Mental Health Homemaking: Cleaning

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Hello sweet friends! Today, I am talking about a very important subject. I am sharing with you a portion of my experience with an anxiety disorder and how I used cleaning as an adjuvant therapy on my road to "rehabilitation". Cleaning remains such a big part of my day, since it is the most important task by which I can exercise control and keep my cortisol levels at bay (that nasty stress hormone).

We know that 2 in 5 women worldwide will experience some type of mental health issue at some point in their lives. These conditions disempower us, and wreak havoc in our lives. A cluttered and dirty space is often a reflection of the disarray present in our minds. In addition, our space is closely tied to our identity due to the nature of our personal choices. It is therefore essential that we take initiative in caring for our space in raising our self-esteem.

Studies show that animals with clean environments tend to prosper, and humans surrounded by pleasant smells and decluttered spaces exude happiness.

It is important to note that EVERYONE can use cleaning as a tool to minimize stress. Nobody is immune to tragedy and hardship. I also wanted to encourage women of all ages to engage in homemaking. Whether you live with your parents and you are responsible for your own room or you live in a large family home, cleaning can be a helpful tool in your journey toward stability.

In the video, I discussed the importance of movement in triggering "happy hormones" in your daily routine. When you are dealing with a mental health issue, a few seconds of joy and satisfaction can provide you with the encouragement you need to make it through the hard times. Cleaning is also an excellent way see a project through from start to finish. When suffering from a mental illness, we often feel worthless. Being able to accomplish something can serve as needed motivation.

As for the tips, I wanted to provide you with a bullet point list. Please watch the video if you want elaboration on each.

  • Choose 3 SIMPLE cleaning tasks to accomplish everyday
  • Write these 3 tasks on a piece of paper or in a notebook. Re-write them everyday. Make sure they are written in a visible place (next to the coffee machine, on your fridge, on your nightstand, etc.)
  • These tasks must take 5 minutes or less
  • Choose VISIBLE tasks - for example, vacuuming your main living space, wiping down the counters, scrubbing your sink 
  • Once you have gone through at least one successful week (I encourage 2 or more) where you have completed your 3 tasks everyday, you can choose new tasks. 
  • You can also add 1 bonus task per day (5 minutes), that will contribute to a larger goal (for example, a clean kitchen). For example, wiping down the kitchen cabinets today, and wiping down the fridge shelves tomorrow or over the course of 2 days. 
  • Hire or ask family and friends for help in cleaning your home thoroughly once, acting like a "reset". You can take it from there with your 3 things.
  • Make sure that you do something before cleaning that subconsciously sets the tone for your cleaning - like a form of ritual. This could include putting in some essential oils into your diffuser, or putting on some music. I suggest something of low stimulus that helps calm the mind - for example, classical music (no lyrics) (my favorite playlist is "Classical Music for Reading" on Spotify). 


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