How can cleaning your home reduce your stress?
You know how sometimes when we are faced with a giant task, like an upcoming exam or a time-consuming project, we feel the urge to clean the house? Yes? No? Maybe it’s just me then. I tend to procrastinate a lot, and I’m soooo good at it.
When I was in law school, I cleaned my house a lot. Not that it wasn’t clean enough, but I would rather clean the toilet than to read 40 cases for a civil law class the following day. Cleaning just seemed more appealing to me.
Don’t get me wrong, I still get lazy with doing housework sometimes, but believe it or not, I find cleaning therapeutic.
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- I am in control
Unlike my grades for that semester, cleaning is something I have control over. I can take as much time as I want, or less time if I need. I can pace myself and choose how and when to do the job. I can do it in between naps or while listening to music. And while I often prefer to do it in meditative silence, I multi-task and clean while listening to my favorite album when I’m feeling bleh.
- I can set my own standard
If you want something done right, do it yourself. Being a control-freak, I have a problem with delegating tasks. This goes the same for cleaning. I don’t want my husband folding clothes and find him rolling up the socks into balls (which completely destroys me a little inside). When I do my housework, I know whether it is clean enough or not, and if ever I have not done something right, it would be okay because the only expectations I have to live up to is my own.
- Time Cleaning is constant
Amidst the fast-paced activities of the craziness outside the sanctity of my home, cleaning is something constant in my life. Maybe it’s because I don’t like surprises, but even if I do, having something that I know I can count on to happen feels kinda reassuring to me. It’s like, no matter what happens to me that day, whether it is a promotion or a gum thrown in my hair, I know that I will have to clean my house. Life moves on regardless of my troubles and worries; my house won’t clean itself.
- Instant Gratification
You know how long it takes to know if you’ve failed or aced a class? Well, washing dishes takes me 10 to 15 minutes; the spotless kitchen counters with the shining sink means I get to pat myself on the back for a job well done. And who doesn’t want to feel awesome like that?! Cleaning gives me instant gratification because I know I will definitely finish the job I started, and the result of my hard work is as clear as the glasses I’ve wiped. A reward in the form of a cold drink and some yummy snacks is always just a task away.
- Cleaning is a no-brainer
Cleaning is so easy enough, it doesn’t require extreme mental focus. It is the dullness and repetitive nature of the job that makes it a great stress-reliever. For instance, I like doing the dishes and laundry. Why? When I’m washing dishes, with the clicking of the glasses and my hands submerged in lukewarm soapy water, I sort of space out while I’m doing circular motions, sponging away the grime on the plate which almost kinda feels like my troubles being washed away. The same goes for the hypnotic spinning of the washing machine… I stare at it for longer than I should.
- I can have my “me” time
Being a wife and mom means I am constantly bombarded with screaming and crying and yelling and bickering and yanking and grappling…it’s just too much. Cleaning is like my torch which I ignite when I want to scare off my predators. When I’m cleaning, I can have my own time to do what I want, as long as I can get my task done.
- Cleaning is my shock absorber
When I’m feeling overly emotional, like when I’m angry or sad, I honestly want to smash a plate just to chase all my prickly feelings away. But scrubbing away a dirty grout is just as beneficial. I don’t hold back too, I will be on the floor with my heavy-duty scrubber, and scrub away until I’ve exhausted all the negative energy, and released all the stress and tension away. I’m telling you, cleaning = healing.
- Cleaning is productive exercise
Think of how much you can accomplish if you can clean the house instead of going to the gym for an hour-long session of physical activity. Cleaning is a moderate intensity activity, and if you do it at a rapid pace for a prolonged duration, you’ll reap the same maximum benefit of a full-blown workout. And this is even better because you get to have a clean home too.
- It is good for my budget
In relation to the above, cleaning is not as sociable and “cool” as going to the gym, but you get to save a whole lot of money just from the supposed membership fee you’re going to spend. Also, hiring professional help to do the cleaning for you will drain your family budget. A strained budget means more stress for you and your family.
- You’re first to enjoy your handiwork
I love taking a shower after a day of intense cleaning just as much as I love the feeling of freshly laundered, still-warm-from-the-dryer towels on my face. Then right after, it’s an extraordinary feeling to be able to dive into my bed with fresh sheets and clean beddings.
From my perspective, I think I’m still one of those people who think cleaning is mundane, but I have since found a renewed sense of energy and a spunky kind of feeling knowing that I feel more in control of my life whenever I clean my home. I’ve already made peace with it and decided that I might as well reap the good effects of cleaning, and it certainly has changed me.
What about you? What aspects of cleaning do you find most enjoyable?