Medical Monday: declutter your home and mind

Published: Apr. 22, 2019 at 6:35 AM CDT
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For many of us, this time of year triggers the urge to begin spring cleaning.

According to experts at Cleveland Clinic, spring cleaning isn't just good for your home. It can actually lift your mood too.

"We're shut in a lot during the winter months, we're not getting rid of as much, we're accumulating more, not taking care of as much, and so this is a ritualized behavior - it's part of the renewal of spring. I think it's correlated with the lifting of our moods, we get more active behaviorally, and this is one of the activities," explained Dr. Scott Bea with Cleveland Clinic.

Doctors say the brain likes when we complete a task, it makes us feel good and reduces tension. However, when we procrastinate about spring cleaning, it can cause stress. And if we make a habit out of procrastinating, doctors say it can escalate to what experts call "problematic avoidance."

To avoid becoming a procrastinator, they say you have to accept some discomfort and find a way to get started on a project.

Once we get past the starting point, it becomes easier to get the task done. And a job well done, whether spring cleaning or otherwise, is satisfying.

"I think there's a tension reduction that comes with that when we have clear space. When there are fewer things to be taken care of. And it also endorses our effectiveness as human beings," added Dr. Bea.

For those who are dreading spring cleaning, doctors recommend breaking up the work into smaller tasks.