The New Year is just around the corner and with the Holidays in full-swing, there’s bound to be added clutter to our already jam-packed homes. Next thing you know, New Years Day is over and it’s suddenly 2019 with confetti strewn across the floor, left-over food, and gift wrappers everywhere with nowhere to go. All this visual chaos can amount to triggered anxieties: Where do you start? Where do you put all of this? Why is there so much clutter?! It can be an extremely overwhelming experience to finally see all together how much of a mess the holidays can make, but the beauty of the coming New Year is the new rounds of resolutions that everyone takes part in; and more often than not, keeping a clean home and a mentally healthy mind is on that list.
Mental health can be a very complicated and intricate thing, and from a research done 20 years ago, it was found that there were already 36% of the Filipino population suffering from this; on top of that, there is a whopping 1 in 3 people who suffer from mental health disorders.
So why is decluttering and cleaning a recommended exercise for those under the mental health belt?
Reference: 1 in 3 Pinoys Has Mental Health Problem
"Sometimes the feelings inside me get messy like dirt. And I like to clean things. Pretend the dirt is the feelings. This floor is my mind. That is called coping.”
Crazy Eyes, Orange Is The New Black
And it’s exactly that: when we physically clean, it’s almost a direct correlation to our mental process.
There is a rhythm to wiping, scrubbing, and sweeping; a kind of focused meditation that goes along with it. According to an article by Leo Babauta called “Mindful Simplicity: Decluttering and Leaving No Trace”, cleaning is a good way to practice and boost your focus and mindfulness.
When you begin to clean, exercise your mind and do as follows:
Refuse any thoughts that come through
Focus on the rhythm of your hands as you sweep, wipe, or scrub
Regulate your breathing
As you do this, watch the dirt wash away and reveal a cleaner surface underneath. When thoughts come through, be it problems you want to think about, the current stress you feel, or situations you need to think through, try your best to silence your mind and revert back to focusing on the task at hand.
Once you are able to get into the rhythm of things, the peacefulness of cleaning takes over and thus creates a sense of serenity and clarity once all is spick-and-span.
Think of your mind as the grimy and cluttered surface- There are too many distractions, too much dust that can pollute the rest of your things. When you wipe, and scrub, and clean until everything is neat and organized, it’s like you’re wiping, scrubbing, and cleaning your thoughts as well. When you’re outside world is in order, there’s more room for your mind to breathe amidst the anxieties flurrying inside. Less clutter, less things to worry over.
With the New Year coming up, it’s maybe time for a literal fresh start. Get up and kick off 2019 with a clean home. Take your time and start slowly until one newly tidied corner of your room becomes an entire house of clutter-free clean. It’s time to clear your space and your mind. Trust us, your mental health will thank you for it.