If the world's getting you down, the very thought of putting on some Marigolds and giving your home a good going-over can be a bit much. But for many people, cleaning can be a great form of therapy.
Not only can the process of cleaning help to calm your mind as you focus on the task at hand and forget about other worries, having a sparkling living space when you're finished can give your mental health a welcome boost.
A good tidy-up – or even just a dash around with one of the best cordless vacuum cleaners or making the bed – can be therapeutic, boost productivity and help you feel a bit more together in your life. "Cleaning can be incredible for boosting your mental health," says Asma Ahmed, therapist advisor at SupportRoom, a network of experienced, licensed therapists. "Some people spend a few hours out of the week or even a full day dedicated to cleaning. When we say cleaning, this can involve anything from decluttering the bedroom to sanitising the kitchen. Tidying can also involve redecorating your living space!"
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Ahmed has identified five key ways in which cleaning can benefit your mental health:
1. Feel more productive
"Accomplishing a goal, even as simple as making your bed, can make you feel like you have a purpose and more put-together. You can sort through your belongings and get rid of things that you no longer need. A great place to start is your wardrobe, make time to sort through your clothes and donate unwanted garments to charity."
2. Cleaning as therapy
"Some people find cleaning meditative, and a chance to think. Washing the dishes, for example, can also make you feel as if you’re tidying up your mind."
3. Providing a distraction
"You might find that tidying can be a good distraction from your thoughts and feelings. Sometimes we need a break, and cleaning can feel like accomplishing two jobs in one. You can also deep clean your home; this usually takes a bit longer than a brief hoover. You might find that the time spent and full concentration on spring cleaning can better your mood."
4. Clearing your mind
"A few minutes spent tidying is always beneficial. But you might find spring cleaning a worthwhile activity. If you suffer from certain mental health problems, such as seasonal depression, you might find it rewarding to do a deep clean."
5. Improving your mental health
"People say “clean room, clear mind” for a reason! Cleaning can make you think clearer and be more mindful. Cleaning is a physical experience that releases endorphins — natural chemical messengers that are released during exercise that elevate your mood. When you solve a problem or complete an activity, you experience a release of positive emotions."
So if you're feeling down in the dumps, try getting out the vacuum cleaner or maybe just flick a duster around for a bit. And even if you're not feeling happier at the end, you'll at least benefit from a cleaner and tidier home for a while.