Happy Home, Happy Health
By Carol Doak, Owner of Mini Maid
We’re all looking for better ways to live healthier. We need more time to exercise, more energy, and better food choices. And no matter how hard we try to stick to a routine or remain disciplined in our diets, life seems to derail us from time to time.
Family life speeds up and gets busier or a business trip forces us to eat out. No matter how disciplined you are or how well established your health habits are, a truly healthy lifestyle requires constant effort. Any ally in your health endeavor is a welcome friend.
Fortunately, we all have a hidden ally we see everyday. It may not be an ally YET, in fact it may be sapping your energy and your health. But you can create a powerful ally in your journey to top physical health - a clean and organized home.
The home can giveth and taketh away
Time at home can re-energize you or it can sap even more energy. It may feel stressful or it may feel serene. This is exactly what Darby Sexbe and Rena Repetti reported in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Their findings show that your home is either a great ally or a terrible foe in your journey to live healthy.
The condition of your home and the way you feel about it can lift you up or drag you down. Women who described their homes as having more clutter and unfinished projects had higher stress levels, greater fatigue and a more difficult transition from work to home. And is it really surprising?
So what is it about a mess that affects us so negatively?
- The world is always vying for our attention. Clutter and mess distract us in an already distracting world. It’s hard to focus on the important things when your sitting in a mess.
- Clutter and mess reminds us of things we haven’t done. It irritates us that we didn’t do it earlier and stresses us out that we can’t do it now.
- The mess tells us that there’s a never ending pile of things to do and we’ll never get it all done. That’s stress!
- Clutter and mess make us feel guilty for not getting it done and embarrassed when friends or family drop by.
Clutter and mess are quietly sitting in the corner sapping us of our energy, many times without our conscious minds even realizing it. Every time we walk past a job unfinished or a mess uncleaned, we lose energy and focus. Our will and discipline is diminished.
Don't be a victim
- Enlist the family. You’re not alone. You don’t make all the mess and you shouldn’t have to clean it all up. Common areas can be the worst offenders, so hold a family member responsible for a certain area. Make it a game if you can. Make it something you do together. Let them know how science (like the studies above) shows you will all be better off - physically and emotionally.
- Get rid of it. If you haven’t used it and don’t see yourself using it anytime soon, take it to Goodwill or give it to a friend. If you’ll need it in three years (really, will you?), then buy it when you cross that bridge.
- Create designated places. Where are the keys!? Have you seen my wallet? Do these questions sound familiar? When you create specific places for certain items or category of items, not only will it declutter your home, but it will make life easier when it comes time to find things. Everything has a place and everything in its place.
- Finish that small project. If you’ve started on a project in your home, make the time and finish it today. However small the time investment, make haste and finish it. It will have a ripple effect across your entire well-being and may even generate momentum to tackle something else that’s been on your list.
- Bring in backup. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or would prefer to spend your time on other things, consider hiring a cleaning company to help tackle the mess. Many will offer weekly or monthly cleaning options and at a rate that may be more affordable than you think.
Your home should be your fortress of rejuvenation. Give it the attention it deserves and it will give you the peace and energy you deserve. It may seem like there just isn’t the time, but the longer you delay, the less time you will have. You may not feel it, but the longer you let the mess and clutter go, the less productive, the less healthy and the less happy you will be.