Time to get your house in order

We all know that housework, no matter how tiresome it may be, usually leaves us feeling a lot better than when we started.

According to a new piece of research, older adults who keep their homes clean and tidy feel emotionally better than those living in a chaotic environment.

Kathy Wright and her team from Case Western Reserve University School of Nursing in Ohio set out to understand how factors such as income, education, environment and health behaviours, like smoking, self-care and exercise, influence an older person’s health.

The study’s 337 participants ranged in age between 65 and 94 years and data was collected by interview. Geographic and socioeconomic information was then linked to health data.

Wright said she was surprised to discover that housework and maintaining property in good order contributed more to participants’ sense of well-being than factors such as income or housing. She concluded that “A clean environment is therapeutic”.

Perhaps we ought not be so surprised. If cleanliness is, indeed, close to Godliness, as the saying goes, then might we not have reasonable expectation of reaping the benefits of such activity? Like many sayings handed down from generation to generation, there’s usually something to it.

With common sense fast becoming a scarce commodity, it’s even just a little ironic that such phenomena would be the subject of scholarly research. But if proofs are needed, then so be it. ‘Tidy house, tidy mind’ can now be referenced for the sake of posterity.

Of course, there’s also the impact of exercise which must be added to the equation. Exercise, as we’ve been highlighting in recent posts, has a direct effect on brain health and emotional wellbeing and presumably, housework undertaken with even a modicum of gusto, must make a contribution.

If you’re out of the habit of exercise and would like to get back in action, we at 96 Harley Psychotherapy are amply equipped to help you do it. As well as our excellent team of Psychotherapists, we have an in-house gym and resident Physiotherapist (John Rutherford) and Exercise Physiologist (Giles Webster). Both can help you safely ease yourself into regular activity and address any underlying problems of pain or injury. You can find out more about them here.

Written by Jacqui Hogan