May 2-8 is Mental Health Week
Spring is finally here! The days are getting longer and warmer, the grass is starting to green and flowers will soon begin to bloom. This is the season for renewal, and while spring cleaning may not be your favourite thing to do, there is a connection between this annual ritual and your mental health.
Declutter your mind
Ever hear the saying “messy bed, messy head?” When our surroundings are dirty or cluttered, our minds will feel that way too. Jodie Voth, manager of Manitoba Blue Cross’s Employee Assistance Services, explains it this way: “Clutter and disorganization cause distraction and overstimulation because everything you see is something that your brain needs to process and decide what to do with.”
With clutter in the way, we spend time and energy looking for things we need or clearing a space to work at. This can be frustrating, making us anxious and needlessly using too much of our energy. Everyday tasks, such as cooking a meal or getting dressed for work, can become more challenging. Voth adds, “An environment that isn’t pleasant to live or work in can lead to or reinforce low, hopeless feelings and clinical conditions like depression.”
Taking the time to tidy up our living space can go a long way toward making us feel happier and healthier.
Cleaning also requires physical activities – vacuuming, sweeping, scrubbing and wiping down surfaces – that keep your body moving and contribute to your overall well-being. Think of it as a free workout class!
Giving your home a good spring clean can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. “I’m a big fan of the practice of breaking things into manageable steps so it isn’t overwhelming and you get that feeling of achievement when each step is completed. Pick one room to start with, or one closet or cupboard,” says Voth.
When you complete one small task, you feel accomplished and that helps motivate you to attempt another task. Motivation is momentum, and “building momentum is more realistic and successful than setting out with an ‘all or nothing’ expectation to spring clean the whole house in one day.”
Maintaining a regular cleaning schedule is a great way to declutter both your home and your mind. As Voth says, “It’s much easier to climb a set of stairs once a day than it is to climb a mountain once a year. Maintenance is always the best approach because it requires a consistent but low level of effort compared to a massive effort once in a while.”
When we have a tidy environment, we feel better. There is a clear connection between a clean, organized home and our mental well-being. Just tidying your personal space can give you a sense of satisfaction and that fresh, spring feeling.
Counselling support from Manitoba Blue Cross
If you're experiencing mental health concerns, reach out for help.
Manitoba Blue Cross members with Employee Assistance Program or Individual Assistance Program coverage can get counselling support. Begin the process here.
Unsure of your coverage? Confirm your eligibility in your mybluecross® account.