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I don’t even want to talk about how gross my house gets when I get depressed, it’s a whole other level of disgusting. I’m messy all the time but usually, I spend a lot of time putting things away and cleaning. When I’m depressed that goes right out the window. Cleaning when you’re depressed can be incredibly overwhelming especially if you’re like me and give up on it. It’s really easy to have a messy house when you’re depressed and you can quickly find yourself in a vicious cycle. You stop cleaning because you’re depressed but then the dirty house makes you feel even worse. Challenge yourself to break this cycle and do a little bit right now, if you can only do something small that’s OK! Instead of focusing on what still needs to get done celebrate what you are able to do.
Clean the things that will make you feel better first. For me, it is the dishes. This is the first area I give up on when my level of functioning is low. I get sucked into a self-hate cycle of putting off the dishes and then feeling bad about it. Plus dishes get gross the longer you leave them. If having your bed made makes you feel like a queen then do that. Pick something that will make you feel good and clean that first. When you’re depressed your energy is precious and you want to make sure you spend it on the things that will actually start to make you feel better. Write a list of what needs to be done and then just pick one or two things and only focus on those things.
Do a Little
Do a little bit. You don’t have to wash all of the dishes. Start with a few or even just one. A lot of times I end up getting a lot more done than I originally planned on. Sometimes the hardest part is getting started. Pick something easy at first. Clean off the kitchen counter, your desk, or divide your house into areas and clean a small chunk of it at a time. Start with a corner of your room or one side of the kitchen. If you can’t clean your whole house it’s OK. When you’re going through a hard time the goal can be to get a little bit done to keep everything from getting out of control and making you feel worse. You won’t feel this way forever and when you are feeling better you can tackle more of the cleaning.
Make a Schedule
Make a list of what you need to get done and then divide it up throughout the week. Make sure you are being realistic about how much you can expect yourself to get done. Write it all out and hang it where you can see it. I like to set reminders on my phone to help me remember. Schedule the things you absolutely need to do each week and do your best stick to your schedule. I have posted the mental health planner I use and you can download it for free here. It’s really hard to remember anything when you’re depressed so writing things out is crucial. I always forget basic stuff like what day the trash goes out when I’m depressed.
Don’t Be Hard on Yourself
If you haven’t cleaned in a month don’t expect to clean the whole house in one sitting. You’ll probably have to do small chunks but that’s OK. Don’t compare yourself to what others are able to do or even compare how your house is now to how it was when you weren’t depressed. Not everyone is managing mental health issues. You are dealing with something difficult and it makes life hard sometimes, just do the best you can. Beating yourself up is only going to make you feel worse and make it even more difficult to clean.
Use Affirmations and Mantras
Pick an affirmation and try saying it out loud or writing it down. Hold it in your mind and use it to give you strength and energy. You can see some of my favorites on this free affirmation printable. If you need even more inspiration, I have a Pinterest board of affirmations. Affirmations can help you replace the negative thoughts in your head with positive ones. Your subconcious mind can’t tell the difference between someone saying mean things to you or your own mind telling you negative things. All it hears is a voice saying “you are useless” or whatever it is. You want to feed your subconcious mind positive thoughts and that’s where saying affirmations can help. Pick a few that resonate with you and say them throughout the day.
Pump the Jams
Play music that will put you in a good mood. I like Beyonce but it can be whatever motivates you. Google Play has a radio station for literally any mood you’re in. I’ve really been liking the indie disco station. They even have a clean the house radio station here. Putting on music can help elevate your mood so you can do a couple of the tasks on your task list.
Focus on what you’ve accomplished instead of what is left to do. Any bit of progress can be a win. Just do a little bit and then rest or do more if you’re up to it. Recognize you’re doing something hard and you’re strong. Getting down on yourself isn’t going to help anything. Focusing on success is the key to cleaning when depressed. After you do a task or two reward yourself with a TV show or your favorite snack. Don’t expect yourself to clean the whole house and celebrate any small victory that you have.
Set a Timer
Decide to clean for a certain amount of time. Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes and see how much you can get done in this time. Sometimes it’s easier than trying to go task by task. When I find myself sucked into Netflix and/or the couch, I set a five-minute timer between episodes to clean the house. This helps me feel like I am accomplishing something and keeps me from laying on the couch for hours on end. Cleaning for a small amount of time can help you get motivated to clean when depressed.
Hire a Housekeeper
I personally have never (and still can’t) afford this but if you can afford it you should absolutely do it. You’re going through something difficult so take any help you can get. You’re getting something done that you need to have done and you’re helping someone else make money. It’s a win-win. Everyone needs help at certain points in their life and there’s nothing wrong with asking or accepting help from others. You can actually order housekeeping service from Amazon here.
I hope these ideas help you get motivated to do some cleaning when depressed. Remember that it’s OK if you can’t clean your whole house and your main priority right now should be on improving your mental health. Everyone has hardtimes at some point so don’t feel like anything is wrong with you if you’re struggling right now. If you’re looking for more articles about living with depression check out some of my other posts here.
I am not a licensed therapist. If you are suffering from a major disorder and need treatment please seek the help of a professional. If you need help finding a mental health care provider call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or visit BetterHelp to talk to a certified therapist online at an affordable price. You can download a free printable list of hotlines here and join the free mental health support group on Facebook here. This post contains affiliate links, you can read my full disclosure policy here.
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