How stress and household chores are related

Stress is a physiological response to external stimuli. He works as an alarm and prepares the body for potential danger: more hormones are released into the blood, the heart beats more often, and the pressure rises.

Such short-term mobilization can be useful when you need to concentrate and make a quick decision. But prolonged and uncontrolled stress negatively affects on physical and mental health. It reduces motivation, increases the risk of autoimmune and cardiovascular disease, and is also accompanied by anxiety, depression and irritation.

Stress needs to be dealt with, and everyone has their own methods. Some cope with this condition by burdening themselves with household chores, such as cleaning the tiles in the bathroom or washing the dishes. Such simple and repetitive work is one of the possible Ways to calm down and distract from anxiety. But not everyone stress causes an urgent need for something to occupy themselves and throw out energy. It often happens that intense experiences are exhausting and lead to apathy. Then there is no energy left even for everyday household chores.

Meanwhile, it has been scientifically proven that order and comfort affect the mental state. Scientists at Southern California University figured outthat in women who consider their home to be insufficiently clean and equipped, the level of the stress hormone cortisol rises. During the day, they are more likely to feel tired and depressed. Researchers at Princeton discoveredthat in a cluttered place it is more difficult to concentrate on tasks. And scientists from the University of New Mexico did conclusionthat the disorder in the house reduces the overall level of satisfaction with life.

It turns out that a person experiencing a breakdown due to stress is trapped: weakness and a bad mood prevent him from taking up cleaning, because of the mess, his condition worsens, the house becomes even more neglected, and the motivation to clean up only decreases.

How to manage household chores during stress

It seems that getting out of this vicious circle is very difficult. But there are small tricks and tips that will help you find strength and put your house in order.

1. Start simple

Let’s be honest: even in a good mood, it’s not easy to start cleaning. If there are too many things to do, you want to constantly put them off. To prevent this from happening, do something as simple and quick as possible. For example, put things in their places, take out the trash, or clean the sink and bathroom mirror.

Another option is to start cleaning only where you spend the most time. You can sort out the rubble on the desktop or change the bed linen and fluff up the pillows. Even after these small steps, the house will look neater. And when you notice the result of your labors, it will be easier motivate yourself to do more.

2. Make a plan

Another way to approach a big and unpleasant task is to break it into small parts in advance and set yourself deadlines. When there are clear steps, the task no longer seems impossible.

When planning, it is important to evaluate your strengths, set realistic goals and be sure to set aside time for rest. Try different schemes and choose the amount of work that is comfortable for you. For example, you can clean only one room at a time, or set a timer and devote 15–30 minutes a day to household chores.

Try not to procrastinate and stick to your schedule, but don’t beat yourself up if something goes wrong. Plans do not always coincide with reality, this is normal.

3. Create a pleasant atmosphere

Try to provide such conditions that not the most pleasant household chores bring you at least a little pleasure. Play your favorite sitcom in the background or put on your favorite music, buy scented detergents and replace old rags and sponges. Use any little things to improve your mood.

4. Do household chores mindfully

Perhaps your eyes will roll back from the next advice about awareness and being in the moment. But the National Health Service of England considerthat this practice really works and helps to cope with negative emotions and prevent depression.

Elizabeth Scott

PhD in Psychology, Specialist in Stress Management, Psychology and Family Counseling – in an article for Verywell Mind.

Not only the end result, but also the cleaning process can be used as a stress management method. If you practice mindfulness, your homework will become a form of meditation, after which you will feel more calm and relaxed.

Try to do household chores not on the machine – focus on your physical feelings. Listen to the sound of water running from the tap, feel its temperature with your hands, inhale the aroma of the food you are cooking. So you will not be distracted by disturbing thoughts in the process and will generally feel calmer.

5. Make household chores part of your routine.

If the previous method does not help you, use the opposite tactic – make household chores a habit. Wash the dishes while you reheat food, take your trash with you every time you leave the room, and put things away right away. Repeat these actions constantly so that later you can do them without thinking. This will make it much easier to keep order.

6. Praise yourself

Focus not on what you have to do, but on what you have already achieved. Encourage and reward yourself more often, this increases motivation.

After cleaning the bathroom, you can give yourself a well-deserved spa treatment. If you find the strength to cook, make a small holiday out of dinner, light candles and take out your favorite dishes. Buy yourself some nice little things for the work done.

7. Ask for help

Sometimes the simplest tips are the most effective. Explain to loved ones that it is more difficult for you to do household chores now, and just ask them for all possible help. Divide responsibilities among all family members and create a cleaning schedule. Or turn this process into a game and, for example, hold a lottery where everyone will draw a random case from the list.

If possible, use cleaning services and food delivery.

8. Listen to yourself

When everything around you is on fire, remember to listen to yourself in order to maintain physical and mental health. It is incomparably more important than the ideal order.

Maggie Vaughn

PhD in Psychology, psychotherapist, specialist in anxiety and depressive disorders – in an article for Huffpost.

Cleaning won’t do you any good for your mental health if it gets in the way of more important things and you strive to get everything in order.

Keep track of your anxiety level. If during cleaning it does not decrease, do other things or just relax.