When trying to work or relax in a crowded, unclean room, have you felt too distracted or uncomfortable to settle in? Keeping your space clean and organized is known to improve your overall health – but it’s also an often overlooked step in maintaining good mental health. Spending too much time in an area that feels unsafe, unorganized, or uncomfortable can affect your brain and basic function. This kind of environment increases stress and reduces focus, which actually contributes to our motivation to improve the area and keep it clean.
If you’ve spoken with a mental health care professional or looked into online therapy services like MyTherapist, you may not realize they have the ability to help you identify problem areas in your home. Because feeling safe and comfortable in your environment is crucial to helping your mental health, a therapist can contribute to the development of a game plan to tackle mess, disorganization, and creating boundaries in your home.
Separating Your Space
It’s important to distinguish the difference between your work area, relaxation space, and the place where you sleep. Even in a small apartment, it’s possible to make those separations to help you focus. By dividing the area into work and play, you associate that space with their respective goals.
If you don’t have set rooms to literally separate your space, it’s still possible to keep certain sections to themselves. With room dividers, furniture, and even shifting design patterns, you can more easily identify which side of the room is for your office space and which side is for relaxation. This distinction will help maintain order in your daily schedule, reducing stress in a conflicting environment.
Just like it’s important to keep your spaces separated, you need to keep your collections, books, and other supplies in their respective areas. Research has shown that stress and anxiety levels increase with a cluttered home, even if it’s just a visual inconvenience.
Decluttering your space doesn’t only apply to picking things off the floor and clearing away dirty dishes. Having a system for your desk area, bookshelves, and other supplies actually translates to a system in your head. If you’ve ever placed something in a spot you thought you would remember and then still had trouble finding it in the future, you’ll understand why these systems are important. It translates to muscle memory, keeping your focus and memory sharp, and reducing the stress of having too many possible hiding places.
Keeping it Clean
Cleanliness is often linked to maintaining overall health to reduce allergens, germ and bacteria growth, and pests. A mental health professional will tell you this also translates to your mental health. While it not only contributes to a sense of self-control and accomplishment, it can also contribute to an increased attention span and better mood.
If you’ve ever found it difficult to concentrate while in an unclean room, even to the point of not knowing where to start cleaning, this is because you’re mentally overloaded. Your vision is filled with task-heavy objects, each on a similar level of priority. This is why professionals suggest picking a random area in the room to clean and “just get started.” This one-track thought process is difficult for people that are easily overwhelmed by the number of other tasks in the room, but once a train of motion is selected, it can turn into an auto-pilot activity.
Maintaining a positive environment doesn’t stop at keeping it tidy and organized. Regularly switch out art pieces, change the furniture layout, and introduce new colors and knickknacks. The importance of reinvigorated inspiration and clear senses is evident in any mental health care professional’s advice. Recapturing that momentum can help give you a sense of purpose, pull you out of a stagnant point in your life, and motivate you to make changes elsewhere. While redecorating your room isn’t a cure for mental health conditions, it’s a stepping stone in proving to yourself that you’re capable of accomplishing daily tasks.
When talking to a therapist about being overwhelmed in your daily life, they may ask you the state of your environment. This isn’t meant to be an invasion of privacy, but rather to determine whether your home could be an underlying factor in your frustrations. It may not occur to you at first that cleanliness and organization can affect your mental health, but once you begin fitting these habits into your regular routine, you’ll most likely see a difference in your ability to relax and focus.