Oh, the joy of spring cleaning. If you’ve been feeling the strong urge to deep-clean your home as the temperature rises and flowers start blooming, you’re not alone.
According to Marni Amsellem, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Smart Health Psychology, spring is a time of renewal in both nature and popular culture, which explains the desire to hit the reset button. After a long winter, we feel the need to shed layers and get moving, and the feeling of accomplishment that comes from cleaning our homes helps us achieve that.
As Dr. Dawn Potter, PsyD, a clinical psychologist in Cleveland, explained in an episode of Cleveland Clinic’s Health Essentials podcast, our energy levels naturally fluctuate with the seasons. During the winter, our energy levels can dip, but in the spring, we experience a surge of increased energy as days become brighter, warmer, and we spend more time outdoors.
However, the drive to improve our homes’ aesthetic and functionality isn’t solely due to seasonal shifts. It can also be an ongoing coping mechanism for dealing with daily stress and anxiety. “Cleaning and organizing can help us feel more in control of our immediate environment,” says Amsellem. Who wouldn’t want to feel that way year-round?
As spring arrives, it serves as a reminder for us to declutter, sanitize, and systematize. In this regard, let’s delve into the psychological advantages of spring cleaning.
Spring Cleaning Provides a Sense of Authority
For numerous individuals, tidying up their living space gives a substantial emotional boost that is exclusively connected to having authority over their surroundings. “Cleaning is not only satisfying for many people but also an effective way to alleviate stress and anxiety,” explains Potter. “When people face other problems that they can’t tackle at that moment, or they feel overwhelmed, they find that cleaning helps them regain a sense of control.” Amsellem affirms that “when everything in life feels uncontrollable, keeping our homes orderly and clean is a way for us to have some power over our environment, which can also impact our overall sense of control.”
Intentional and Ritualistic: The Benefits of Regular Cleaning
Rituals are deeply ingrained in our lives and can have a powerful impact on our well-being. Incorporating cleaning into your daily routine, regardless of what that looks like for you, can contribute to a healthier lifestyle in a multitude of ways. According to Potter, having a visually appealing and tidy space to wake up to and return to at the end of a long workday can provide a sense of peace and tranquility. This is particularly true for those working from home, where a clean and organized workspace can promote productivity and focus.
Amsellem emphasizes that the practice of keeping a clean home is a longstanding tradition in many cultures around the world. Maintaining order and cleanliness in the home is deeply valued in these cultures and is seen as a way to promote calm and energize the space. Regular cleaning, as well as periodic deep cleanses, can have a positive impact on both our physical and mental well-being.
In addition to promoting a sense of calm, keeping a clean home can also help to reduce stress and anxiety. When our living space is cluttered and disorganized, it can contribute to feelings of overwhelm and can make it difficult to relax and unwind. Conversely, a clean and well-organized space can promote a sense of control and stability, which can help to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
In conclusion, incorporating regular cleaning into your daily routine can have a powerful impact on your overall well-being. Whether you choose to perform a deep cleanse periodically or simply tidy up on a daily basis, taking the time to nourish your living space is a valuable practice that can promote both physical and mental health.
It’s vitalizing and Soothing
Household chores are more than just a mundane task; they have the potential to offer a sense of calm and revitalization. Whether it’s sweeping the floors or disinfecting the counters, these activities demand a certain level of mindfulness that allows you to disconnect from the virtual world and become more attuned to your personal space. Additionally, the fruits of your labor can have a remarkably positive effect on your mental state. A clean and organized room can feel both invigorating and calming, creating a sense of order and control in your surroundings.
According to Amsellem, the visual feedback we receive after cleaning and organizing plays a crucial role in our emotional state. The immediate and tangible results serve as a reminder that we have taken charge and are now more in control. Conversely, a cluttered space can be overwhelming and emotionally draining. The feeling of being lost and powerless can impact our mental health, leading to a sense of powerlessness and reduced self-confidence.
In summary, household chores offer a unique opportunity for mindfulness and provide an avenue for mental and emotional rejuvenation. By taking charge of our living spaces, we can create a sense of order and control that can translate into other aspects of our lives, ultimately leading to increased self-efficacy and confidence.