Cleaning and straightening things up can be very satisfying. The world can seem so chaotic so much of the time, and it can start to wear on you. That is why injecting a little order into your own life can feel so good. In fact, tidying up in various areas of your life can give your mental health a boost.
Let’s look at three areas of your everyday life where a little more tidiness can go a long way toward supporting your mental well-being.
Tidy Up a Mess
Sometimes our lives seem so hectic that we just can’t seem to take a moment to put things away or keep various areas clean. We make haphazard piles of papers, mixing the important (bills) with the unimportant (expired coupons). We leave dirty clothes on the floor or on the backs of furniture, and we leave clean laundry unfolded in baskets. We misplace our wallet or purse or phone or keys or shoes or some combination of these things and scurry around trying to find them while our stress level goes up and up.
Taking the time to straighten things up can be helpful in a number of ways. For example, sorting through that pile of papers can give you a quick “win” on your to-do list (and ensure you get your bills paid on time). Gathering up the dirty clothes or putting away the clean ones can add some order to your living space while also making it easier to get dressed in the morning. Reserving a spot for your important items can spare you the stress of rushing around in a panic.
Because the disorder in our lives can seem overwhelming, it is important to remember that it is okay to start small. Each time you reduce the clutter and confusion around you, you should count it as a little victory—and as motivation to keep tackling small projects. After all, those small projects add up over time, and your mental health gains do, too.
Tidy Up Your Budget
Money is one of the most stressful things in our lives. Do you have enough? How can you make more? Why are things so expensive? How will you cover that surprise expense?
Making a simple budget can help reduce the amount of stress you feel about money. You can get started by simply writing down the amount of money you take home each month, writing down your monthly expenses, and seeing where you land when you do the math.
Ideally, you will be able to cover your expenses and still have some dollars left over to save or to donate or to spend on things you enjoy (or all three). If the math doesn’t work out in your favor, your budget can help you see how much you need to cut back and which of your bills (you know, the ones you found when you straightened up that pile on the table?) could be reduced or eliminated.
Knowing that you have your finances in order can significantly reduce stress, and that is like making a deposit in the bank of your mental health.
Tidy Up Your ‘Friends’ List
Social media can be a great way to stay in touch with friends and family. You can keep up with their posts and they can keep up with yours. In a perfect world, your social media accounts would be filled with light and love.
This, of course, is not a perfect world. Social media can be filled with pitfalls for your mental health. You might find yourself feeling envious of others when they post about their lives and accomplishments. You might have ‘friends’ in your feeds who are always negative or who always seem to want to pick a fight. You might find your social media accounts awash in ads and sketchy content and even disinformation about important events in the world. All of these things can weigh on you.
There are a number of ways you might tidy up when it comes to your social media. You could, in fact, decide that the downsides outweigh the upsides—at least for now—and take an extended break. Alternately, you could set a social media timer that alerts you when you have spent a predetermined amount of time scrolling so you don’t get sucked in. You could winnow down the number of people you are connected to, sticking with only those whose online presence makes you feel good. And you could hide or unfollow content that is not having a positive impact on you.
You might also remind yourself that seeing your friends and family in the real world tends to be better for your mental health than only interacting with them online.
We’ll Keep This Short and Tidy: We Are Here to Help
At Johnstown Heights Behavioral Health in Colorado, we offer personalized care for your mental health. Whether you are struggling with one of the forms of depression, with a panic or anxiety disorder, a disorder caused by trauma, or something else, we can help. You can count on us to provide care grounded in evidence, experience, expertise, and empathy.