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How Having A Tidy Home Can Support Good Mental Health

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How Having A Tidy Home Can Support Good Mental Health

If you’re feeling stressed or anxious, or you have a low mood, there’s a vast range of factors that could be influencing the way you feel. But if you simply can’t get to the bottom of why you’re feeling the way you do, then could clutter and disorder in your home be an underlying cause? Or, could having an untidy home be adding to your mental health problems?

Studies suggest that it could very well be. Researchers have found that those with clean, tidy homes tend to be physically healthier and more likely to exercise than those who lived in messy, cluttered homes.

And it isn’t just our physical health that benefits. Another study found that of the women studied, those who used words such as “cluttered” to describe their homes or that they were “full of unfinished projects” were more likely to feel tired and depressed than those who described their homes as “restful” and “restorative”. What’s more, those in cluttered homes had higher levels of the hormone cortisol, which is responsible for increased stress levels.

Other studies have also found that being surrounded by mess and untidiness can make focus and concentration more difficult, and sleeping in an unmade bed can disrupt sleep patterns. Feeling frustrated at poor performance and having consistently poor sleep can lead to anxiety, stress and depression.

So it’s clear, keeping a tidy house, really can keep a tidy mind.

We don’t have to go all out Marie Kondo. (For those not in the know, Marie Kondo is responsible for the KonMari method – a style of tidying up and decluttering that’s quite intense – you’re advised to only keep things that “spark joy” and to get rid of everything else.)

Instead, we can try to keep on top of mess by putting things away as soon as we’ve used them, or dedicating time each day to a quick tidy up. We know, it’s school holidays, plus we’ve been living in strange times where more household members have been home more often, either working, studying, convalescing or quarantining.

But spending some time each day emptying the dishwasher, making the bed, putting laundry away and picking up the usual detritus of family life, really can make for a clearer head.

Of course, this assumes that your clutter is only superficial. If you have long term, deep seated untidiness from months of being confined to home, it’s going to require a deep de-clutter. Don’t tackle it all at once, instead tackle one room/cupboard/drawer/table at a time until your home feels lighter. That way, the daily tidy up will feel less daunting.

Get the whole family involved, and if you have little ones, try to make it fun by turning it into a game (bigger little ones might see straight through this and need a little more encouragement or bribery).

Putting your feet up in a home that’s tidy and clean truly is time for breathing a deep sigh of satisfaction. And there’s no better feeling!

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