When in the midst of bipolar depression, I let a lot go. And cleaning is the furthest thing from my mind. When I begin feeling better I find myself playing “catch-up.” But seeing as how I’ve allowed myself to fall so far behind, it’s a bit overwhelming. In the past when I’d find myself in such a situation, I’d freeze-up and fall victim to paralysis analysis. Because I didn’t know where to start, I simply didn’t start at all! But when things get to this level of disarray, it doesn’t really matter where you start, just as long as you start!
When Cleaning. . .
I try not to view the whole job as one. I try to only focus on what’s in front of me in the moment, practicing mindfulness.
INSTEAD OF THINKING → “I’m going to clean my bedroom”
I THINK THIS → “I’m going to start on my bedroom.” -OR- “I’m going to clean this corner of my bedroom.”
I’ve found that not only do I feel less overwhelmed, but I tend to clean for longer periods of time and get more accomplished. AND, I’ve even come to find cleaning relaxing and therapeutic! Yes, therapeutic. In fact, I’m adding cleaning to my coping toolbox. To me it’s a win-win. Right now I need to do a whole lot of cleaning, so I’m going to try cleaning as my new go-to coping tool.
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- SENSE OF CONTROL: Difficult emotions can make us feel out of control, particularly anxiety. Cleaning helps us regain the sense of control that these difficult emotions steal from us. We have control over what & how we clean. Cleaning is grounding in a way. Simple but effective.
- DE-CLUTTERS THE MIND: A cluttered environment leads to a cluttered mind, and vice versa. A cluttered space can be difficult to concentrate in. Cleaning can also provide us with that feeling of a “clean slate” or a “fresh start.”
- SCRUB AWAY AGGRESSION: Worried? Fearful? Angry? Take it out on that kitchen floor! Cleaning provides us with a healthy way to take out our aggression.
- SENSE OF ACCOMPLISHMENT W/TANGIBLE + IMMEDIATE PAY-OFF: We’re immediately rewarded for our hard-work. We can plainly see the results of our efforts. We can’t help but to feel good about an accomplishment.
- PHYSICAL ACTIVITY: Cleaning involves physical activity which gets our heart rates up. And physical activity is good for our psychological well-being.
- MINDFULNESS: Focusing on only the present moment, in a non-judgmental nature, reduces anxiety. Mindfulness improves overall well-being, physical health, & mental health. You might also like: Add Mindfulness to Your Daily Routine!
- GENERATE IDEAS + GET INSPIRED: While mindfulness is awesome, sometimes allowing our minds to wander is equally awesome, & productive! Why do you think we come up with our best ideas in the shower?? I find that cleaning provides us that same opportunity. I often pause to jot down ideas generated while cleaning!
- GRATITUDE: This is a great time to remind ourselves that we are lucky to even have homes to clean. Gratitude is humbling, grounding, & good for our well-being. You might also like: 15 Simple Ways to Cultivate Gratitude.
When done properly, mindful dishwashing decreased nervousness by 27% & increased mental inspiration by 25%, according to a study shared on PsyBlog.
I never thought I would hear myself say, “cleaning is relaxing.” Weird. But it is. I’ve added cleaning to my coping toolbox and I think you should too!
Do you find cleaning relaxing, therapeutic, or even downright enjoyable? Do you think you’ll add cleaning to your coping toolbox? Leave a Comment!