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In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, I thought I’d dedicate a piece to one of the easier things we can do to improve our mental health: DECLUTTERING. I bet you’ve pegged me for the uber-organized type. With the boys often in collared shirts and my Instagram feed perfectly curated. Well I AM very organized, about SOME things. But as far as my home, let me give it to you straight: I’m far from organized. And feel that’s very important to be honest with my readers, that I struggle with managing ALL. THIS. STUFF. With that being said, I know darn well, and have felt first-hand, the mental benefits of decluttering a space.
The funny thing is… I used to be organized. My house was ALWAYS so tidy when there were two children. When the third one came, the avalanche began. By the time the fourth came, I was climbing over landmines and up the mountain of dirty laundry on the basement floor, planting my white flag firmly at the top. I simply can’t keep up with the daily mess, and the amount of stuff that comes with life with four kids.
Along the way, though, there were days and weeks when I knew I HAD to organize and purge to keep my sanity. There were times when life felt out of control with our oldest (who struggled with some behavioral challenges) and we knew that for OUR sake and for HIS, we needed to create space. Conquering even the smallest problem area made me breathe easier, and helped his mood. I could feel it immediately.
Last week I got a chance to chat with Monika Ostrowidzki, a licensed therapist and part of the Common Sense Wellness Network based out of Saratoga Springs. She shared her thoughts on the emotional benefits of decluttering:
“In a world that is increasingly chaotic, there’s something comforting about having a space where you decide what comes and stays in. Getting rid of the excess provides a chance for the things that matter to stand out. When our day-to-day lives are more consistent with what is actually important to us, we’ll notice a greater sense of resilience and calm. “
Natalie Christine Dattilo, PhD, clinical health psychologist and instructor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, explains in a Real Simple article, that clutter in the home is usually associated with high cortisol (stress) levels. Below I outline the five things she recommends you do to get organized… even when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
In this time of divisive news, political unrest and continuous notification dings, it’s just so easy to feel overwhelmed. Identifying the areas of your home that cause you stress, and chipping away at even a tiny portion each day, could dramatically improve your mood and wellbeing.
Is your clutter causing unnecessary anxiety? Perhaps you’re having a hard time parting with that furniture or clothing that you’re not using? What about those off-season supplies that are only used half the year? Or the small business inventory that’s creeping into your life?
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