The WellSpan Spotlight

Health and wellness

Spring-clean your mind as you spring-clean your home

Spring-clean your mind as you spring-clean your home

Warmer weather has arrived and that means it's time to prepare for summer. Throw open those windows and start to tackle those cleaning projects you put off during the colder months.

Not only is spring-cleaning good for your home but it's also good for your mental state as well. It can improve your mood and help reduce symptoms of stress and anxiety, explained Elenore Sowal, senior clinical director, WellSpan Philhaven.

"Cleaning can help you restore a sense of control over things, which in turn, provides more peace of mind and can help you feel less depressed," she said.

Sowal offers additional tips on how spring-cleaning is good for your overall well-being:

  1. It provides a feeling of accomplishment and keeps you motivated:
    • When you finish a cleaning project, there's a tangible result of your achievement. This often helps you feel motivated to continue and tackle the rest of your spring projects.
    • If you have several projects to complete, start small so you don't get overwhelmed. Tackle one chore at a time in one room at a time.
  1. It improves your focus:
    • Keeping your home clean, tidy, and clutter free can help prevent distractions and lessen tension, especially if you work from home.
    • When your environment is less cluttered, there is less visual noise, which allows you to concentrate on the task at hand rather than the noise.
  1. It boosts creativity:

    • If your living space is free from chaos, so is your mind, which can spark creativity in your work.
    • You may even feel more inspired to take on a new home or work project.

  2. It provides a work-out and burns calories:

    • Cleaning is physical – vacuuming, scrubbing, and walking back and forth gets your body moving and add steps to your daily goal.
    • After your cleaning is finished, keep up the momentum and keep moving. Take it outside.

  3. It reduces allergens that improve your breathing and sleeping:

    • Cleaning helps you eliminate dust particles and other allergens in the air and throughout the home. This leads to much better breathing and a good night's sleep.
    • In addition, when you feel less anxious and stressed, you are also prone to a better night's rest.

  4. It reduces home hazards:
    • When you put items in their proper places, there are less chances of you tripping over things in your way, which could cause an injury.
    • Effective housekeeping results in less fire hazards, spill-free areas, and slipping incidents.
  1. It can also be fun:

    • Turn your cleaning into a social event – invite family members to take part or offer to help a friend with one of their tasks. They may even reciprocate.
    • Shared goals provide accountability and are more likely to be met.

Declutter your mind as you declutter your home

Sowal also suggests a parallel exercise to consider during the spring 'clearing out' period. Set aside intentional time to carefully review your thoughts, behaviors, and relationships.

"Consider if any of them might be holding you back and work toward changing the ones which are no longer serving you very well," she added.

For more about WellSpan's behavioral health services, click here.