It seems that under lockdown, we have a new national pastime. Just like exercise it lifts our mood, gives a feeling of deep satisfaction and is surprisingly addictive.
Cleaning is our new passion
Now I have always HATED cleaning. Whilst I love a clean and tidy house, I would do anything, including pay good money, to get someone to do it for me. So it was with heavy heart that I started lockdown knowing that there was no way round it, I would have to do it.
I made it clear to my son and husband (neither known for their love of housework either), that they would most definitely have to help and would be assigned specific tasks.
The problem is that my menfolk are absolutely terrible at cleaning
I end up helping them which makes the whole thing even more laborious. Mondays are absolutely exhausting as we (I use the word “we” loosely) do the house from top to bottom. But here’s the weird thing….
I go to bed on Sunday nights with excitement at the prospect of the Monday clean
And I’m not alone. All my friends are in a cleaning frenzy as well, going through boxes and drawers that haven’t been opened in years, venturing up to cobwebby attics and down to dark damp basements, mop in hand.
So what on earth is going on??
Recent studies have shown that cleaning can improve mental health, help alleviate stress and anxiety and perk you right up. It can even help with depression.
Reversely, a dirty and untidy house can negatively impact mood
The University of California did a study with thirty couples and looked at their cortisol (a stress hormone) levels. Those who had a messy house displayed much higher levels of the hormone. The same study also found that women were more negatively affected by clutter than were men.
This clearly shows that a messy home affects stress levels
It therefore makes sense that a good old tidy will bring your levels down, so can you imagine what a deep clean would do?
We already know that physical activity releases endorphins and helps with mood, but it seems that it really doesn’t matter what that activity is. Jogging, hoovering or scrubbing, will all decrease stress levels.
People with cleaner homes were found to be more active
Let’s be honest, there’s nothing more demotivating or demoralising than sitting around surrounded by clutter and dirt. We’ve all been there I’m sure.
One thing is certain, anxiety and stress do nobody any good
They can even shorten your lifespan quite considerably. Just twenty minutes of cleaning a day can make a difference.
How much more enjoyable is it at the end of the day to relax when sitting in a clean and tidy home? In fact it’s been suggested that having a little clean after a days work is the best way to destress before settling down for the evening.
A clean home means less allergens
Apparently the inside of our homes are often more polluted than the outside. That means pollen, dust mites, dander and other allergens are all around us, as well as toxins from chemical cleaning products.
I use natural and chemical free products myself and love the fresh smell they leave. More and more people are developing allergies and at later stages of their lives as well. I’ve become very sensitive to dust and now for the first time in my life have hayfever. I was quite shocked at how much dust I found in my house.
I have become slightly obsessed
I sometimes find it hard to stop and on a Monday I get to the evening and I’m still going. Wanting to do more but with the body flagging. Time to decamp to the sofa with feet up, glass of wine in hand, from where I can survey all the sparkly cleanliness around me. Heaven.