We've all experienced a moment where we've ignored a mess, let the laundry pile or left the dishes in the sink after a long day at work or prepping for an exam and usually, we think nothing of it. Sometimes it doesn't mean anything, but that we were busy or preoccupied with life and whatnot. Yet other times these moments symbolise mental health concerns, particularly when days become weeks and weeks become months and so on. The relationship we hold with the cleanliness of our homes and our mental wellbeing is profoundly and inextricably linked, and it is one we must value and prioritise.
When you're not at ease in the place you call home; it's almost inescapable not to fall into the hands of mental health issues. Cluttered and disorderly spaces cause stress, irritability and anxiety. From rummaging through piles of clothes to find something to wear to snapping at family over missing car keys and blaming others, these cluttered spaces can lead to behaviours that damage our wellbeing and our relationships with others. A scientific reason why mental illness and cleanliness are tied together is that the area of the brain, most often influenced by mental illness is the Central Executive. The executive functioning is characterised by inhibition, planning, and decision making - all of which are necessary when cleaning and organising a home.
Moreover, publicised studies at the University of Indiana have revealed that people who maintained clean houses were far healthier than those with messy homes. Even more, house cleanliness was a better indicator of health than neighbourhood walkability and other factors.
Another study of 30 married couples whose wives reported their homes as "unfinished" or "cluttered" experienced more depressed conditions and had higher levels of cortisol, which is detrimental to long-term wellness.
Tackling the clutter is hard to handle, especially for those undergoing difficult times. But small steps lead to big things. One small action every day creates a domino effect, which will eventually span to a positive transformation for your home and mental wellbeing. An action may be telling a loved one about the situation, setting a cleaning schedule or reaching out for help through support services. Anything becomes possible when you take the first step.
If you or a loved one need help getting back in control of things- AlliedHealth Ability Services is ready and fully equipped to help you create a safer, healthier and happier environment for both you and your family.