The mental and emotional benefits of spring cleaning

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Hibernation is necessary in the depths of winter when even thinking about taking a single step out into the cold is enough to give you the shivers. During the winter months, it’s totally normal to spend more time indoors collecting takeout containers, dust, and some Netflix-binge-induced pounds. But as the sun starts to make its grand return post-daylight saving, it’s time to push away the clutter and make room for a new season.

Apart from the obvious benefits of donating that sweater you haven’t worn since college to make room for a new pair of nude slingbacks, spring cleaning offers a slew of surprising emotional, mental, and professional benefits too.

Here, life coaches dish on the details:

Spring cleaning reduces your stress

Even if you know exactly where everything is in your bedroom and where to step to avoid smashing something or stubbing your toes excessive clutter has a bigger impact on your mental state than you may realize. As life coach Rachel DeAlto says, unnecessary messes can induce higher levels of cortisol in women, making them feel overwhelmed and anxious to the max. “Our homes can become cluttered gradually throughout busy days and months, and a good cleaning — especially throwing away or donating what is not used — can remove that added stress,” she explains.

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

It clears away old, negative energy

Whether or not you believe in the powers of the universe, read your horoscope, or report the ability to feel vibes around you, law of attraction coach Christy Whitman says the aftermath of winter leaves behind stale, old energy. This is especially true if you’ve had difficult personalities in your home from naysaying parents to tantrum-heavy toddlers throughout the winter months. As she explains, subconsciously and consciously, you’re affected by positive and negative currents every time you walk through your front door.

As you’re sorting through your closet, recreation room, and kitchen, Whitman suggests sweeping away the old energy in exchange for a brighter atmosphere. Even if it’s a mere mental shift, it can be a meaningful one: “If the energy is based on fear, doubt, frustration, it lowers the energy in the home. When you ask the old vibes to leave the house, it makes room for a higher vibration that affects our daily energy,” she shares.

Cleaning house helps you to live in the moment

As more and more studies indicate, true, genuine happiness is derived from a collection of experiences instead of material objects. Whether it’s picking up and catching a last-minute flight to Europe, volunteering for a week in South America, or having one too many bottles of wine with your best friends, these memories are fulfilling and important to both your everyday and long-term joy.

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

Life coach and hypnotherapist Alexandra Janelli explains when you rid your home and life of unneeded items that you’re holding on to “in case you wear them one day,” you’re also releasing any fears tied to them, as well. “Fear of throwing things out or worrying if you’ll need it again one day despite not using it in years — is a cluttered way to live. Moving things out of the home to throw away, donate, or swap with friends is a great way to create a space more conducive to simple, in-the-moment living,” she explains.

Spring cleaning helps you stay healthy

Take a quick audit of your living room: What do you see? If you’re spotting 2-day-old dishes on the coffee table, dirty laundry spread across the floor, and half-opened mail on your mantel, you might sigh at the idea of tidying up. As certified coach and motivational speaker Keren Eldad explains, when your home is piled up, you instantly feel more lethargic and uninspired. This means you’re less likely to take a morning jog with a pal or a post-work spin class. The clutter has the power to affect your eating habits too, leading you to reach for what’s accessible instead of what’s most nutritious. But when you make a shift in your routine by clearing away the debris, Eldad says you’ll create a ripple effect in other facets of your life, resulting in a healthier lifestyle. “Habits are generally formed in loops, so if you take the time to clear things up, you will definitely see that you will want to take that to the next level with your physical well-being too. This means that upon witnessing your amazing ability to have a clean and orderly house, you will want to eat more healthily, hit the gym, and more,” she explains.

It helps improve your mood

Being up close and personal with physical chaos in your home can change your tune from an optimistic one while you’re out and about, to a negative one when you kick off your shoes. Whitman notes that intentional or not, many people tie feelings to physical items (like guilt over a pile you shoulda-coulda-woulda cleaned weeks ago). The process of spring cleaning will remove those connections, and in return, elevate your mood when you’re working, having dinner with your family, or grabbing a morning coffee, by allowing you to concentrate. “If there are less things that are pulling your attention, such as clutter and messes, there are less things to focus on, leaving less feelings of being overwhelmed,” she shares.

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

A spring cleaning will help motivate you at work

Chances are it’s not only your bedroom or kitchen that’s taken a beating over the winter. Many times a messy way of personal living translates far beyond our home and all the way to our offices or cubicles. Eldad explains many professionals will become intimidated by stacks of paper, half-finished reports, and other take-homes freebies from networking functions that gather in their working space. When you apply the same practice of spring cleaning to your career, you’ll experience heightened levels of productivity. How come? You’ll actually be able to see the responsibilities set before you, instead of being distracted by disorder.

“It’s the same reason good time managers with a regimented schedule get so much more done: We have finite time and energy. Big tasks take lots of time and energy. If you are filling them with small and less important tasks, or you are so disorganized that you cannot even see them, you will either not get them done, or do them very poorly,” she explains.

When you have a clear space, Eldad says you reveal a more conducive and creative area to power through your 9-5 so you can enjoy the freshness of your after-work lifestyle.

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