How Cleaning Your Living Space Can Improve Mental Health

June 2nd, 2020

When it rains, it pours. Depression and similar mental health ailments can be incredibly demanding of somebody’s lifestyle. Sleep schedules are interrupted, work can start to get inconsistent, and your life will begin to change. Small battles will start to become big battles as recovery starts to increasingly become an uphill struggle. 

There’s a lot of small struggles we could isolate and talk about in great detail. The concept to cover today is how tidying up your home or living space can have a surprising impact on your mental health. Here are some encouraging words and some ways decluttering will help contribute to improving your mental health and help find normalcy again.

There’s a clear challenge to finding the energy to get up and follow through with tidying up, so this might take some careful planning and willpower. If the weekend rolls around and you can’t summon the energy to clean up, that’s okay; it’s going to happen sometimes. Try planning out a little farther a time to clean, and maybe see if a friend is willing to help out. If that won’t work for you either, it will probably be best to pick a different battle. Always keep a goal in mind, even if it’s only a small one!

It’s a physical symbol of progress. When your brain is in disarray, and mental organization is awry, some concrete proof of change and development can make a big difference. Opening your closet to an organized wardrobe is like taking a deep breath of fresh air. Not only will it resemble a sigh of relief, but it is also progress and a definite step forward. Even if it is one of the first steps you’ve taken, it is a step regardless.

Cleaning up your living space is a direct assertion of your will in an area that needs to be your own. When you scrub a counter, you do a lot more than make it look clean. You are taking control of your living environment and giving yourself a visual reminder that you are in control. When you gain a level of control, you gain a level of progress.

It proactively prevents a potential source of frustration. Emotions can get conflated sometimes when we’re at a low point. Even the smallest pricks of contention can result in a skewed emotional reaction like anger, frustration, or even tears. 

Maybe one day, there’s something in your house you desperately need but just can’t find no matter where you look. You know where it would go usually, but it’s not there. Small mistakes like this can result in a meltdown that will make you feel even worse for letting it get to you. A clean place can stop something like this from happening, and make that frustrating lost object that much easier to find when you need it.

Less clutter leads to mental clarity. A mess means distraction, and a distraction can pull away from necessary tasks that need to get done. The consistent stimuli of mess can be a burden on our mind when productivity needs to take the forefront. If you are trying to work towards being high functioning while recovering, mental clarity and minimal distractions should take priority for your brain.

Sometimes distractions are actually welcomed when things are especially bad, and priorities are solely set to not thinking too hard. This approach can work the same way for a different reason in that case. Let your mind be busy under the circumstance that busy might be the best you right now!

You might underestimate just how much it might do for you. Who knows what could happen after you organize your stuff. We know it’s rarely as simple as “riding the happy train” when it arrives, but it’s entirely possible to have a good day now and then. Emotions come in waves and you may probably return to a low, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it while it lasts. Take the time to try and enjoy yourself if you’re proud of your work and possibly even get some other tasks done!

Disclaimer: brains are very tricky. When you are depressed, you are dealing with a chemical imbalance of neurotransmitters that help regulate your mood at a healthy level. When your brain produces these at a reasonable level, it helps normalize your emotions and physical functions like sleep and hunger. Being depressed is a sickness and not a choice. Taking small steps like cleaning up might release a brief explosion of serotonin and dopamine for some, and might not do anything at all for others. Do not be surprised if this particular reason to clean doesn’t apply to you. That’s entirely all right.

In summary, a good cleaning and tidying up might open some doors you didn’t realize were there in the first place. Taking control of your living space represents more than simply a clean home. It may help you produce some more of those happiness neurotransmitters if that’s the sort of thing that gives you a kick of it normally. Results will undoubtedly vary from person to person. Still, we’re also sure there’s always at least a little bit to be gained with every cleaning, and why we will continue to recommend it!