Every now and again a study pops up to demonstrate a link between exercise and brain development. In fact it is now generally agreed that the hippocampus region of our brains responds particularly well to a workout, which can have memory-boosting applications (in moderate doses).
Now, what does this have to do with depression and, in particular, cleaning?
Well for starters cleaning is a form of exercise. No, we’re not being overzealous, it really is, and it can help get you into shape. But that’s not exactly what we are getting at with this article. Is there a link between exercise and getting rid of depression? Actually, again, yes there is: in fact it is believed one of the best things a person can do is to take a long walk if they are feeling blue. There’s a literal meaning to the saying, “Walk it off”.
But, while this is all great news, it’s not exactly our main focus. What we are interested in is positive family time, responsibility and team effort. All of these things can be combined and achieved with a good, thorough, tactical, cleaning of the house. And, as you’ll soon see, it can be a great way to combat depression, restore meaning, and good family relations at home.
A mental exercise: cleaning from another viewpoint
The first workout is in your brain. Ask yourself, is it really just another chore –are you “just” cleaning the house? Or are you:
- Making the home cleaner, freer of bacteria and more liveable.
- About to spend some quality, team-building exercise with the family.
- About to break a sweat, getting the body into motion and burning calories in the process?
Look at house cleaning this way and it no longer seems like a requirement, but an opportunity.
Getting down to it: responsibility and catharsis
It is often repeated by opinion leaders that the most important thing to do at the beginning of the day is to make the bed. Why? Because making the bed is often the first task that can be accomplished, which can give a confidence boost to go on and make other accomplishments. After all, if you can’t even make your own bed – if you can’t get your house “in order” – what makes you think you can head out into the world and make a difference?
This can be extended to a greater degree to the room and, eventually, the house. When we are cleaning we are effectively “taking responsibility” of our actions, and walking a path to greater confidence development.
‘Catharsis’ is the means of getting rid of bad emotions from the body. When we clean the house, it is cathartic. We are taking control, assuming responsibility, and serving a purpose.
Getting the family involved
Cleaning should be a group exercise. Everyone should take responsibility for the home they live in. It can also forge closer ties. More and more, we are finding much of our lives are taken up by antisocial activities such as web browsing or watching the TV. Tackling the room together invites discussion and teamwork. Just use it as a chance to catch-up, perhaps, after a long days work.
Everyone needs responsibility in their lives. Everyone needs a purpose. It is that purpose that gives our lives meaning. So divide and conquer the chores to be had in the home, and work together to find your purpose. It all starts at home, it all starts with “cleaning a room” first — but it won’t be long before these traits find their place in the outside world, and who knows what good fortune they will bring.
Eliza Cochrane is a professional cleaner and writer for Pristine Home, a cleaning service based in Dublin, Ireland. In her spare time she reads philosophy book and is constantly seeking to change her outlook of the world for the better.