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Cleaning Through Anxiety

Feeling at home and relaxed in your living space is highly important, especially when struggling with stress, anxiety, and any other mood disorder.  The difficulty comes in when an episode or attack comes on.  Along with the normal behavioral, psychological and physiological changes it causes, it can sap so much from you as you start the recovery process.



One of the worst things when anxiety reaps its ugly head is that it can manifest in several different ways.  Each person who experiences it has different manifestations.  For me, I always have obsessive thinking and racing thoughts.  I always have a racing heart, butterflies and hot flashes.  The cause of my anxiety determines my behavioral changes.  If it’s something that is purely stress related such as increased work load or fretting about future outcomes, I can’t eat.  I feel nauseous constantly, and I’m ALWAYS organizing and cleaning.  If it’s something more emotional based like the death of a loved one, I slide into the horrible behaviors of comfort eating, drinking…..and I stop cleaning.  I always make sure to do the basics….sweep the floor, clean dishes, etc. But clutter becomes a huge issue.

I normally try to rid myself of clutter as soon as possible, but with the last anxiety phase, I ended up so emotionally drained that truly cleaning was put on the back burner.  Needless to say, I looked around my place and become overwhelmed.  That feeling of peace was no longer there, which is a huge no-no when struggling with any kind of disorder.  Your home is your sanctuary!  It should make you cozy and safe, and restarting the process can be difficult after you’ve had a flare up.  Just looking at the amount of “stuff” you can collect while recuperating can cause your anxiety to flare again.  It’s really amazing how much a human being can acquire in such a short amount of time.

SO…here are my tips on cleaning and organizing through any kind of episode flare up you may have to help either keep your home feeling more relaxed or to avoid that overwhelming feeling you’ll have when your energy finally returns.

  1. Start small – Depending on what you may be struggling with, even getting the energy up to clean can be a hurdle.  Instead of looking around and stating you need to clean, give yourself small objectives.  You will always look in a room and see what has to be done, but instead of focusing on the whole room, pick one spot.  If you’re like me and pile up your mail on your kitchen table, you may want to start there.  Give yourself the goal of cleaning off the table one night, then the counter top the next night.  It’s a slow go, but it’s not as overwhelming.
  2. Pick a room – Instead of jumping around from the kitchen table to the coffee table in the living room to your dresser in the bedroom, focus on one room.  It will take a while to finish, but you will feel accomplished by just completing one room.  I do my best to ignore the rest of my place while I’m trying to focus on one thing.  When anxiety races, focusing becomes essential in order to keep yourself from playing into the fight or flee instinct.  Jumping from place to place will keep your mind racing.
  3. Trash ANYTHING and EVERYTHING – If it looks like junk, it’s probably junk.  If you haven’t touched it in a while, toss it.
  4. Make your Bed – Your room will automatically look cleaner with a made bed.  I know it doesn’t make sense since your only going to get back in it, but it does make your room look more organized.

Do you have any short cuts for cleaning? Any tips to keep yourself organized through stressful times?





46 thoughts on “Cleaning Through Anxiety

  1. I always love a clean space, but it’s kinda hard sometimes when I get school work and just become lazy to clean my space. One thing that I always do is clean my bed, so that even though my room is messy in some other parts, the bed is always clean when I get back.
    I also reconsider the things I want to buy. This helps me to not add more stuff in my space.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So glad to know I’m not alone! Cleaning is the first thing to go when I’m dealing with an anxiety episode. I just don’t have the energy. It’s such a cycle because a messy house makes me feel worse. Thanks for the tips!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Having a clean living environment always calms me down! I love breaking it up into manageable chunks like you suggest! I think it’s important to also give yourself permission to not finish or even do a good job. Sometimes we put so much pressure on ourselves to perform at an unnecessary and unreasonable level. No need to stress ourselves even more with cleaning duties! They should help calm us instead!🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These are great tips. It’s true the space we are in really impacts our mood. Making my bed in the morning is a must. When things are organized, I feel much more productive. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this. It’s very real and applicable. Anxiety can cause many different effects in different people, but I’ve struggled before too with it leading to clutter and not wanting to do anything. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Cleaning is definitely therapeutic. It’s clearing out a bad energy. When I have anxiety, something that helps is to not battle against it. I accept and acknowledge that I’m anxious. I tell myself it’s okay. I do some breathing exercises (breathing from the belly). If that doesn’t calm me down, I like to vacuum and organize my shelves!


  7. Cleaning is probably the only thing I am able to control in my life. And sometimes it seems as though I am failing terribly at that as well. However, every small success cleaning one area makes it far easier for me to continue; and in the end, a clean house makes me feel so much better!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I think better when the house is clean, there is just something about clutter that adds to the stress that you’re feeling. These tips are spot on and they can definitely help you when you’re feeling stressed out.


  9. I would love for anxiety to have the same affect on me, lol. But it’s the other way around, I simply just close myself in and forget to clean. I have never been good at cleaning, so I thank God for cheap cleaning ladies that can do this for me.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Good points! It is really so that need to concentrate to one room at the time and not jump from one place to another. Actually just last night I started to clean up my walk-in closet and put aside all those pieces which haven’t been in use for years. This morning I gave a bag full of tees and pants for a homeless.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. anxiety and all the heavy burden that comes with it is easy to throw off with cleaning as with the stress it takes in , it takes all out aswell. thanks Honestheartandmind for this one.

    Liked by 1 person

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