3 Ways Spring Cleaning Can Boost Your Mental Health | Guest Post by Jane Sandwood
Seasonal affectiveness disorder (SAD) is believed to affect up to 3% of the general population – between 10% and 20% of individuals living with depressive disorders, and as many as 25% of people who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. While medication, exposure to sunlight, and phototherapy are all effective at treating SAD, there are a number of other treatment avenues worth exploring. Surprisingly enough, even a collection of yearly household chores that are loathed by many homeowners could help negate the effects of SAD effectively. Spring cleaning has, in fact, been proven to have a very positive impact on an individual’s mental health.
Cleaning decreases stress and eases depression
Individuals struggling with seasonal affectiveness disorder may find their symptoms worsen when they are surrounded by dirt and clutter. While keeping your living spaces clean and tidy will undoubtedly boost your mental health, the physical actions of spring cleaning are also a great way to de-stress. According to research conducted by Kärcher, doing dishes is the most stress-relieving chore, followed by vacuuming and doing laundry. Other common spring cleaning chores that can help you kick your SAD to the curb include rearranging your pantry and changing your bedding. Preparing your garden for warmer weather can also give your mental health a wonderful boost after a long, cold winter.
Be careful not to overdo things
As much as you may want to tackle your entire spring cleaning exercise yourself, it is also in your best interest to admit when you require professional assistance, or you might actually experience increased stress levels. If you need to deal with a rat or roach infestation, for example, it may be in your best interest to enlist the services of qualified exterminators. It is also important to not tire yourself out too much, as physical exhaustion can contribute to increased stress and depression. Where possible, get the entire family involved in your spring cleaning efforts. Even young children can be assigned chores that are both age-appropriate and include an element of fun to ensure they stay actively engaged until the task is completed.
Spring cleaning indicates a new start
Spring is known to be the season of new beginnings. Spring cleaning typically includes a large-scale de-clutter that involves everything from old books and magazines, to clothes you no longer wear, and excess kitchen accessories being discarded. As you rid your home of these unwanted items, you can rid your mind of the lingering negative thoughts brought on by the SAD. Additionally, if you donate your unwanted items to goodwill instead of sending them to the landfill, you will experience the added joy derived from doing a good deed.
Cleaning promotes mindfulness
There are various mind-body techniques that make it easier for individuals to cope with SAD. One of these techniques includes mindfulness, which helps relax both the body and mind. Spring cleaning provides the perfect opportunity to practice mindfulness. While you are de-cluttering, look at your surroundings with new eyes. Even if it is still a bit chilly out, breathe in the fresh air, clear your mind, and be fully present in the moment. You can enhance the level of mindfulness you experience even more by playing ambient music in the background, which will be sure to ease your mind and calm your soul even more.
Spring cleaning provides you with the perfect opportunity to clean and tidy both your house and garden after a long, dreary winter. It can also be very effective in helping you shake off the last bit of seasonal affective disorder.