Diffusers help relax our minds

Cleaning against stress: how cleaning can relax

Most people don't necessarily think about cleaning when it comes to ways to relax. At the same time, it is stressful for most people to have to spend time in an apartment full of dirt and confusion. It is clear that a tidy state has a relaxing effect. But it's not just that cleanliness de-stresses. The act of cleaning itself is the best way for many (like me) to relax. Last week, for example, I was up to my neck: Meetings at work every day, in the office until late at night, then shopping, cooking and even taking a shower. In addition, my cat was sick and two of my friends fell out and both wanted to cry over me. When the weekend was finally around the corner, I was completely drained. So I first spent Saturday morning doing meditative cleaning. That really helped: with every room I cleaned, the veil in my head lifted a little. But why is it that cleaning combats stress?

Your sense of smell plays an important role in wellbeing. So that the house cleaning also functions as aromatherapy, use cleaning agents that smell pleasant. Viss scouring milk, for example, is available in a range of scents such as citrus, spring blossom or sea breeze.

Do you use washing powder, detergent capsules or liquid detergent to wash your clothes?

Why is cleaning so relaxing?

Cleaning combines - even proven - many stress-reducing elements. From an evolutionary point of view, rituals like cleaning are good for counteracting anxiety. The human mind comes into its own when everything is predictable and controllable. When we are not in control of our surroundings, it creates a feeling of anxiety, which is related to the imperative for our ancestors to keep their surroundings safe. Our unconscious has not yet understood that this is no longer necessary today. Other factors also play a role. For example, repetitive movements are a great way to deal with stress physically.

Meditative brushing against stress

It is no coincidence that Buddhism actually views cleaning as a spiritual exercise that can purify both one's mind and life. Buddhists see it that our mind suffers when our environment is in disorder. The reverse is also true: if you tidy up your surroundings, it calms the mind and creates mental clarity. Cleaning also helps you focus on the here and now - one of the most important principles in Buddhism.

Cleaning according to the principles of mindfulness is based on similar ideas. The idea is to perceive the present moment consciously and without judgment. For example, you can look at the objects in your apartment and practice feelings of gratitude.

Tasks with repetitive movements, such as:

  • Sweeping and mopping the floor: Even Buddha had a disciple who found nirvana while sweeping.
  • Cleaning windows: You can get some fresh air and soak up the sun - both ways to reduce stress.
  • Washing dishes: A Florida State University study showed that mindful dish washing (where participants looked for the smell of detergent, the warmth of the water, and the feel of the dishes) lowered stress levels by more than a quarter.

Cleaning as a sport

Studies also show that just 20 minutes of exercise a week has a positive effect on mental health. Those who are physically active every day even reduce stress levels by 40%. These are good reasons to turn on your favorite music and to clean the apartment with extra zest. It is important here to make such an effort that you get out of breath and actually hold out for 20 minutes. Particularly good fitness exercises are:

  • Vacuuming: The constant back and forth is good for the arms and it also trains the thighs.
  • Sweeping and mopping the floor: a good workout for shoulders and arms. Just make sure you alternate sides.
  • Tidy rooms: especially when running up and down stairs or picking things up from the floor. Always bend your knees instead of bending your upper body.
  • Cleaning windows: Even circular movements strengthen the biceps.
  • Washing your car by hand: The movements you make when wetting, scrubbing, and rinsing your car work out your arms, back, and body
  • Leg muscles. Again, make sure to bend your knees.

You can read here how to train your mindfulness while cleaning.

Originally published

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