Coping strategies

How keeping a tidy home helps me to reduce anxiety

David Morten
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David Morten

Dave is a lively person; one you may not associate with social anxiety. Having lived with anxiety and depression for most of his life, he has learned to channel his experiences into his creative work, including story writing and playing guitar. Understanding the sensitive disposition that comes with mental health challenges, Dave feels it is important to talk and share with other individuals that share similar experiences to keep things in perspective and enjoy life.
David Morten
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Do you worry about coming back to an untidy home? Do you feel like mess and unorganised chaos gets you down? Tidiness is one of my huge bug bears. For myself, cleaning is about maintaining control. I am constantly accused of being anal but that’s fine by me. As long as my home is clean things are OK. It is one aspect of life that I am sure is completely in my hands. I cannot control how others treat me on a daily basis or what random events occur that can send me spiralling into uneasiness, self-doubt and loathing. These things are out of my hands. As someone who, admittedly, focuses more on the negatives than the positives, I like to ensure that my home is my sanctuary. I am not suggesting that this is a healthy attitude to have, nor that you can fix all life’s problems by tidying, but I do believe that there is a way to connect a clean home to a clear head.

Clean home, clear head

As Psychology Today points out, there are many disadvantages to an untidy home, both to your mental and physical wellbeing. For example, mess creates extra stimuli and issues that your brain processes as stress and makes it easier for people, even those without anxiety, to become bogged down by this.

With anxiety it can be so easy to become overwhelmed. Thoughts loop and spiral in my mind and it can only take a small issue or one negative thought to derail weeks of positivity. As I mentioned before I am very prone to this, so I try not to let my home become one of those issues; a niggling little worry at the back of my mind waiting to overcome me when you I’m feeling most content. In fact, I’ve found you can even turn it into a place that aids you.

Coming home should be a joy and a place of comfort, especially after a difficult day. There are many mindful benefits to keeping a clean home. It will be a challenge and once you are on top of things, it will be easier to maintain a cleaner way of living.

A clean home is one less thing to occupy the mind, especially when life starts to become overwhelming. I appreciate it can be tricky to find the motivation when in a low mood but there are easy steps you can take. Cleaning as you go is a huge step towards clean living. For example, making the bed as soon as you get up or rinsing a plate straight after you’ve used it can decrease clutter exponentially and once you are able to see the difference being made the rest will seem easy. It’s all about avoiding that big clear up everyone dreads. You know the one that takes almost an entire day and only gets worse the more you put it off. Once it’s finished you feel groggy, tired and filthy and not your best self. From my perspective, this can make me feel miserable for days, especially because my anxiety stems from poor self-image.

Keeping a tidy home is something that has helped me in maintaining control over a small aspect of my life, healthy or otherwise, and I’d like encourage you to do the same if it works for you. Hopefully I have provided something for you to think about. This may be helpful to some of you or maybe you have your own small routines that help you feel in control. What works for you? Let us know in the comments below.

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