Organizing Your Home (and Life) for Wellness
6 Ways Cleaning and Organizing Your Home Can Improve Wellness
August is National Wellness Month. For most, thinking of wellness invokes thoughts of “I need to exercise more”, “I need to eat better” or “I need to get more sleep”.
Thoughts of organizing your home probably don’t come to mind but you may not have given much thought to how the space you spend a large portion of your time can impact your wellness directly as well your ability to pursue wellness.
All month long we are focusing on providing you valuable information and ideas to incorporate a little more wellness in your life, starting with your home.
Boost Your Productivity
One of the greatest hurdles to living a life of health and wellness can be a lack of time. A more organized home and work space creates greater productivity which may allow you to stop working at a reasonable time at least three days a week. Those extra hours could be used for exercise, more sleep, preparing and cooking healthier meals and spending time with others.
TIP: Set reminders on your phone to stand up every hour and move for two minutes. Also set a reminder one hour before you want to stop working so you can wrap-up and plan for the next day.
Reduce Stress and Depression
According to a study in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, individuals describing their homes as “cluttered” and full of “unfinished projects” had higher levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Those individuals also reported symptoms of depression and fatigue.
Comparatively, those describing their homes as “restful” and “restorative” had lower levels of cortisol with no reports of symptoms related to depression, stress and fatigue.
Clutter and mess create stress in the human psyche. When under stress, studied behavior has shown that people will make less stressful choices, particularly when it come to meal options.
Organizing your kitchen, planning your grocery shopping and making adjustments so that healthier meals are the easiest option can reduce stress and increase wellness.
Start with your fridge. An organized fridge will allow you to place healthier options out of drawers, in the front of shelves and at eye level — inciting better choices.
“Freezer Bag Meals” can save you time, reduce stress and improve your eating habits.
TIP: Carve out 2 hours each weekend to create “Freezer Bag Meals” (FBM’s) that you can take out to thaw in the morning for a fast sauté in the evening or slow cooker recipes you can start before heading out the door.
Pre-cook brown rice, whole grain pasta and quinoa for quick, healthy add-ins to your weekday FBM’s.
Check out these Food Storage Containers to help keep your meals on track!
Increase Your Exercise
Exercise and motivation. We all struggle with it. Organization can play a bigger role that you may think. Excuses not to get that workout in come easy — organization can narrow that list and make it a less daunting prospect.
Organizing your schedule (see productivity above) is a great start. Having clean workout clothes always ready and workout routine plan help as well. If you have struggles getting to the gym, look at removing clutter and reorganizing your home to create space for workout equipment.
TIP: Pack your gym bag and hang it on the door knob of the door you use to leave the house. If you workout at the end of your day, leave your gym bag in the passenger seat of the car as a reminder.
TIP: There are a multitude of apps for exercise routines and meal plans available. Find a couple that resonate with you and incorporate them into your organized lifestyle.
Happy relationships inside and out of the home can help keep depression, stress and disease at bay.
Inside the home specifically, clutter tends to lead to tension and conflict. It is often said that how a person’s home is kept can be a reflection of how they feel. The mess and clutter can then compound those feelings, creating greater anxiety.
To avoid feeling overwhelmed, tackle one room at a time. If you live with a spouse or others, work on each room together instead of separate rooms. Make decisions together on what to keep, things to update and the process of reorganizing.
TIP: Take a trip or shop online at a store that specializes in organization or projects, like The Container Store — finding unique storage options may help you create more space and cleanliness than you thought you could. Spend time together watching shows about decluttering (see below) or DIY shows and create a “wish board” (SEE: How to Create a Vision Board)
No big secret that not only more, but better quality sleep is a prime factor in health and wellness. Increasing productivity and organizing time can help you get more sleep — but how can you achieve a better quality sleep? For starters, using some of that extra time for at least 30 minutes of exercise can clear your mind and make your body more restful.
Keeping your bedroom neat also plays a factor. Walking into clutter and reminders of the laundry you need to do are not conducive to relaxing the brain for rest.
The National Sleep Foundation reports that 75 percent of people surveyed said they got a better night’s sleep when they crawled into a bed that was made and has recently cleaned sheets.
Additionally, if you implement more organization into your day, you will be less apt to bring last-minute tasks like emails into bed — tasks that can generate brain activity that will keep you awake for hours.
TIP: Leave your tablets and computer on chargers outside of the bedroom. Schedule the “Do Not Disturb” setting on your phone for the same hours every night and only use your phone to play meditative music or sounds of nature.
TIP: Set your alarm for 15 minutes before you actually need to get up. Lay in bed and think about the productive, organized day ahead of you before getting up. Also avoid checking emails, text messages or social media for 30 minutes after you get out of bed — create your own mindset before letting the needs of others in.
Getting organized and decluttered is a process. The best advice of all — take it one project at a time, one area of your life at a time. Wellness is a marathon, not a sprint.