4 Ways Spring Cleaning Impacts Your Mental Health

Imagine this: You open your windows and inhale the fresh, cool air while the birds outside are simultaneously singing a beautiful symphony as they dance amongst the newly blooming flowers. Spring is most certainly in the air.

As nature officially marks the beginning of this new season, most of us like to do the same with our own ritual: spring cleaning.

When we hear the term “spring cleaning,” we think of packing up our winter coats until next season, decluttering messes that have accumulated over the last few months, organizing projects, deep cleaning tasks, and preparing the yards for outdoor living in warmer weather. Basically, a MOUNTAIN of tasks.

“Though it’s mostly a physical act, most people don’t realize that they are actually refreshing and renewing their mental spaces, too,” shares Bridget DeFiccio LPC, Senior Vice President of Integrated Health at Acenda.

But these tasks can be seen as big and impossible at time.

So what do we do?

Tips for Effective Spring Cleaning

To tackle your spring cleaning a bit more effectively, Acenda Integrated Health recommends the following tips:

Start small. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to complete your entire house in one day. Instead, start with just one area or room. “Maybe start by first reorganizing your closet,” suggests Ms. DeFiccio, “and then slowly make your way over to your dressers. Once you go room by room, you will have reorganized and decluttered your entire living space before you even realize it over a rather short period of time.”

mother with her two kids spring cleaning

Involve others. If you share a living space with family or friends, you can utilize this as an opportunity to build better relationships. Together, you can brainstorm creative ideas to “spruce up” your area or even identify objects that are maybe taking up space that can be gifted or donated. “And if you live alone, don’t be afraid to ask for help,” shares Ms. DeFiccio. “It’s a lot easier to go after a bigger task, like spring cleaning, with some assistance.”

Set a timer. You don’t have to dedicate entire days to the laborious task of cleaning. Instead, you can create time blocks of, say, 30 minutes per day, where your only focus is on cleaning – null of distractions such as texting. When you fully dedicate your attention to the task at-hand, you’ll be surprised to see how much cleaning or organizing you may actually accomplish.

Make it fun. Have you ever considered blasting your favorite music across your speakers and dancing while you wash the dishes? Or how about playing your favorite movie in the background so that you can recite the lines while you clean the living room? It is important to remember that doing chores doesn’t have to be such a chore if you incorporate tools that you enjoy into the task!

Positive Impacts of Spring Cleaning

According to Ms. DeFiccio, some of our spring-cleaning tasks can actually improve our mental health:

1. You can increase your focus. By removing any potential distractions, your mind can better focus on specific tasks at-hand – especially if you work from home. “Surrounding yourself in chaos, like clutter or actual mess, can actually impact your brain’s ability to process information,” shares Ms. DeFiccio. By organizing and cleaning your environment, research has shown that you can actually become more productive, increase your ability to retain information, boost your concentration and improve your critical thinking skills.

2. You can boost your mood. Studies have shown that clean sheets and an organized room can lead to a better night of sleep, which ultimately leads to a handful of mental and emotional health benefits including a better overall mood. Additionally, The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has noted that the actual physical activity of cleaning – when coupled with a cleaner house – can lead to a reduction in anxiety and overall depressive symptoms.

3. You can reduce your stress. “By constantly looking at everything that needs to be cleaned, you can induce stress without even realizing it,” Ms. DeFiccio. “So, if you minimize those visual cues, you can alleviate some stress.” Reducing stress in your life is important, as it can potentially lead to other health conditions such as high blood pressure, gastrointestinal issues, anxiety, and depression. “Too many items can not only take over your home, but your mind and body, too,” she adds.

4. You can benefit your physical health – which impacts your mental health, too. Experts have explained that not only can cleaning remove potential allergens such as dust, pollen, mildew and pet dander, but it can rid your environment of pollutants, too, which can impact your immune health. In fact, studies have shown that people living in tidier homes tend to be in better health than those who live in messier environments. “The mind-body connection is ever-present,” comments Ms. DeFiccio.

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