Nine Ways to Clean Your Home Through the Winter Blues
With the chaos and fun of the holiday season over, we finally have some time to breathe again. For most of us, the holiday decorations have come down and are put away until November. However, for those who are affected by Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD or the winter blues), it may be the time of year that your home begins to suffer from neglect.
The symptoms of SAD in the winter include depression, low energy, difficulty concentrating, agitation, oversleeping, and overeating. These mood shifts can be unforgiving, leaving you with little or no motivation to care for your home or even yourself in more extreme cases. But because you are more than likely spending the majority of your time in your home, it’s state of disarray might actually be feeding a vicious cycle of depression and motivational issues.
While a tidy house is certainly not a replacement for being seen by a qualified medical professional or medication (if a case calls for them), it can potentially spark feelings of accomplishment and positivity and boost your overall mood. So we’ve compiled a list of things that you can do to push through the winter blues and keep your home running!
Make Your Bed
This one is a fun trick I like to play on my brain! Making your bed is an easy task that typically takes less than ten minutes to accomplish. In most modern bedrooms, the bed itself takes up the largest amount of space. So by making your bed, you are actually making your room look 50% better in just minutes.
After that, reassess how you feel. You might just feel motivated enough to start picking up the rest of your room. With your bed made, it is a great workspace for folding clothes to put away. Just make sure you push through to finishing the job. That way, you won’t have laundry waiting for you at the end of the day.
Make Use of Your Hamper
I’m willing to bet that aside from an unmade bed, the next thing that is keeping your room looking messy is laundry. The bad habit of leaving dirty clothes lay around is NOT exclusive to you, in fact it is fairly common. That being said, we could all benefit from applying more discipline on this matter.
You can start by collecting your dirty laundry from the floor and other surfaces that you may have left them and placing them into your hamper or laundry basket. Make sure that you place your hamper in a place where you will make liberal use of it from now on.
Set Races With Yourself
You can do anything for ten minutes, right? So give yourself a task that will pay off BIG in the end. One example would be cleaning up the trash from the living areas. Maybe you won’t be able to finish this task in ten minutes, or maybe you will finish it early. The important thing is that for this specified amount of time, you are choosing action instead of procrastination.
When the timer goes off, you will at the very least see an improvement to be proud of. You might even be inspired to finish the job or set a new task with your timer!
Break Up the Time Consuming Chores
It can be difficult to get motivated when a task looks particularly daunting. If your dishes are stacked to the ceiling, it may seem impossible that they will ever get finished! So instead of standing at your sink for an hour or more, make a commitment to wash your dishes five at a time.
The best way to do this is to make sure you revolve that time around another form of movement. For instance, every time you get up to get a drink or go to the bathroom, you should do five dishes. If your movement is motivated by a need you are more likely to take the hardest part of your journey right off the bat- getting up! Once the dishes are finished, make sure to wash them as you go from now on to avoid the build-up. Now that you’re used to doing five dishes at a time, it should be a breeze!
Clear a Surface
When you’re in bed and feeling down, looking around at a sea of clutter can be even more de-motiving. Clutter has the ability to make your belongings and living situation seem less valuable than they actually are. This is why it is important to de-clutter as much and as often as possible. But for now, you can just focus on one surface and commit to cleaning it up.
Whether it is your dresser, vanity, or even just your bedside table, taking a few minutes to de-clutter and clean off a surface will give you one accomplishment to focus on the next time you find yourself lying in bed. It may even motivate you to cleaning off another when you feel ready again.
Get Your Heart-rate Up
You probably hear it all the time, and you can roll your eyes if you want. But even if it is the last thing that you feel like doing, exercise can be an excellent motivator once you get started. Fortunately, there are a lot of options.
- Get your steps in- If you use a Fitbit or any other type of activity tracker, make sure it is charged up and get some steps in. If the weather is decent, you can go for a walk or run. But if you are stuck inside, there is no shame in pacing down a hallway or wherever is available! Make the goal for 1,000 steps and then keep pushing the goal forward.
- Dance- Who doesn’t love dancing? The good news is that you are already in the comfort of your home so you really can dance like nobody’s watching. Turn on a high energy jam and let loose.
- Cardio and strength training- Get in some quality exercise from the comfort of your living room.
In the winter, the dark truly can seem endless. But you would be amazed at the results that you can see from taking a Vitamin D3 supplement or using a “Happy” light daily. Many people have reported that using one or both of these has helped to boost their mood and energy levels during the long winter days. Just make sure to consult your doctor to make sure you are using light therapy safely.
Enlist Help from Friends
True friends and family members will be supportive of your efforts to make improvements in your life. Hopefully, they will even be willing to help you out. If you feel comfortable enough, consider opening up about your winter blues and asking for company as you attempt to clean up your home.
Whether your guest lends a hand with the cleaning is completely up to the two of you. But even just having someone to chat with as you do dishes can make an arduous task seem fun. Chip away at the tasks on your to-do list while enjoying the company of someone that you care about. The difference it can make for your confidence can be astronomical!
Be Kind To Yourself
The important thing to remember is that “this, too, shall pass“. The cold will thaw and the sun will stay with us longer soon. And for people who deal with SAD, the change back to warmer weather is often like flipping a switch. You’ll likely find yourself refreshed, motivated, and ready to take on the world, leaving the winter behind as if it were all a fugue state.
However, if your symptoms worsen or last beyond the winter, make sure that you are consulting with your doctor. Take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally.
For additional ways to deal with Seasonal Affective Disorder, click here.
For additional support you can contact these helplines:
- Depression and Bipolar Support– 1-800-273-8255
- National Hopeline– 1-800-784-2433
- National Alliance on Mental Illness– 800-950-6264