Your environment can affect your mental wellbeing. Not everyone will like the same thing, but it’s important to try and have an environment that makes you feel comfortable. Here I share how a tidy home helps my mental wellbeing and how I motivate myself even when I don’t want to do the housework….which is always!
When you have depression and/or feel low, you lack motivation to do anything. This was something I struggled with, and as well as not caring about how I looked most days, I also lost all concern about my home. I would try hard to put on a mask when I was seeing anyone, pretend I could do it all; this just added to my low mood, and continued my cycle of depression.
I find keeping my home tidy challenging. I have 3 kids 5 and under and they are like three mini tornados ripping though my house. I don’t ever want them to feel like they can’t relax and play with their toys in their own home but I do love the feeling when my house is tidy…it doesn’t happen much anymore with my three! I can’t help it, walking around a clean, tidy house makes me feel good mentally, I just hate the process of making it tidy.
So many parents feel judged because their home isn’t “social media worthy”, or they may visit a friend who seems to have it all together… here is where I explain how you can’t judge someone’s situation by a short visit – when I was unwell, my house would be spotless if I had a visitor but it would be because I’d stressed and cleaned obsessively before they came out of fear of judgement.
So how can we make chores more tolerable? I would say enjoyable but I’m never going to find cleaning the toilet fun!
Let’s face it, as parents especially, we need to do the chores and lots of people, Myself included find them boring … plus I can’t afford a cleaner! I’m no longer worried about others opinions but for my own mental wellbeing I like to make things in my environment less stressful. So how do we make them more tolerable, especially with kids around? Here’s a few things which I find help, and hopefully may help you too.
Get the kids involved
This doesn’t work every time, but there’s small jobs they can do and if they’re helping you then they’re not pulling out other toys while they’re doing it (winning!) my youngest two help out while the eldest is at school, they love dusting. I spray and they dust the sides. They also love to pretend to hoover while I do, my 4 year old asked for a toy henry Hoover and loves it! They also like to help mop the floors. It doesn’t work every time, but it can something simple which they can help out with.
Find products you like & which make you feel good
Our senses are powerful and for me, smell can stir up all sorts of emotions. I love cinnamon and apple in the winter, florals in the spring and clean linen in the new year. Some people think it’s odd but I can’t help it! They make me feel so good. I love wax melts, and recently discovered Zoflora. The smells make cleaning (a teeny bit!) more enjoyable and lifts my mood.
Add some music!
I love this one, and so do the kids! Music is great at lifting our mood. Put on some upbeat music, dance as you clean. We often have kitchen discos, not only is it great because you’re doing your jobs, you’re also exercising which is great for mood boosting. (Plus it makes the time go quicker and the task less mundane!)
Do small, manageable tasks. Break it down.
Don’t overwhelm yourself with lots to do, if you set unachievable goals you may feel worse if they’re not completed. Write a list and aim to complete one thing. Even if it’s a simple task like putting the washing machine on, start small and build up as and when you feel able.
Don’t feel guilty if it doesn’t get done.
As I said in the previous point, if we don’t complete everything
on our To Do list we can sometimes be hard on ourselves and feel like a failure. It is really hard to motivate yourself or find the energy when you’re struggling. Don’t let the negative voice inside criticise you for what you haven’t done – Praise yourself for what does gets done. You’re awesome for trying, remember that.
Clean but not tidy.
This was said by a lady in our support groups “my house is always clean but never tidy’ and I love it. As long as your home isn’t covered in germs and hazardous then try not to worry. It’s hard work being a parent, and even harder when you’re struggling with your mental health. Do what you feel able to do, and what Makes you feel better. If a tidy house and cleaning helps you, then great do it, but if not then just do what you can and take everything else one step at a time.
Important extra tip – For each task you do which is draining, do something fulfilling, enjoyable or relaxing to balance yourself back out – Remember your self care.
These are just a few things which I try to do/remember when it comes to dreaded chores and my mental wellbeing. I love a tidy house but I have kids and I’m busy, it’s never going to be spotless – it certainly won’t look like the Instagram home accounts I lust over! It is however full of love and laughter; I may moan that no one tidies other than me but at the end of the day I do my best, the kids are safe and happy, and that’s all we can ask for. Be gentle with yourself, and take things one step at a time.
I will leave you with this Brené Brown Quote:
No matter how much I get done, or is left undone, at the end of the day I am enough.