Does Hygiene Affect Mental Health?

by | Dec 29, 2022 | Issue 162, Issues | 0 comments

When you're having a bad mental health day, decluttering your house or washing the dishes must be the last thing on your mind. But what if taking 10 minutes...

When you’re having a bad mental health day, decluttering your house or washing the dishes must be the last thing on your mind. But what if taking 10 minutes to clean or declutter could alleviate stress and some of your mental health symptoms?


Mental Health

Mental health is complex and affects millions of Americans throughout their lifetime. Several mental health illnesses affect the general population yearly, some of the most common being depression and anxiety.

Mental health can stem from various causes, such as: 

  • Chemical imbalances; 
  • Genetic predispositions; 
  • Childhood trauma; 
  • Environmental factors; 
  • Chronic diseases; 
  • Stressful circumstances. 

It’s essential to be evaluated by a mental health professional or doctor to rule out certain causes and start treatment or make lifestyle changes to improve your quality of life. One of those lifestyle changes could include keeping your work and home spaces tidy to help alleviate stress and ensure you have a calming environment to live in. 


Why Mental Health Matters

Mental health as a problem is becoming much more talked about in society, especially among younger generations. Connecting with others is a vital part of caring for yourself when dealing with mental health concerns, so the increased awareness surrounding this issue is beneficial. Although mental health problems can be harder to identify and treat than physical injuries or problems, they are equally important and need to be addressed. 

If you’re struggling with mental health concerns and feel isolated, remember that millions of other people in the country and the world are also dealing with similar thoughts and feelings. Because mental health affects so many people, it is important to have compassion when interacting with others. 


How Cleanliness Is Related to Health

Research suggests that the amount of clutter in your home or workspace directly affects mood and self-esteem. In one study, people who considered their homes cluttered and unclean also had higher levels of cortisol (i.e., the stress hormone) and depression. However, the other subjects who reported that their home environments were restful did not report the same levels of stress and depression. This link suggests that taking time to declutter space may be one of the best and simplest things you can do to alleviate stress and create a more restful environment. 


What Is the Importance of Cleanliness?

Good personal hygiene and overall cleanliness have been associated with better health. Keeping clean helps reduce the risks of certain diseases and viral infections. For example, washing hands properly and regularly is a major factor in avoiding infectious diseases like COVID-19, the common cold and the flu. 

Dust and mold can build up quickly in damp and unclean spaces, which can trigger allergies and even lead to respiratory complications. Regularly vacuuming and dusting will help to cut down on dust bunnies while cleaning up any drips and damp areas will help prevent mold.


Does Hygiene Affect Mental Health?

Improper hygiene can have a major effect on mental health in a variety of ways. Numerous mental health challenges are impacted by various circumstances, such as: 

  • The environment; 
  • Chemical imbalances; 
  • Trauma responses. 

Making sure that you are promoting the healthiest lifestyle you can, which includes having a good hygiene routine, may contribute to lessening symptoms of certain mental health afflictions. 

A lack of personal hygiene can be one of the first signs that someone is experiencing poor mental health. With mental illnesses like depression and some psychotic disorders, everyday hygiene tasks like brushing your teeth and showering can become incredibly difficult. Unfortunately, this lack of hygiene can often be stigmatized and associated with poverty or laziness. Therefore, people suffering from mental illnesses may need extra support and help to improve and protect their health. 

The feeling that daily activities have become mentally draining and difficult to accomplish calls for a consultation with a mental health expert or your primary care doctor. Many people feel ashamed of having an unclean space while also unable to tackle the problem and make changes. Reaching out to your support system, as well as your primary doctor, will help give you options and empower you to regain control of your mental health. 


A Parting Reminder

If you’re feeling up to it, taking time out of your day to declutter your space and do some quick cleaning could improve your mental health symptoms and overall health. Hygiene and mental health are intricately connected, and a bad episode of either can affect the other. Simple hygiene habits like cleaning your space, regularly brushing your teeth and showering are valuable steps in improving your mental health and examples of a healthy lifestyle as preventative healthcare!

Louisa Emhof

Louisa Emhof


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