December 31, 2020
If the title gives you anxiety, you aren’t alone. Cleaning is something that most people (especially women) think about daily. I would like to reframe this cleaning anxiety and package it to you as a form of self care. According to the International Self Care Foundation: “Self-Care is what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness. It is a broad concept encompassing hygiene (general and personal), nutrition (type and quality of food eaten), lifestyle (sporting activities, leisure etc), environmental factors (living conditions, social habits, etc.) socio-economic factors (income level, cultural beliefs, etc.) and self-medication.” That is a lot of words to say it means taking care of yourself in all kinds of different ways. Do you often worry that if your house isn’t showroom ready you have failed somehow? Do you panic clean every time you are expecting company? Maybe you’re more organized than I am and you have a chore chart/cleaning schedule. (If that’s the case- go you!) No matter what your routine is, I’m betting you’ve let cleaning duties have a hold on you and your mental health.
I haven’t always loved cleaning – sorry Mom, but now that I have my own home, I greater understand the importance of having a clean space. Your space is an extension of yourself. Does clutter overwhelm you? Me too. Life gets in the way, mental illness gets in the way, sometimes for my fellow spoonies out there, it is a matter of physical capabilities. Once the clutter builds, it is very easy to become overwhelmed. So overwhelmed that you just… quit. You ignore the mess and let it fester until the guilt becomes so unbearable that you clean everything in one, 5 hour go, By the time you are finally finished, it will need done again. So why bother? According to Recovery.org: “It is completely valid and normal to feel lazy, unmotivated, sad, or have a rollercoaster of emotions during this period. The most important thing is to focus on what you have control over. On this note, numerous mental health benefits are associated with cleaning and organizing your space.” While there are mental health benefits to cleaning, it is important to remember that cleaning and keeping a clean home is not your purpose in life.
“Clean is not a static state” – @Domesticblisters on TikTok. She continues on to say: “So yeah my kitchen island’s messy but my floors are immaculate, and my laundry is backed up and my living room is completely dust free. And you know what? Tonight I’ll clean this island and by then there will be dust in the living room.” This especially resonated with me. Self care tasks never end. There is no “complete.” Every day we brush our teeth, comb out hair, wash our bodies, cook, clean, eat, drink water, exercise, etc. These are self care tasks and they’re just a part of being human. Try to reframe any adversity to cleaning and remember: you are just taking care of yourself any way you are able to. And if you don’t or can’t today, tomorrow the dust will be there waiting for you.
Happy New Year, Friends.
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