Many of us simply dread of cleaning: It is labor-intensive, it gets your hands dirty, greasy, slimy, smelly, … all and every type of discomfort that could possibly exist. Some would go as far as swearing to never do the dishes even once in their life. And yet, for some other people, cleaning is simply […]
Many of us simply dread of cleaning: It is labor-intensive, it gets your hands dirty, greasy, slimy, smelly, … all and every type of discomfort that could possibly exist. Some would go as far as swearing to never do the dishes even once in their life.
And yet, for some other people, cleaning is simply the ultimate form of zen. They would get off the table after some stressful working session, do some cleaning, and get back on the table with their mind completely refreshed.
So what exactly is the reason for this drastic difference? How can we begin to tap into this strange healing power of cleaning that seems exclusive to a certain group of people? In this article, we will provide you with a beginner’s guide on cleaning habits that can help you stay optimistic.
As studies have pointed out, simple cleaning chores and the satisfying outcomes coming from them can go a long way in boosting our mental health. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America indicates that the physical activity of cleaning, paired with a cleaner home as the fruits of such activities, helps reduce stress, feelings of anxiety, and symptoms of depression. Cleaning can also help with fatigue and improve concentration.
And here are a number of ways how cleaning helps keep you positive
A lot of these cleaning activities, such as mopping a glass window, or doing the dishes (yeah, dishwashing haters, you heard it), etc. involve small, repetitive actions that can easily be auto-piloted. They act very similarly to the simple calming rituals that athletes often use in competitions, which are easily doable, and very effective at calming your heart down. Depending on the type of chores, they may also give you a free ASMR therapy section.
On top of that, the fact that you can do these activities without focusing too much means you can drift your mind elsewhere in the process, sort of like how you often do when taking a bath, taking a shower, or doing your business in the toilet. The 30-60 minutes or a couple of hours being used for the task also gives you the necessary distance from your work, thus allowing you to properly relax or at least refresh your thinking process on the work if it is still on your mind.
Another way by which cleaning can benefit your mental health is that it restores the cleanliness and orderliness of your living space and workspace. Nothing feels more positive and satisfying than looking at a clean, orderly work desk, or a dish rack full of sparkling clean dishes and an uncluttered kitchen sink, especially when they are the outcomes of your hard work.
A cluttered workspace and living space can tamper with the brain’s ability to process information. For that reason, decluttering these spaces certainly will pump up your productivity and mood. Researchers have discovered that people are less irritable, less distracted, more productive, and process information more effectively when working in an uncluttered and organized work area.
Another way by which cleaning makes you feel positive is by giving you the small victories in the sparkling clean objects that you have just cleaned, or the orderly bookshelf, work desk, etc. that you have just rearranged. These small accomplishments, especially when gained with some basic, decently doable routine, can easily subconsciously sparkle the flames of joy in your heart. This, together with the physical activities, constitutes the very same principle by which team-building activities work.
Related article: The Relationship Between Mental Health and Cleaning (Verywell mind)
While having such great benefits, people are often reluctant to pick up simple cleaning chores. The biggest barrier that scares people away is the step from 0 to 1: Any of these chores seem on the outside to be quite intimidating, quite a lot of hassle, and quite dirty. Here is how you can get over this fear and take up cleaning:
So, as quite a few people are reluctant to take up even the tasks that most people consider as simple, we will tell you one thing: They are actually really simple. All you need to do is to look up a decent guide on how to do the job, faithfully follow it, and enjoy the results of cleaning.
As an example, dishwashing is actually one of the simplest tasks because the dish soaps would be able to take care of most types of stuck-in food and stains and leaves you with sparkling clean dishes, especially when you start the job early before these problem spots could dry up and solidify. And once you are done with the dishes, the hand soap and sometimes a few slices of lemon can get rid of most odors and stickiness on your hands. Simple cleaning agents would do most of the heavy lifting, leaving you with only minimal scrubbing jobs to do.
It is true that you will need to put in some work, but the same thing is true for lots and lots of other good things in life. And by knowing how to do it, most simple cleaning chores are very easily doable.
So once you’ve learned that the ‘small tasks’ are indeed small, they will be the first ones that you should take up.
A lot of people get overwhelmed because the of workload that “cleaning the house” entails. Little do they know that they can take this journey step by step, taking up one small cleaning activity after another. Nor do they know that even the smallest maintenances, such as doing the dishes every day, properly arranging your work desk, etc., can be tremendously beneficial for your wellbeing and can contribute to protecting your home from bigger problems.
What you will do is master the small cleaning tasks one after another, and gradually expand your pool of home cleaning skills to become a better homeowner.
A good way to keep yourself committed to integrating cleaning into your daily life is to set a specific time frame for it.
For example, I usually prefer to do the daily dishes at around 8:30 p.m. instead of immediately after the meal. That way, I can have myself a little break in the middle of my night work session; and as I filled some of the heavily food-stuck cooking utensils to soak in dish soap water, I will have the grimes and grease broken down and easily scrub-able once I begin washing the dishes.
For grander operations, such as rearranging and cleaning your already messy home, setting a specific timer can also be very helpful. Start by dedicating 20-30 minutes a day to work on the specific section of the house. While not sound like much, this short amount of time is enough for you to do a small cleaning task, such as removing the litter around the room, rearranging your wardrobe, etc.
Do one simple task, and then wait for the next day to do the rest. Doing things step by step like this will help you not get overwhelmed by the amount of work that has to be done, but still eventually attain for yourself a much better environment to live in.
Once having become accustomed to cleaning and the satisfaction of cleaning, it is actually quite easy for people to become addicted. Instead of relieving your stress, it will actually put the stress on you to complete all the cleaning tasks around the home. Some people may have such a bad compulsion they reportedly skip gathering with friends and other important activities just to get the chores done.
So as far as cleaning is meant to keep you optimistic, it is important to set a limit. Try not to do everything on your own. Being able to do a number of small tasks should be sufficient.
All of these tips should help you successfully integrate cleaning activities as habits that help improve your mental well-being and allow you to lead a happier life.
As we have discussed earlier, the cleaning habits that work best to help you stay optimistic are simple ones. They involve tasks that are simple, repetitive, easy to master, and easy to yield satisfying results. Here are some of such simple tasks that we could think of:
These are all tasks that could easily be done within the span of an hour or less. They will give you a nice disconnection from your work, and also some perceivable cleanliness as rewards.
Related article: Clean A Toilet Bowl Properly – A Comprehensive Guide
Feel like taking up cleaning yet? Sparkling and Beyond have a database of excellent cleaning tips and guides for beginners; they will ensure that your experience with cleaning is positive, and the cleaning activity you wish to learn will surely make your days better. And if you have any trouble cleaning any parts of your home, we also provide professional and affordable cleaning services for any degree of need. It’s our pleasure to assist you in keeping your home clean and your emotional life brimming with joy and positivity.