Cleaning your environment is an easy way to reduce stress. It can help you to feel calmer, more in control and give you a sense of achievement.
What is it?
The act of cleaning can simply involve:
- Tidying your bedroom…or start small by picking one drawer or cabinet to organise
- Dusting your shelves
- Wiping down the kitchen
- Polishing your furniture
How does it help?
Cleaning can have a positive impact on our mental health in a variety of ways:
- Clutter and mess can contribute to us feeling less motivated, tense and lower in mood, whereas a clean environment can lead to a sense of calm and improve our wellbeing.
- When it may feel like life is uncertain, cleaning can be a way of regaining a level of control over your environment.
- The physical activity of cleaning in combination with the result of a cleaner space can help to reduce negative feelings of anxiety and depressive symptoms as well as reducing fatigue and improving focus. Cleaning can bring the additional benefit of exercise which we know can be linked to relieving stress. The physical exertion of carrying objects from room to room, cleaning the floors, hoovering the stairs etc. can help release endorphins.
- We know that there is a link between certain scents and our mental health- for example lavender is known to act as a sleep aid or citrus scents are known to be energising, but an unclean smelling room could have a negative impact on the way you feel and may contribute to you feeling worse.
- Once you have completed the activity of cleaning, you are then likely to feel a sense of achievement as you have accomplished a task that you have set yourself.
How do I do it?
- Start small- the thought of having to clean everything all at once may be a little too overwhelming and could add to the negative emotions that you are already experiencing.
- Make a list of what you need to do, then choose one thing to do today and something else for tomorrow!
- Set a time limit- this will help to keep you focused on what you want to accomplish.
- Make sure that you have all your cleaning supplies organised, refer back to your list of what you had wanted to achieve.