Cleaning Can Keep You Sane (and Safe from COVID-19)

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Most people have a schedule for their busy lives, but the pandemic has affected everyone’s plans and forced everyone to stay at home and cancel everything. Though many parents at first loved to spend more time with their children, many of them soon found out that the global pandemic is causing them more stress when everyone is spending it at home.

In countries such as China, divorce rates have gone up after the lockdown, while many parents in the United States and Europe cannot cope with the demands of homeschooling their children. Many essential workers are also gripped by another kind of anxiety: separation from family and the possible spread of the disease to loved ones. But psychologists say that there is something you can do at home to ease the stress and lessen the likelihood of the virus spreading into your home: Clean.

The Organizing Boom and Trend

Marie Kondo garnered fame and notoriety when her organizing strategy hit the bookshelves and television. But she is not the only one. There are various videos online that show how people can organize their clutter. There are boxes and modular furniture that conceal and control any mess, from the laundry to make-up bottles.

In 2010, a study measured how people talked about their homes. Those who used the words’ messy’ or ‘cluttered’ were more likely the ones feeling depressed or tired. When the researchers measure the stress hormones of these individuals, they found that they had high levels of cortisol, a hormone the body releases during stressful times.

In another study, researchers found that people who kept clean homes or had a habit of organizing their houses led healthier lives and were more likely to describe their homes as ‘restful.’ Those who clean their homes use it as a way to control their environment. At a time when everything else is awry and beyond your control, the best way to manage your anxiety is to focus on a small task that you can accomplish.

That might mean washing the dishes or cleaning the bathroom, but psychologists explain that anything you do to clean your environment often leads to focused and clear thinking. A clean environment can also affect you on a subconscious level. Messy houses distract and create negative emotions, while an organized space (whether a work table or a kitchen) can induce positive feelings tied with accomplishing goals and concentration.

Cleanliness Is Your Best Ally

woman cleaning house

And in these times, sometimes your best practice is to keep your home hygienic. You might not be able to call a professional if you want some air duct cleaning or carpet cleaning, but if you have children, encourage them to help you do simple cleaning tasks. Cleaning time doesn’t have to be a big project; do it in small increments so that it won’t be a chore. They can clean their toys and put them away, while teens can help with wiping and sanitizing tables, doorknobs, and chairs. You can also cover your electronic gadgets such as the TV remote control or the console joysticks with a cover that is quickly disinfected.

Clean your home in stages. Organizing any home is complicated and takes a lot of time, so do your cleaning a day at a time. You can first create a triage of the mess in your house: those that you need, things that are not often used, and things you don’t need. Doing this on the first day can make your home less cluttered. Then the next day, you can start cleaning one or two rooms, with everyone pitching in.

Cleaning gives anyone some sense of purpose, even if it’s just using a clean toilet or sleeping in a warm and clean bed. These simple things might seem small. ut to anyone who is stressed and feeling anxious, a clean and comfortable home is the best stress reliever.

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