Guest blog post by Julian Lane, The Fix It Champ
While some people love the act of cleaning, for a lot of us, it simply feels like a chore. After all, busting dust and washing dishes isn’t exactly a trip to the beach. However, a clean environment is essential for your physical and mental health. Not only is clutter a direct link to anxiety and depression, but an excess of dirt and grime can also trigger allergies and make you sick in other ways. While there’s nothing wrong with hiring a professional to deep clean every once in a while, it’s important to do some daily cleaning yourself. It helps keep your home sanitary, for sure, but the simple act of cleaning and decluttering can also act as a practice of mindfulness that supports your overall happiness and mental health.
Organize for Your Mental Health
How many times have you been looking for something in your home and you think “this is driving me crazy?” We’ve all been there. And as it turns out, the evidence behind the relationship between being disorganized and mental health struggles is more than anecdotal. In fact, psychologists confirm that mess causes stress.
If you want to organize and declutter your home for your family’s well-being, go room by room. Analyze all the items in your home and decide whether you want to keep, donate, or trash it. Once you’ve pared down to just the essentials, designate a home for each possession and make sure everyone in the house is aware of it. When something has its own place, it only takes moments to return it to its home. This helps keep your home organized and prevents those moments where you can’t find the thing you need when you need it.
Reduce Indoor Pollution for Your Physical Health
Believe it or not, the air inside your home may be more polluted than that outside. Dust, mold, chemical residues, and other allergens build up over time, and if you don’t take measures to clean your home and properly ventilate air, it can irritate existing health problems and instigate new ones. Improving your indoor air quality takes a multi-faceted approach:
- Adopt a “no shoes indoors” policy to prevent outside dirt and dust from being kicked up inside the house. Have a designated area next to entrances where guests can comfortably remove and stash their shoes.
- Avoid buying products that contain volatile organic compounds or VOCs. If you must use something that contains VOCs, be sure to keep the area in which you use it properly ventilated and wear proper protection for your eyes, nose, and throat. There are many green-friendly alternatives you can use to keep your family safe.
- Add indoor plants to your decor to clean your air naturally. Not only do they absorb carbon dioxide and release clean oxygen for your family’s health, but houseplants also help create a more relaxing environment for your mental health.
- Make sure you’re using a quality vacuum to rid your home of dirt, dust, pet hair, and allergens. Consider purchasing a commercial model for its extra suction power.
Clean Mindfully for a Happier Life
As mentioned, not everyone loves cleaning. The whole idea of having to take time out of your busy schedule to sweep and mop doesn’t appeal to a large number of people. However, if you approach the process with the right mindset, cleaning can be a great opportunity for boosting mindfulness for a happier life overall.
Buddhist monk and author Thich Nhat Hanh shares his perspective on the power of mindful cleaning in his book The Miracle of Mindfulness. Hanh illustrates this through the act of washing the dishes. Instead of letting one’s mind wander, one should be “completely aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes.” Hanh encourages readers to stress the wondrous reality of the chore despite its simplicity. Not only does this make it more enjoyable, but it also garners kindness and a sense of appreciation that is beneficial for your self-esteem.
It’s time to put aside negative feelings toward cleaning and embrace the chore as a powerful tool that supports your physical and mental health. Getting rid of clutter and organizing the home can help prevent feelings of anxiety and depression. A clean home also has less indoor pollution that can irritate and instigate illness. Finally, cleaning gives you the opportunity to practice mindfulness, which contributes to an overall happier life.