The positive effects cleaning can have on your mental wellbeing
- Jan 11, 2022, 10:57 AM by Lawrence Crew
It’s no secret that a clean home is good for us, but there are mental health benefits to a home that is clean, clutter-free and sparkling clean. Find out about the mental and physical benefits that a clean, uncluttered living space can have on your mental wellbeing.
With the joyful festivities of Christmas starting to feel like a distant memory, combined with the cold, dark weather, it’s no wonder that many people find this month a struggle.
It’s also the time of year where we look ahead and start to think about what we want to achieve this year, what our goals are, and changes we need to make in order to achieve them. Bridging the gap between the post-Christmas blues and the new year goal setting isn’t an easy thing to do however, and it can feel difficult to consciously change that mindset.
One of the main things that has been proven to aid that process is decluttering. Trying to improve a low mood and take on a more positive attitude requires clarity of thought. Scientific studies have shown that people who describe their living spaces as being cluttered, dirty or unfinished were more likely to suffer from depression and fatigue than those who felt content with their home environment. A cluttered environment makes it more difficult to focus on a specific task due to a person’s visual cortex being overwhelmed by all the task-irrelevant objects in the room.
4 ways a clean home can improve your mental health
1. Releases endorphins
Ahh, endorphins. We’ve all experienced them at some point. The feeling you get after completing a run, or a class at the gym gives us that amazing feeling of achievement and satisfaction, where we instantly feel positive and pleased with ourselves. The same approach can be taken with cleaning.
Any form of exercise, however little, will result in the release of endorphins. These endorphins go on to interact with the receptors in your brain, altering your perception of pain and triggering a positive feeling in your body. Regular cleaning has been proven to reduce stress, lessen anxiety and a sense of satisfaction from transforming a messy home into a livable space.
2. Decluttering sharpens the mind and gives renewed focus
If you find yourself struggling to focus at home, take a look at the environment you’re living in. Is it cluttered with objects that are a distraction from the task at hand? Dirty worktops, piles of paperwork, a sink full of plates and cutlery can be all that’s needed to make it more difficult to focus properly. If you’ve been putting certain chores off, it’s time to tackle them head on!
A clean, uncluttered living space means…
· Reduced stress on yourself and family members
· A calmer environment
· More productive daily tasks· Fewer surfaces to collect dust and dirt, and ultimately to clean
3. Sharing a clean environment makes for a better relationship
If you share your living space with others, there’s every chance you’re not on the same page where tidiness and cleanliness is concerned. Differences of opinion when it comes to cleaning and chores, who should do what, how it should be done can often lead to resentment and be a catalyst for arguments and bad feeling, which is then likely to impact your mental wellbeing.
Agreeing to share responsibility for your household chores and making compromises can be beneficial to mental wellbeing - as can living in a clean, decluttered home, free of arguments about who’s turn it is to take out the rubbish!
4. A clean and clutter-free home can improve the quality of your sleep
The National Sleep Foundation carried out a survey that found that people who make their beds every morning are 19% more likely to get a good night’s sleep. 75% percent said they sleep better when their sheets are freshly laundered and pillows plumped, because they feel more comfortable.
It’s also true that if your mental wellbeing has been boosted through the general improvement in your home environment, that will no doubt have a positive impact on the quality of your sleep.
5. Gives you better physical health
A 2017 study concluded that 30 minutes spent blitzing your home could reduce your risk of heart disease by one fifth - as long as the chores require some physical exertion and the session lasts the full half hour. A 30 year old woman weighing 130lbs would burn approximately 130 calories mopping the floor for 30 minutes, or 85 doing miscellaneous housework (according to the HealthStatus calculator).
Another obvious benefit to physical health is the removal of bacteria from your home. Household surfaces can be covered in all kinds of potentially harmful bacteria, such as E-coli, Staphylococcus and Corynebacterium.
A dirty kitchen is a kitchen you’re unlikely to enjoy cooking in, and so the quality of your meals could suffer. This is likely to impact your diet and physical wellbeing. Ensuring that your kitchen is a clean and tidy environment could encourage you to cook healthier, more balanced meals rather than wade past the dirty dishes and discarded pizza boxes to get to the microwave.
It’s important to remember that whilst your enthusiasm for cleaning can be a perfect distraction, something to occupy your mind when you’re trying to cope with challenges in your life, you also can’t let it take over and it definitely shouldn’t be used to obscure problems that may require professional help to address.