I don’t know about you, but I am READY for spring. I’m ready to kiss this pandemic goodbye (but not LITERALLY kiss it because, you know, COVID). As the snow begins to melt and new growth begins to appear, it’s only natural that we feel a sense of renewal, too. The changing of seasons also means it’s time for some spring cleaning.
Whether you dread spring cleaning or cannot wait to minimize the crap out of that closet, spring cleaning clears out more than just dirt and dust. It’s great for our mental health, too. And as we turn the corner of the COVID-19 pandemic – finally seeing the light at the end of this very long tunnel – spring represents an even greater sense of renewal this year.
How Spring Cleaning Impacts Our Mental Health
If you’re here, your probably take care of your body by eating (mostly) healthy foods, getting (mostly) enough sleep, and exercising to keep your muscles and heart strong.
While those are all fantastic goals, health is about more than just your body. Your mental and emotional health are crucial pieces of the overall health and wellness picture. Spring cleaning is one way to improve your mental health as winter finally fades away.
Gives Us a Sense of Accomplishment
There is something strangely rewarding about rolling up our sleeves (or going sleeveless) and tackling the grime and grit. You know how great you feel when you tackle that organization project, sort through piles of old clothes, or do a serious deep clean of the kitchen? That sense of accomplishment deeply impacts our mental health, too.
Think of it as a positive reinforcement chain effect. Completing one task gives us that “accomplishment high,” which encourages us to complete another. Before you know it, the whole house is clean, the kids’ playroom is organized, and we’re feeling damn good about ourselves.
Reduces Clutter – In Our Homes and Our Brains
Clutter and mess trigger our brains to think there is still work to do. It’s an attack on our senses, leaving us overstimulated, anxious, and irritable. But when we take control and tackle the clutter, we begin to overcome those stressors.
Taking care of the physical clutter can also help us tackle or mental and emotional clutter. That is, simplifying your possessions can also help you reassess your priorities and get rid of emotional baggage you don’t need to carry anymore.
Improves Physical Health
Spring cleaning can improve our health in two ways. First, we’re removing dust, mold, and allergens that can make us sick. Regular deep cleaning can prevent allergies, respiratory issues, and the spread of bacteria and viruses. Pollutants build up in our homes – particularly over the wintertime – and a good spring cleaning can help improve the air you breathe.
Secondly, deep cleaning gets your body moving. If you’re anything like me, you’ve finished a weekend deep cleaning day covered in sweat, nursing muscles you didn’t even know you had. It’s amazing how a day of deep cleaning can leave me more exhausted than an intense gym session. More than that, though, spring cleaning can help us “reset” our diets and routines. Cleaning our homes can inspire us to also clean up our nutrition and make health a priority.
Improved Productivity and Focus
Contrary to what we’ve heard, our brains really don’t multitask well. When there are too many stimuli, our brains have difficulty concentrating on one task. An untidy workspace, home, or bedroom can hamper our ability to focus, impacting our productivity.
Cleaning up our homes and offices can eliminate those external distractions, directing our mind’s attention to what really matters.
As mentioned above, cluttered and unclean houses can leave us feeling stressed and anxious. The clutter unconsciously signals our brains that there is unfinished business and disorder. For many, that can be an unsettling feeling.
However, a clean and organized space allows us to take back control. Spring cleaning signals our brains that the “business” of cleaning is finished, and we can shift our focus to other tasks.
Plus, you’ll be working up a sweat while you clean those windows. We already know that physical activity helps improve your mood, and spring cleaning is just one more way to increase our activity levels.
Love it or hate it, the time for spring cleaning is here. But scrubbing that tile and steam cleaning those rugs won’t just leave your home feeling fresh. It will also leave you feeling emotionally lighter too.