Spring Cleaning Brings a Shine to your Home and Benefits to your Health
The seasonal ritual known as spring cleaning is, admittedly, a tough sell.
After all, devoting a day or more to doing heavy-duty housework hardly
sounds inviting. That’s why ATRIO Health Plans is sweetening the
spring-cleaning proposition by spreading the word that not only will your
living space sparkle, but so too will your mental and physical health.
Studies have shown that a dirty, disorganized home can harbor health threats
in the form of mold, bacteria, and clutter-caused injuries, but such an
environment also can negatively impact mental health. Experts agree that
a thorough spring cleaning brings with it a feel-good sense of satisfaction,
and the physical exertion involved in dusting, vacuuming, and scrubbing
has been found to reduce stress and anxiety.
The Housework-Happiness Connection
While the physical benefits of exercise are well established, there's
mounting evidence that exercise – even in the form of housework
– delivers mental-health benefits. One London-based study, for example,
found that doing a mere 20 minutes of housework per week reduced feelings
of psychological distress. It was further found that the risk of developing
mental-health issues was reduced by one-fifth among those engaging in
just 20 minutes of housework weekly. Taking on a top-to-bottom spring
cleaning creates a feeling of being in control, and that feeling results
in reduced stress.
The Chores-Calories Connection
Doing housework not only lifts your spirits and lowers your stress level,
but – as an added bonus – you also burn calories in the process.
The American Heart Association categorizes housework as "moderate
exercise," and a person weighing 150 pounds – who engages in
30 minutes of household chores – can expect to burn:
- 200 calories cleaning a bathroom;
- 133 calories doing laundry;
- 130 calories making beds;
- 125 calories washing windows;
- 123 calories vacuuming;
- 70 calories ironing;
- 50 calories dusting.
Stay Tidy and Organized after Spring Cleaning
With the satisfaction of a successful spring cleaning behind you, experts
caution against returning to one's messy/disorganized ways. Maintaining
a tidy, organized home helps keep stress at bay. In fact, according to
a recent University of California, Los Angeles study, simply looking at
clutter elevated women’s stress hormones.
It makes sense. A cluttered environment – as a general rule –
equals a tension-filled environment. Needed items can’t be found.
The morning rush devolves into morning madness. Preparing dinner is similarly
chaotic, and the odds of being able to relax amidst free-range dust bunnies
are downright slim.
Conversely, a tidy, organized living space promotes creativity, optimism,
and an overarching sense of calm. Not surprisingly, we simply tend to
feel better when we’re living in a clean, uncluttered environment.