Published: 04 February 2021

Easy Positive Steps To Improve Wellness - Part 1

Wellness is all about practicing healthier habits on a daily basis that help us better our physical and mental health, but sometimes wellness advice can be a bit daunting! We've come up with some tips that make practicing wellness easy and achievable - not to mention, will boost your happiness! This week, we'll focus on the small ways you can improve your space through cleaning or de-cluttering. Next week, we'll look at fun activites you can complete at home to boost your daily happiness.

1. Manage your space
As we are spending so much more time than ever in homes its easy to get into a rut and have the ‘” I’ll do it later” attitude towards tidying and cleaning and let’s face it no one is coming round to visit so you may feel there is no need. Keeping your space clean and tidy can be far more beneficial to improving your daily happiness than you might realise when it comes to your mental health and happiness. So go ahead and release your inner Mrs Hinch - even if it is just one cupboard or room a day!

2. Cleaning releases endorphins
You can approach cleaning as a meditative task or throw yourself into it, all elbow grease and dancing with mops. These endorphins go on to interact with the receptors in your brain, altering your perception of pain and triggering a positive feeling in your body. Regular exercise has been proven to reduce stress, lessen anxiety and ward off depression.

There's also that sense of satisfaction you get from transforming your messy home into a livable space that makes you feel calm and also proud!

3. A better smelling home can lift your mood
The link between olfactory sensations and mental health are long-established, and it's been proven that aromatherapy can reduce symptoms of anxiety, low mood and depression. Because your olfactory response is directly linked to the limbic system (the emotional center of our brain), scents that you associate with past experiences can encourage you to reminisce. But more than that, certain scents can have a beneficial impact on your mind and body, for example the soothing effect of lavender may help you sleep and would be a perfect scent for the bedroom.

A musty smelling room isn't likely to do anything for your mental health, but many cleaning products are scented with citrus, which can have an energizing effect and give you a much-needed lift. Try treating yourself to a new reed diffuser or scented candle  on your next essential shop

4. Declutter to improve your mood and focus
If you are struggling to lift your mood and to focus, take a look at your environment. Are you cluttering your space with things and objects? Piles of paperwork, your cereal bowl from breakfast, unopened letters, piles of half used products, hoarding clothes you haven’t worn in years or don’t fit, an overflowing bin… all these task-irrelevant objects could be making it more difficult for you to focus and contributing to lowering your mood.

Things like paperwork and unopened letters are particularly troublesome; in addition to their contribution to your cluttered environment, they may also act as a visual cue by reminding you of things you've been putting off. So, open those letters and file away any paperwork, put the bowl in the dishwasher, empty the waste paper bin…

5. Declutter first, clean second

Cleaning is already enough of a chore, but cleaning around clutter is even more time consuming and can be extremely frustrating. So, it stands to reason that you'd declutter before you get to the dusting.

Use a sorting system such as the three box method. One box for things you intend to keep, another for stuff you're throwing out, and a third for items you'll be donating. With that in mind, make sure you recycle what you can - the less household items ending up in landfill the better. Tackle one room at a time, and think hard about what you need to keep. If you haven't used something for a year, should it be taking up valuable space in your home? If you'd forgotten you owned something, doesn't that imply you no longer need it?

Start with the easier rooms to get yourself into the swing of things. As you recognize the benefits, you'll feel more confident about tackling the trouble spots.

6. Beauty and hygiene products
Have a proper clear out and finally get rid of all of those unwanted beauty products and gift sets that you know you won’t use.

But there are many who are far from this privileged position. As the wealthy among us panic buy and stock up our already overflowing cupboards, it leaves very little for those that need it and this has also caused the price of some products to inflate dramatically.  Even before the outbreak of Covid-19, having to choose between feeding your family, heating your home, paying rent or maintaining personal hygiene was a sad truth for some, but as the country goes on lock down and many face losing jobs or zero work this becomes an increasing reality for more people. No one should have to make this kind of decision. This is known as Hygiene Poverty.  Hygiene poverty is a shaming and humiliating experience, likely to negatively impact one’s confidence and mental health.

Here are just a few places you can donate any lightly used products:

BEAUTY BANKS – Helping those living in poverty, giving everyone the dignity to be clean

TOILETRIES AMNESTRY- supporting over 100 organizations including homeless shelters and hostels, women and children’s refuges, mental health services, food banks, and other organizations to alleviate hygiene poverty.
Find your local drop off -

SMALLS FOR ALL- Smalls for All® is a Scottish charity which collects and distributes underwear to help adults and children in Africa and the UK. They accept donations of new pants and new bras and gently worn (laundered) bras.

In Africa, they help those living in orphanages, slums, IDP (internally displaced persons) camps and schools, as well as those in hospitals suffering from medical conditions like obstetric fistula. While people living in Western Society tend to have easy access to underwear and take it for granted, in many more remote or poorer parts of Africa, that’s far from the case. Underwear is a luxury that isn’t easily available and, if it is, many people just can’t afford.

Giving pants and bras may seem like a small thing, but it can make a life-changing difference. For example, having pants can help teenage girls complete their education without having to miss school each month during their period. Distribution partner Paul McNeil of Freedom from Fistula Foundation and Kenya Children’s Homes says, “I can personally attest to the power of pants!”

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Published: 04 February 2021