As the days get longer and the flowers start to bloom, it’s time to give your home a fresh, spring feeling. Spring cleaning is about clearing out the clutter and taking the time to do those household chores you keep putting off. There’s a great reward in the virtuous feeling you get when all the tasks are complete.

Benefits of Spring Cleaning

Spring cleaning is an important annual activity because it is symbolic of refreshing our lives and our minds after the cold, dark months of winter. Not only does the weather get warmer and sunnier in spring, it’s also a time of renewal in nature. Spring can inspire us to make a fresh start, and the arrival of pleasant weather makes positive thinking and actions feel much more achievable. This is because sunlight leads to an increase in serotonin in the body, a chemical that elevates your mood and improves social interactions.

Spring Cleaning and Mental Health

It’s easy to see that spring cleaning is good for our physical health, as living among dust and dirt can lead to illnesses, but scientific studies have shown it’s also good for our mental health. According to a study by the Institute of Living’s Anxiety Disorder Center, clutter and, on a grander scale, hoarding, can be seriously detrimental to a person’s well-being. Hoarding is often associated with mental health problems such as OCD and depression.

Removing difficult items from your to-do list reduces stress and the weight of responsibility, things that can demotivate you from taking on other tasks. Clutter can be a cause of fatigue and increases the level of the stress hormone cortisol, according to anthropologists who studied women in the family home in middle-class America. An additional benefit comes from the exercise involved in cleaning. 20 minutes of sustained exercise a week, which could be achieved through cleaning, can reduce the severity of symptoms of depression, according to the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Whether you’re prone to hoarding or just procrastinating about getting through some unpleasant chores, there’s no doubt that spring cleaning will give your mood a boost. Once you get your home in order and see the benefits, it will be easier to put in place an ongoing plan to keep the place clean and tidy.

Sources:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/health/alternative-medicine/3354156/Health-Why-a-spring-clean-is-good-for-you.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3506167/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11888576

http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/35/2/114.abstract

http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/obsessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd/hoarding-basics