With the change of season upon us, in classic New Zealand fashion we're getting a mix of both beautiful spring days, and the freezing tail-end of winter.
If you've got a case of the cold day blues - you're not the only one! There's actually a medical reason why you might find your mood drops on those colder, overcast days. Medical researchers have found that the UV rays from the sun are essential in releasing endorphins - our natural source of 'feel good' hormones in our bodies.
So what can you do to inject a little bit of happiness back into those colder days? Well, believe it or not, the sometimes dreaded task of cleaning and tidying can offer a real pick-me up.
The reason for this, is that the feeling of productivity combined with the end result of a de-cluttered, clean home gives us that same release of endorphins and helps us to feel calm and relaxed.
“Cleaning up our external environment can make us feel like we’re cleaning up our psyche,” - Rebecca Beaton, Ph.D., founder and director of The Anxiety & Stress Management Institute in Atlanta, Georgia.
If you're looking for a little mood-booster during the colder days, we've put together a quick list of jobs that don't take too much time, but make a huge impact on the space around you and your overall mood.
Work through these top 4 areas to clean when you need a cold day cleaning pick-me-up, and let us know how you feel at the end of it!
- Clean out your closet
- Delve into indoor gardening
- Organise the kitchen
- Deep clean your carpets and upholstery
There's nothing more refreshing than pulling all of your clothing, shoes and accessories out of your wardrobe, laying them on the floor and having a good, old-fashioned sort out.
For this job, you'll want to start completely fresh, so make sure you empty out the wardrobe completely and leave nothing behind.
Next, grab two large bags (we'd recommend durable black-sacks for this) and label one 'donate', and one 'rubbish'. Begin to sift through everything you own and sort into things you'd like to keep, and place everything else in the appropriate bags. A good rule of thumb for this is if you haven't worn it in the past year, you don't need it. This accounts for every season, and it means you're not holding onto anything that isn't practical or present in your usual outfit rotation.
When you're done sorting, give the surfaces of your wardrobe a good wipe down, and neatly place everything from your 'keep' pile back in.
- There's a bunch of new space in your wardrobe for clothes that represent the current version of yourself, and that's always good for the mental health.
- Your thorough clean will get rid of the thick layers of dust that tend to stick to clothing and dark, damp spaces like your wardrobe which is great for your respiratory health and allergies.
- Donating clothing that you no longer use is a great way to pay it forward to those in need, and will leave you feeling extra good about your recent refresh.
This one isn't strictly cleaning, so to speak, but it is all about creating a healthy and clean space that's good for your overall health and mood. Did you know the the air in our homes is prone to harbouring unhealthy toxins such as formaldehyde and carbon monoxide?
Putting a little extra effort into the greenery that features on your shelves and corners of your rooms can help to reduce these toxins, and give your indoor spaces a decorative invigoration at a very low cost.
All you have to do, is head down to your local store and invest in potting mix, a few low budget indoor pots, and pot plants. Plant your new greenery, and place it in warm, sunny spots around your house. So long as you regularly water your pot plants and keep them healthy and happy, you'll have a decorative and healthy addition to your home that keeps on giving!
- The process of photosynthesis absorbs carbon dioxide (what we exhale) and releases oxygen (what we inhale). That means fresh air indoors to increase your oxygen levels, which boosts your mood.
- A University of Michigan study revealed that by simply having plants and nature around us, our concentration, productivity and memory retention can improve by up to 20% - that's something that'll uplift anyone's spirits!
- There's nothing humans love more than routine, and the admin required for watering and nurturing your new plants will welcome some mood-enhancing routine into your life.
This one's a big job, and you may even need to put aside a whole day to really tackle it, but in terms of the effort to reward ratio it's a sure-fire winner for endorphins and satisfaction.
To get your kitchen organised from top to bottom, we'd recommend beginning with unpacking the food out of your pantry and checking each and every item for an expiry date. If it's out of date, throw it out, and if it's still good, organise it back into your pantry. We can almost guarantee you'll find a few surprises lurking.
Rinse and repeat this same process for the fridge, and make sure to wipe down the surfaces with disinfectant as you go. Refrigerators are prone to bad spills that stick around, as the coolness keeps anything spilt from developing a smell for a while.
Finally, a quick cleaning option that'll impact your overall food hygiene is running a full dishwasher cycle while it's empty. This will get rid of bacteria and residual grime from many rounds of dishes. If you really want to do a good job, you can actually buy specific dishwasher cleaner products you can put in with an empty cycle to assist in the clean and disinfect.
- You use your kitchen every day, and due to food safety it's one of the most important spaces to keep clean and tidy. It'll make your day to day processes a little easier, and you'll be a little happier to enter this space if it's clean!
- We tend to focus on the typical jobs such as doing the dishes and cleaning the oven, but emptying out the fridge and pantry are often overlooked. the levels of satisfaction from getting this job done are huge.
- This is an awesome opportunity to reignite your enjoyment of cooking, with the ingredients you discover during the process and the will to cook returning in a nice, clean space.
This is a task that is often overlooked by a lot of busy people and families, mainly because the thought of moving the furniture around and waiting for your carpets to dry can seem like an effort - But, it's actually a lot easier than you think! So once the weather heats up a little, what better job to get to first this spring than a deep carpet clean?
Begin by moving aside your furniture an using your household vacuum to whip round and suck up any loose dirt and dust. Then, pop down to your local supermarket or other Rug Doctor provider and hire a machine to get the job done quickly and effectively in your own time, head back home and follow the instructions provided. There are even helpful 'How to Use' video's also!
Repeat the process on your upholstery, and enjoy the mood-boosting benefits of having deep cleaned carpets and upholstery! With a warm spring breeze afoot, your carpets will dry in no time.
- Your carpets are notorious for becoming a home for allergens, dust particles and bacteria - especially if they're cleaned very infrequently. A deep clean removes all of these issues, helping you and your family to breathe easier. A weight off your mind that will most definitely boost your mood.
- Similar to how you might feel if you were to look out at a freshly mown lawn, your carpet takes up a large portion of space in any given room and is an important visual element. As dirt and dust build up over time, the fibres become matted and make the carpet look old and worn. Deep cleaning your carpet will have it looking bright and fluffy again - ahh, satisfying!
- There's a peace of mind that comes with knowing that every fibrous surface in your home is deep cleaned and free of dust and dirt. A good outcome and pick-me-up for any spring day.
Want a healthier home and clear mind this spring?
Take a look at our FREE downloadable healthy home guide, for all the best tips and tricks for creating a healthy home for your family.