Spring Cleaning for Wellness

Title saying "spring cleaning for wellness" with image of person with a braid, apron, and gloves cleaning.

I wasn’t always organized or prioritized cleaning. In fact, my sister was the one that kicked my butt into getting my space looking fresh. I don’t know why I was like that, my mom was always cleaning the house and putting things away. Maybe I was rebelling against that? 

Over the years, I have found that tidying up and organizing my space reduces my anxiety and helps me think more clearly. I started to jump into extremes and when I had a kid, the clutter drove me crazy. It was at a point where I found myself picking things up instead of enjoying myself at home with my family. 

So when I talk about spring cleaning for wellness, it’s being mindful of what works for you. Ignoring the unattainable images of color-coded pantries and living in your truth.

Background of Spring Cleaning

As far back as I can remember, spring cleaning came up right around spring break. Looking forward to having time off of school was replaced with dread because we would need to spend time getting rid of old clothes, cleaning the garage, or deep cleaning the backyard. Funny thing is, I still have the urge to do a deep clean around spring break. 

Spring cleaning is a ritual that often happens in the spring, it can be deep clearing or getting your affairs in order. It dates back to ancient times and different cultures have a cleaning or clearing ritual. Some researchers attribute this to Nowruz where you “shakedown” the house leading to their new year. This is also true for Jewish people before Passover and Catholics during Lent and right before Good Friday. 

I find that fascinating because it was a way to cleanse your environment before starting something new. It’s a way to refresh. It’s a good way to take care of yourself, because spring cleaning for your wellness doesn’t have to mean deep cleaning your carpets but a way to clear the clutter, physically or figuratively.

Spring Cleaning & Wellness

If you’re like me, you’ve read the book by Marie Kondo and watched the Netflix show “Get Organized with the Home Edit.” I love the concept of being so clean and organized, only keeping things that give me joy. Part of me strived to have my home like that. However, I struggled with answering the question, “Does that bring you joy”? 

If you are living with depression and anxiety, that question may be hard to answer. Some of the concepts may even lead to feeling more stress and anxiety because this level of organization and cleanliness may not be sustainable. In a recent article, even Marie Kondo admitted to this. She shared that after having her third child, having a tidy home is no longer a priority. She has loosed up on the concept of a “tidy, perfect home” and instead focuses on what truly brings her joy. 

Research has shown that having a decluttered space can help anxiety, happiness, and stress levels. It can sharpen your focus and increase productivity. You focus less on cleaning up the mess and more on the task at hand. Messy spaces can cause overwhelm, I know it does for me. 

Having a clean and tidy space always makes me feel less stressed, however, there is a balance. If having a “perfect” looking house is the goal, and you find yourself always cleaning or becoming disoriented if things aren’t in “their” place this could be adding to stress and anxiety instead of alleviating it. That happened to me and it was a struggle during the first year of my child’s life. I worked with my therapist to overcome the thoughts and need for control so that I could loosen up on what I considered clean and organized.

Tips I’ve Learned & Things I’ve Tried

Even though I have made progress on this idea of achieving a “perfect” home, I still like to have things clean and tidy. Part of seeking wellness is finding what works for you, it’s not a one size fits all. Some tips I’ve learned and tried that I find helpful and may serve you.

Brain Dump

This is an act of writing everything down without overthinking. Putting everything down on paper, the lists, thoughts, reminders, all of it. I used to worry about how and where I did this, but over time I find that keeping a notebook handy and just brain-dumping anytime I feel overwhelmed helps. Putting it into practice, and doing it every night has helped me put these thoughts down somewhere other than my head. 

Create an Evening Routine

Having a consistent nighttime routine is important for your kid to wind down before bedtime. Using that same concept, I started coming up with routines for our household. It is now a habit and it helps all of us wind down. Now that my little one is almost 4 years old, he is a part of the routine. Create something simple that will help you get the house in order before going to sleep. This way you’re not staying up and getting things together and delaying your relaxation.

Our evening routine includes:

  • Bath time. While my little one is playing in the bath, I wash my face and brush my teeth. That way I’m also ready for bed. 
  • Wash Dishes. My partner and I alternate with this, so whoever is not doing bath time, washes the dishes. 
  • Pick up clutter from the living room and dining room. This is where our little one can earn a star for picking up his mess. 
  • Get the coffee ready for the morning. This one is mostly on my partner since he is the main coffee drinker now, but this way it’s one less thing to do in the morning. 
  • Fill up the water filter.

This helps us get to sleep, or to our favorite show as soon as our little one gets to bed. We don’t have to stay up to get things ready for the next day or worse, feel frantic in the morning.

Leave the toys on the ground.

Before my little one could help with cleaning up, this is something that would drive me crazy. Picking up all of the toys and mess left behind after a day of playing and entertaining a kid. I found myself constantly putting things away and tidying up even though it was just us at home. It was when my therapist asked, “What would happen if you left the stuff there?” that it hit me…nothing would happen. It would be there and we would resume the same play time the next day. 

She helped me realize that I was working to maintain an “ideal” home, but it wasn’t always ideal for me because I would stress and have less time for myself. As long as the toys are not a tripping hazard, they can stay on the floor. This was our new reality and it was OKAY to accept it and show that we have a kid living in the home. Again, it’s not about what people think… it’s about what helps you feel good.

Pick something up each time to leave a room.

I forgot where I read this, but a good tip is to pick something up and put it away every time you leave a room. I found it to be helpful and something small that adds up throughout the day. So, if I am in the living room playing with my toddler and I am getting up to go to the kitchen, I look around to see if there are any dishes or items that I can pick up and put away. 

As I do this, others in my household have picked up this habit and do the same. This way we are keeping things where they belong and at the end of the day there is less to pick up. I know my mom would have loved it if I did this when I was a teenager, she used to always get mad at me for the collection of cups I would leave in my room.

Hire a cleaning service.

I understand that hiring someone to clean your house isn’t always possible. I wasn’t able to afford this before, but now that we can, it has become a priority. Yes, we could use the money for something else but after discussing what would make our weekend more enjoyable, we found that cleaning was something we both didn’t want to do. 

We were both raised with Saturdays being about cleaning, and we were falling into that pattern. This means we would skip out on going to the park when it was nice because we were busy cleaning. Things shifted for us once we hired a cleaning service to come twice a month. It has allowed us more time as a family and has helped me feel supported with the household responsibilities.

My Reflection

Picture of a sign reading "this house was clean yesterday, we're sorry you missed it."

Spring cleaning is a cleansing ritual and something I find fitting in protecting your wellness. It’s a renewal and you get to decide how you want to reset. It could be deep cleaning your pantry or simply creating an evening routine. Hopefully sharing what I have tried will help you see that wellness is about what helps you in your life at this moment. 

If you found this helpful, follow me on Instagram @hablandowellness

Learn more about me here. On a wellness journey juntos. Mind, body, y soul.

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