April 9, 2020
How to Spring Clean for Better Health While You’re Stuck at Home
Finding the Silver Lining in Your Coronavirus Quarantine
Sophia L. Thomas, DNP, FNP-BC, PPCNP-BC, FNAP, FAANP
Nearly everyone is stuck inside rethinking their days and how to spend their time. We’re also more hyper-focused on healthier habits because, for the first time in most of our lifetimes, we’re facing a real, universal health threat. While the downsides of being stuck inside weigh heavily on our minds, there’s a bright side. More time at home means more time to spring clean, and I don’t just mean your closets. Now is the perfect time to address the bad habits and hidden health busters that can impact your health.
Spring cleaning is a yearly rite of passage for more than 75% of Americans. The benefits extend well beyond a cleaner house. A full 70% say spring cleaning gives them a sense of accomplishment, 60% say it’s a de-stressor and more than half say it’s relaxing – all feelings we so desperately crave right now. And while there are numerous benefits of refreshing your life, most people don’t view spring cleaning through the lens of achieving better health.
Now is the perfect time to change that. Here are some ways to spring clean your health while you’re trapped at home.
- Clean out your medicine cabinet. 70% of opioid abuse begins with unused drugs in the family medicine cabinet. Antidepressants, muscle relaxants, sleep aids and other medications can also be dangerous if not taken as prescribed, and expired medications can become chemically altered or diluted over time. Take time to go through your medicine cabinet and discard those you no longer need, and avoid saving prescriptions “just in case” – taking old medicines for new problems is never a good idea.
- Clear your mind, and your house. Clutter is linked to negative emotions like confusion, tension, irritability and worry, while clean space is tied to positive emotions like happiness, calm and a sense of well-being. Additionally, getting down and dirty can help get your heart rate up, improve your mood and help you sleep.
- Spruce up your workspace. 158 million Americans have been told to stay home, and many are still working. Take some time to organize your home office – however small or makeshift it is – to streamline tasks, boost productivity and make the most of your work-from-home situation.
- Organize your calendar. Take advantage of your downtime to schedule screenings, checkups and appointments for the rest of the year, including dental, vision and dermatologist visits. Putting a game plan in place is often the most time-consuming part – and a big reason why Americans are seeing health care providers less – so use this time to prioritize your health.
- Fix up your outdoor space. Many parks and trails are closed, limiting outdoor access to your own yard. Take time to clean up debris, weed, mulch, plant flowers, grow herbs and vegetables – anything that makes the space feel more calm and accessible.
Spring cleaning is always a good idea, but this year, it’s even more important. Finding peace when there are so many unknowns in the world around you can be hard, but taking time to organize your house, your mind and your life will help create stability and a sense of hope for the future.