The Mind And Body Benefits You May Be Missing From Not Cleaning

When anxiety strikes, many of us turn to meditation or exercise to de-stress. However, there may be another culprit in our lives that could be making our anxiety and depression worse: a cluttered home. If you're actively seeking reprieve from stress, look around. Does your space feel disorganized? The Mayo Clinic explains that a messy area could lead to overspending, poor time management, and increased mental strain.

Our home should be a tranquil place of peace, but if clutter is taking over, it could be the exact opposite. When our spaces are in disarray, they may reflect how we feel mentally (via Headspace). If you are currently feeling stress and anxiety, you may want to self-medicate by tidying up your closet, room, office, or house. This can be especially helpful if you work from home. Ultimately, you may even appreciate the calm this provides your home, the peace it provides your mind, and the low-intensity workout it gives your body. 

Why cleaning can help your mind and body

There is a direct correlation between how we feel and how we maintain our spaces, and this may be why so many self-health books, podcasts, and Netflix series recommend organizing our spaces. Still, many are left with questions like: Are we disorganized because we are stressed, or are we stressed because we are disorganized? We all have messy moments, but when those are accompanied by mood shifts, burnout, or depression, organizing our space may be a real solution to feel better mentally and physically (via Recovery). The fact that organizing our spaces makes us calmer and more in control makes sense. It's calming to know that everything has its place, and because it does, it's easier for us to continue to keep our spaces clean after we've organized.

Researchers have found that seeing bills stacked high, clothes strewn about a room, or shoes spread across the entryway can actually cause us stress. This kind of disorder can also cause us to have trouble focusing. Because more people work from home than ever before, this is problematic not only in our personal lives but also in our professional ones (via News GP).

Where to begin cleaning

If you're ready to feel better by tackling your work and living space, experts recommend starting small and keeping it simple. If you start small, you're more likely to reap the benefits of the organization sooner, but if you take on a longer project, you may be tempted to quit halfway through. Start with a corner of the room, a closet, or a bookshelf and focus solely on that space. Another idea is to set a 15-minute timer and stop cleaning the minute it turns off (via The Savvy Sparrow). You'll be amazed at how much better you'll feel by taking small steps to get organized.

Another strategy is having a clutter-free space in your home or office where nothing is allowed to land on it if it's not in use, and slowly continue to expand this idea to other places. Moreover, many sources suggest choosing a shelf to de-clutter, picking up five things and putting them away, or visualizing how you want your room to look before beginning (via Zen Habits). Finally, try reading up on the ancient Chinese art of keeping your living space calm called feng shui. Having clear windows, an unhindered path into your home, and artwork hung high could be great guidelines to set while you are working through your organizational process.

It's no surprise that the places we keep reflect what's important to us, but these same places could also reflect what's bothering us. By decluttering our homes and offices, we could be setting ourselves up for a more calm and peaceful existence. All we need to do is start small and appreciate the physical and mental benefits that come from the organization.