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Sparkling Through the Fog: A Guide to Finding Motivation and Cleaning with Depression Having a mess

Having a messy room is not uncommon, especially with teenagers. But if an individual cannot find the motivation to clean their room although they know that they should, that messy room can lead to a “depression room.” The term “depression room” is popular to describe when an individual is lacking the motivation to take care of themselves or their environment and finds it difficult to get the energy they need to get out of bed or to get through the day.

A study by Saxbe and Repetti (2009) showed that women living in cluttered homes experienced higher levels of depressed moods compared to those in tidier environments. Conversely, women living in less cluttered spaces reported lower levels of depressive moods. This highlights the negative impact of a messy environment on mental health and emphasizes the importance of cleanliness in maintaining a healthy emotional well-being.

Although it may feel impossible to get up and clean, it’s helpful to accomplish a few tasks to give you a little boost in mood.

Make it fun

Make sure that you have the appropriate supplies to clean – gloves, face mask, bleach, toilet bowl cleaner, rags, paper towels, Clorox wipes, trash bags. If you don’t have these things you can make a shopping trip to your nearest store to get them. When you have the supplies, it’s one step closer to cleaning and will give you more incentive to use the supplies. Another tip for making it fun is to play music. You can even have a movie or show in the background but that’s up to your discretion and how well you know your attention span.

Set attainable goals

You don’t have to clean the whole house or the whole room in one day. You can start by cleaning one area of your room – the desk, the TV stand, the closet or dresser, the vanity. Choose your favorite area to clean so you can look forward to using that newly cleaned area. After you achieve those small goals of cleaning each area, you can aim higher and clean room by room.

Set a cleaning timer

Set a timer for 15 minutes and see how much you get done in that time span. After 15 minutes, take a five minute break and eat a snack, take a breather, and see if you can keep cleaning.

Ask for help

You can have the whole family help out and delegate what areas they should focus on. When the family reaches the goal they made, they can have a special reward like going out for pizza or another treat. This works as a great motivator.

Be kind to yourself

Lastly, be kind to yourself and bathe in the glow of success of cleaning that designated room or area. Every little bit of progress is a step closer to where you want to be. Do not let the mess define you. Everyone’s definition of “clean” is different so do as much as you are comfortable with. Make sure to reward yourself afterwards with a relaxing activity – a favorite meal, favorite drink, indulge in a dessert.

While living in a messy environment can exacerbate feelings of depression, taking small steps towards cleaning can have a positive impact on your mood. By making cleaning enjoyable, setting achievable goals, using timers, seeking help from family, and practicing self-kindness, you can gradually transform your living space and uplift your spirits. Embrace the power of a clean environment as you simultaneously declutter your physical and mental space.

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