Whether we like doing it or not, cleaning is a part of our everyday lives.
It is a non-negotiable for hygiene and organisation, albeit with varying degrees of intent and application
But what if we could use the idea of ‘cleaning’ in a different way?
What if we could use it as a psychological tool to help free ourselves from the stultifying effects of Covid ‘stuckdown’ 6.0?
In Melbourne, Groundhog Day has become Groundhog Year and unsurprisingly our postcode fishbowls still look the same as they did in 2020.
We have become pretty damn good at accepting overgrown locks, homeschooling in pyjamas and drinking the weekend wine on any night of the week.
I think it would be safe to say that for my fellow most-locked-down-in-the-world buddies, energy levels are low and motivation is lower.
So on those days when you really don’t feel like doing anything but you know somewhere deep inside that you have to do something, where do you start? How do you start?
We suggest a wee bit of cleaning to get the mind, body and spirit cogs turning.
- Clean out your lungs
The easiest way to get your energy moving and to stop feeling sluggish is to breathe fully and deeply and flush out your lungs.
It’s important to get fresh O2 in but just as important to get CO2 out.
Stand up and stretch out to make space for your diaphragm and lungs to expand.
Take a big juicy breath in through your nose, hold it for a few seconds and then let it go out through the mouth with a loud audible sigh. Inhaling through the nose not only strengthens the diaphragm for improved breath function but it also encourages the nervous system to relax and restore itself so you get double the bang for your buck!
Repeat as many times as feels good to do and make sure you note any shifts in your energy levels as you go.
- Clean out your mind
The benefits of mindfulness and meditation practices for calming and clearing the mind are well documented and universally accepted.
Setting aside time for your mind to become still and quiet gives you the opportunity to see a starting point and, from there, a direction to follow. It is a bit like a shower of rain washing away dust and dirt so you can find the path beneath your feet. A really simple way of beginning this process is to close your eyes and count your breath inhalations and exhalations in a slow rhythmic manner, inhale 1 and exhale 2, up to 10. It doesn’t need to be complicated, it just needs to work for you.
If you require more guidance a quick google search will give you access to a plethora of resources on mindfulness and meditation. There are also many free apps available to download. Our favourites are Smiling Minds, Insight Timer and Declutter.
- Clean your body
Get in the shower or bath and rub-a-dub-dub away until your body tingles.
Face masks, hair treatments, exfoliating scrubs and the like, are absolute gems when it comes to reinvigorating energy levels. Even brushing your teeth can do the trick. Animals shed their skins to grow and to enter new stages of their lives, so for us to shake off old skins cells and expose the new shiny ones triggers a physical and psychological readiness for action.
Something as simple as giving yourself a pedicure might give you the impetus to follow up with a manicure and then who knows what cure will be next on the list!
- Clean a drawer
Allocate one drawer in your closet or office for some special love and attention.
Empty it out. Throw away the rubbish or items you know longer need and then restack it in a way that best serves your purpose. Undies on the right and socks on the left? Pens and pencils in a different box to Post It notes?
The sheer delight of opening an organised drawer will give you untold pleasure and may even spur you on to do more…or not.
One clean drawer demonstrates your capacity for action and is worthy of a high five on work well done. Congratulations and praise, even if it is your own, is affirming and motivating.
- Clean under a piece furniture
This is not a joke. The parts of the house we often neglect are the parts we find the hardest to deal with because they always seem so onerous; under the bed, under the couch, behind the fridge. Or maybe it is washing out the rubbish bin or scrubbing the bathroom tiles. If you can tackle and complete one difficult task that you have been avoiding for months then the rest will seem remarkably easy. If you do nothing else, then you have at least done one thing that wasn’t done before and that is one step forward.
So cleaning big or cleaning small may spur you on to further action or it might just give you a moment of peace and quiet to take stock and find another course of action.
There is nothing to lose in the process but you might be happy to find a dash of sparkle where it didn’t exist before.
Marisa Lawlor is the Owner and Director of Just Believe Fit studio in Thornbury which promotes health and wellness for mind, body and spirit.