manage anxiety. Even if it’s not your go-to stress buster, it works. Research has shown that cleaning gives us a sense of control and has a calming effect because it’s a repetitive activity. Environmental uncertainty and uncontrollability cause stress and damage health. Cleaning it a calm, ritualized way, with repetitive motions and tasks, to take control over the space around us.
Studies have shown that washing the dishes can be used in the place of mindful meditation. And decluttering can reduce overstimulation from visual stimuli, aiding concentration, lowering anxiety and improving mood. Cleaning also releases endorphins, the chemical that boosts mood and helps focus.
Research from the National Sleep Foundation showed that you sleep better in a tidy room. Having an organized space helps you drift off faster. So take your clothes off the chair in the corner. And, having an organized space makes finding things easier and much less stressful, letting your day run smoother.
Sometimes, in the winter especially. Cleaning gets away from you, and it’s easy to end up with a messy home. If that sounds like you, don’t worry. We’re not advocating scrubbing the whole place down today and throwing away every knickknack. Instead, make it very manageable and a nice relaxing task. Spend 15 minutes cleaning the highest priority space every day — just 15 minutes. You’ll get some movement into your day that way. Focus on one job in one room before moving on to the next. Skipping from task to task actually makes the results less noticeable. Clean together with anyone who lives with you to make the task go faster. Listen to some music and have some fun with it.
Having a clean space to live in will give you a sense of control and peace that will stay with you even as you leave your home and head out into the world.