The Science of Spring Cleaning
It’s time to hit rē-set.
After this weekend’s spring equinox, we are officially welcoming springtime with open arms. As winter transitions into spring, we tend to revisit the age-old concept of spring cleaning: a time of year when we purge our lives of what is no longer serving us—physically, mentally, and emotionally.
But what does this seasonal decluttering actually do for us? It turns out that there is actual science behind the idea of spring cleaning—and it goes much deeper than a superficial cleansing.
The Depths of Spring Cleaning
We all know the sensation following a routine cleaning session. It almost feels as though a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders. There is a special comfort that sets in knowing you’re surrounded by a clean environment. Psychologists agreed that our moods can be boosted by “pleasant activities and mastery activities,” referring to tasks that aren’t particularly fun, but whose outcomes provide a sense of accomplishment that elevates our spirits.
Case in point? Cleaning
Spring cleaning relays a “fresh start effect,” which, similar to setting New Year’s resolutions, reveals the tendency of humans to create goals based on arbitrary dates. But, studies have shown that doing so taps into our motivations, increasing the intention to pursue an end-goal.
But why does cleaning make us feel so good? Well, for starters, studies show that clutter is one of the top stressors. In a 2009 study, levels of cortisol— the “stress hormone”—were higher in mothers whose home environments were cluttered. Others have found that the action of clearing clutter from our work environment (which is most likely your home right now!) also results in the improved ability to focus and process information… We’ll take it!
Tips to Spring Clean Your Space
When it comes to your physical space, begin with small tasks to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Start by going from room to room and addressing what needs to be done in each, noting the items that you no longer need or that no longer serve you.
It really will be worthwhile. For instance, it can help reduce allergies caused by common household debris like dust, or pet dander. Plus, it’s physical activity! Swap out your next #FitnessFriday for a 30-minute deep-cleaning session and see how you feel afterward!
In recent years, the philosophy of “less is more” has become mainstream, manifesting itself into concepts like conscious consumerism and minimalism. Keep this mentality in mind when you’re going through the process of decluttering and working out what should remain, even after your spring cleaning journey is accomplished.
Tips to Spring Clean Your Mind and Body
While spring cleaning in the traditional sense refers to the cleaning of physical spaces a la Marie Kondo, this year, let’s rē-spin our focus back to physical and mental cleanses, as well. This is the perfect opportunity to reset and sync our minds and our bodies. There is some emotional cleansing we can work through this springtime to get ourselves in the right mindset for the rest of the year.
To begin emotionally, take the time to reflect on your life and what you’re looking to ultimately accomplish. Let go of those past mentalities that may have been holding you back and replace them with a focus on more positive affirmations. In the same way, flowers are more likely to bloom in healthy soil, your new, consciously set goals are more likely to come to fruition if you take the time to reflect on what outdated mindsets are holding you back from reaching them.
The beginning of spring is also the ideal time to reset your digestive tract by spring-cleaning your diet and adding in a few, nourishing self-care practices like dry brushing your skin before an Epsom salt bath. Instead of detoxing with an intense juice cleanse, you can focus on adding more naturally detoxing foods into your diet.
Start your morning off right with a warm cup of lemon water. According to a study published by the Journal of Medicine, the citric acid in lemons helps prevent liver damage, specifically damage caused by stress-related hormones. You can also swap out your morning cup of coffee for green tea which is high in antioxidants and full of detoxification enzymes.
Focus on eating meals that are rich in cruciferous vegetables, dark leafy greens, and healthy fats from foods like avocados and salmon. Cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower and broccoli, and alkalizing, dark, leafy greens, like kale and spinach, have anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral effects. They are also high in fiber which helps transport toxins out of your body. Go heavy on the garlic, turmeric, and cilantro while cooking. These nourishing foods enhance the detoxification process by helping your body excrete heavy metals and even protect against damage to your DNA.
One of the best fruits to eat while detoxing? Blueberries! They’re an abundant source of antioxidants and studies have shown that they enhance your body’s natural ability to fight against cancer cells. Try making the delicious, blueberry detox smoothie below, by none other than the detox expert himself, The Medical Medium.
Blueberry Detox Smoothie
- 2 bananas
- 2 cups wild blueberries
- 1 cup cilantro
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 tsp barley grass juice powder
- 1 tsp spirulina
- 1 small handful of Atlantic dulse
- Optional: water or coconut water or fresh orange juice to blend
In a high-speed blender, blend all ingredients until smooth. If a thinner consistency is desired, add up to 1 cup of water. Enjoy!