Depression and Cleaning: Is Not Cleaning a Sign of Depression?
A primary symptom of depression is not taking care of your day to day tasks, including cleaning your home. After all, depression makes you feel exhausted and unmotivated that you let important things go.
Having a messy home can make you feel even more depressed. And the bigger the mess gets, the less energy and motivation you will have for tackling it, which reinforces depression.
Your Physical Environment Affects Your State of Mind
The state of your home influences your emotional well-being. But when you are in the middle of a depressive episode, cleaning your house seems daunting and something as simple as vacuuming seems overpowering.
Anything more than lying down on your couch seems too hard. Getting up requires energy and depression doesn’t leave much to spare and so, the mess builds around you.
Then you look around your messy home, and you feel more depressed. But you are too exhausted to get up and do anything about it, and it becomes a vicious cycle.
How to Get Motivated to Clean When Depressed
Regardless of how overwhelming it may seem, the depression-mess cycle can be broken. It requires changing your thinking, but when you are depressed, all you can think of it how big the job is, rather than breaking it down.
Start with one task at a time. For example, if you are lying on the couch, look at the closest surface (for example, the coffee table), and clear it off, throw stuff away and maybe even wipe it down.
After that task is done, you can lay back down and look at a clean surface. It is a reminder that you have accomplished something, and you don’t have to do everything all at once.
One task at a time is easy enough, and it may motivate you to keep going. But it doesn’t have to be right away. It can be an hour from now, or it could be tomorrow.
Give yourself plenty of time before you move on to the next task. And remember, every small accomplishment is something to feel positive about and be proud of.
Shifting your thinking for just a few minutes can be just enough to break the cycle.
And remember, cleaning your home isn’t going to cure your depression, but depression and a messy house don’t have to go together. You can accomplish something no matter how small it is, and that is positive, and it might get you motivated to do more and feel a little better.
How to Clean Your House When Depressed
There are simple ways to tackle the messes around your home, even when you are not feeling your best.
Keep Up as You Go
The more you have to the do, the more daunting the task. However, smaller tasks can be broken down all while keeping your home clean.
- Don’t let dishes add up. Rinse and put them in the dishwasher as they accumulate.
- Get in the habit of spraying down the bathtub or shower after you are done to prevent mold and mildew.
- Clean up the bathroom sink while you’re getting ready in the morning and put away things as you use them.
Every little thing makes a difference. By keeping up with household tasks, your home will be clean and clutter-free, and less overwhelming while managing depression.
Break it Down
Give yourself manageable tasks to complete throughout the week. For example, Sunday is laundry day, Monday is the day you clean the bathroom, Tuesday could be the day you clean up and vacuum the living room and so on.
No task should take more than 20 to 30 minutes. This way you can still be productive and not spend the entire day cleaning when you are not feeling up to it.
Learn to Be Efficient
The easier tasks are, the more likely they will get done when you are not feeling your best. Come up with ways to speed up the time you spend cleaning.
For example, if you are cleaning the living room, start by removing all clutter, do a quick dusting and then vacuum and you are done.
You can also gather all your cleaning supplies before you start cleaning. That way you are not going back and forth to get supplies.
Procrastination is tempting with depression. But it is important to take care of things now, so you can cut down the time and work it takes to clean up afterward.
For example, wiping up spills right away is a lot easier than dealing with them after they have dried up.
Depression might make you feel sluggish and exhausted but taking care of little jobs right away can offer you a sense of achievement. It also makes cleaning less overwhelming later on.
Ask for Help
The more people that live in your home, the more people there are to make messes. Therefore, it is important for everyone to help out.
Assign chores, so the burden doesn’t fall on you alone.
If you afford it, hire a maid service. They will clean your home, and it’s one less thing to worry about.
Perfection is Overrated
If you expect everything to be perfect, you are going to set yourself up for disappointment and stress, which will worsen your depressed mood. Forgive yourself and learn to set reasonable standards when it comes to keeping your home clean and comfortable.
You don’t need to clean the bathroom every single day, and if the laundry doesn’t get put away right way, it is not the end of the world. Things will get taken care one task at a time, so there is no need to stress about housework and overwhelm yourself continuously.