University of California measured stress hormone levels in 30 couples. Women who described their home environment as chaotic or messy had higher levels of cortisol, when measured at various points throughout the day. interestingly, men seemed to be less affected by a messy, cluttered home.
Cleaning your home not only improves its cleanliness, it can also boost your mental health. Just as little as 20 minutes of physical activity a week could impact depression – so why not make that chosen activity cleaning? A Scottish health survey where 3,000 people reported anxiety and stress revealed that carrying out regular, vigorous housework could cut these feelings by 20%. Of course, this doesn’t include a little light dusting but it means doing more activities which will get your blood pumping.
Cleaning can be an outlet for energy and negative emotions too. Removing dust, dirt and clutter from your environment provides you with a cleaner, more comfortable atmosphere so you can feel happier and more relaxed. You’re more likely to be able to unwind if you feel like your cleaning ‘to-do’ list has been ticked off.
According to a study by Indiana University’s Physical Activity Department, cleaning is important for physical and mental health. The study looked at the physical health of 998 people aged between 49 and 65, comparing their levels of physical activity ad the cleanliness of their homes. The results showed that those with the cleanest houses were also the healthiest and most active. Nicole Keith, the study’s leader, commented, “At the end of the day, the interior of their house seemed to be the only thing affecting their physical activity.”
Whilst cleaning is a great way to enjoy a tidy, un-cluttered house and feel happier, like anything we don’t suggest taking it to extremes! Hoovering your living room twice a at and being obsessive about your cooker being clean is bad for your stress levels and could lead to the development of obsessive compulsive tendencies. Keeping on top of your cleaning with a once or twice clean weekly should be sufficient for most of us – if you have children or pets you may need to spot clean in between cleans just to stay tidy.
At the end of the day, a clean, tidy house is a natural mood booster. So bear that in mind next time you’re tackling surface dirt or giving your kitchen cupboards a deep own clean. A dirty, untidy home could affect both your physical and mental health; TIDY HOUSE, TIDY MIND…