People who know me are often surprised that I don’t have a housekeeper. While I can afford it and with all that I manage and do, it would seem I ‘should’ have someone help.

Some people may see cleaning as something below them, a waste of time, or simply something they don’t do. Some may feel that having their house cleaned by someone else is a well-earned luxury or a social expectation.

Not me. It’s not because of COVID, nor my vacuum-attacking dog or even the fact that for 20 years I didn’t want to be disturbed as I worked from home. I clean my own house because it supports my mental wellbeing in some significant ways:

  1. Sweeping, scrubbing, dusting and wiping use muscles that rarely get tapped by other conventional exercises. My soreness after is a welcomed reminder that important parts of my body have been neglected and just got an overdue workout.
  2. For several hours, I focus on something other than work and social worries. As my husband blasts old rock albums, we work, dance and shout out back-of-the-brain lyrics together. Silly and cathartic, our unchoreographed cleaning doesn’t require heavy cognitive processing. In fact, the freedom from focus is like having a mental massage or braincation.
  3. I see the inevitable paint chips and missing grout bits that in our harried life will otherwise be overlooked. Fixing those small imperfections makes a visible impact on the overall décor and fulfills my desire to be a responsible homeowner.
  4. When I clean, I am reminded that I own a beautiful home that I CAN clean. I am able-bodied and I choose to do it myself. I am mindfully grateful for the blessings of health and hearth.
  5. After I clean, I feel accomplished, organized, actionable. Better than yoga, meditation or melatonin, I truly sleep soundly after a good housecleaning. And if you didn’t already know, sleep is truly critical for good physical and mental health! Among other benefits, when we sleep, our brains prune unnecessary neural pathways and clear out a type of plaque that is currently contributing to Alzheimer’s and other cognitive declines. So by cleaning my house, I also clean out my brain!

So next time you need to do a menial or physically challenging chore, try turning it into a mental health opportunity. And thank you, but no. Cleaning my own house is quite enough! Nice try ; )

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