For me mess equals stress, and I’ve never understood why. Until now.
But does mess actually create stress? Enter stage left the queens of tidy – Marie Kondo, Mrs Hinch and Nicola Lewis, who all state that mental wellbeing is directly connected to a de-cluttered, well-organised home. So I’ve turned to the oracle (Google) once again, and here’s what I discovered…
So does mess create stress, and is it bad for our mental wellbeing?
According to Nicola Lewis author of Mind Over Clutter – “Living in a chaotic state, surrounded by mess, can trigger a physiological response, usually in the form of stress and raised cortisol levels. Cortisol is the body’s main stress hormone and when it increases, it can lead to a variety of health problems, such as anxiety, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, memory lapses, concentration problems and even depression.”
Yup, I hear ya.
Some days when I get home from work the house is a tip. There’s empty envelopes on the table, rice krispies stuck to the breakfast bar, dirty dishes in the sink, and tonnes of toys scattered all over the joint as if it’s been raining plastic. When my house is in this state, I feel like I want to lie in a dark, empty room hyperventilating and thinking of the colour white.
In her book Nicola Lewis writes that having unnecessary clutter lying around can act like – “visual noise”.
Like a million babies crying. Or people eating crisps at the theatre. Or both. And you’ve got PMT. And you’ve only had one hour sleep. Well, that’s how it feels for me anyhow.
“The truth is, most of us have so much stuff either lying around in full view or shoved inside cupboards, that it’s sometimes impossible to find what we are looking for when we want it,” she writes.
I know where everything is because I put stuff away, but the rest of my family on the other hand. KIILL. ME. NOW.
“Where are my shoes?” In the shoe cupboard lovely. “You seen my keys?” In the keys box my dear. “Where are the jump leads for my car?” Oh, the ones you left on the floor in the hall for three months? Maybe try the garage my sweet.
You see, not everyone puts stuff away, because not everyone stresses about mess. My husband doesn’t see it, and so, it doesn’t stress him out in the slightest. And it’s not just men, I have female friends who couldn’t give a minky if their house was a sh*t pit.
I envy those people so much.
I suppose what works is having at least one person in the home who cares about mess. Because if no one cared what then? So is my mess stress a good thing? A natural instinct? Mess equals stress, therefore I tidy. This means my home is – ordered, safe and a nice environment for my family. It’s basic survival. As a teacher I was taught to have a tidy and organised classroom, as this positively affected kids mood/behaviour. And we’ve all watched those decluttering programmes right? The ones where people’s depression can lift once they’ve tidied up.
So does mess create stress?
“Decluttering your space can be a key ingredient in decluttering your mind, says Jason Kurtz, psychoanalyst and author of – Follow the Joy.
So yes, for some of us tidying up can reduce stress. Because an ordered home means and ordered mind. Unless you’re my family, whereby an ordered home means – the tidy fairy has been again.
See last weeks Wellbeing Wednesday post on sobriety here…