Cleaning as a form of stress relief

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Stress is something that can creep upon us all. It is a terrible affliction when it strikes as if we are not prepared for it we can take it out on those we love most. If I am stressed and hungry and my husband leaves his golf clubs in the wrong place, he will pay the price. If I am relaxed and in a good mood, I simply move his golf clubs. While he knows that they belong in a certain place and does his best to leave them there, he sometimes forgets. It is not a big deal and he doesn’t deserve to be shouted at for a simple error. Worse than that he doesn’t deserve to be eternally confused by the range of emotions I show him during these moments. To solve this problem, I have come up with a stress solution. My solution is not particularly crazy, it is not that innovative, but it works. My solution is to clean.

Please don’t misunderstand this idea and picture a really angry woman cleaning the house and taking her anger out on the dishes, that is not what is happening and that would not work. If there is a problem it must be solved but sometimes when we stress we find problems where there are none. I find if I clean that my stress is reduced and the issues don’t seem so serious.

Cleaning is great to relieve stress because first of all a messy house is one of the key causes of stress. It is a subtle difference but when you come into your home and the house is in a mess it can just put you in a bad mood. When you come into the home and everything is in its place, it can make you feel great. You often don’t notice these little shifts but they are there. By cleaning up the mess in your home you are removing one of the big stress causes. A recent study asked individuals to indicate what their home was like on a meter from messy to tidy. Those who ranked their homes as more tidy had lower levels of cortisol and chronic stress. A mess clearly causes stress.

Exercise is another great stress reliever but if you don’t have the time for a 5k run then cleaning the house is a way to keep active and knock off some of the chores you have to tend to. Some experts estimate that 30 minutes of cleaning can burn over 125 calories. Keeping active is a great way to stop the mind from falling into a stress pit.

Mindfulness has become very popular in the last few years. The idea is that by focusing on something you don’t allow your mind to wander and become stress about work or family. Many people choose to color in or meditate but it also works well with cleaning. By really focusing on the task at hand you can relieve stress effectively. 

Sometimes we feel stressed because life is getting away from us. During the pandemic crisis, many people’s lives have been affected. Plans have changed, jobs have been lost and there is nothing that we could do to stop it. A simple act like cleaning your oven that has been in a bad state for too long is a nice way to take back control of the little things in your life. 

Cleaning can, in essence, make you feel like you have achieved something. Studies have shown that those who have tidied up their house feel more relaxed, less stressed, and all-around better. So the next time you are feeling a little stressed instead of taking it out on your family, take out the trash.