The Psychology of Clean

Did you ever give thought to how differently you feel when you — or  your office — or your house is clean?

I’ve been on a mission lately. Call it fall cleaning or whatever you want but I have been crawling under things, dusting and vacuuming, organizing files, sorting paperwork, and in general cleaning up. My cleaning mission is extending to the outside too with a goal of getting the garden cleaned up, stuck projects outside done before we face the cold weather in Wisconsin.

Psychologically, it gives you a lift to have accomplished something and put things in order. I”m one of those people who has to shower to say that I have started my day off right. I might wait an hour or two after I wake up to consume a few cups of coffee and check out the computer but before I get too far into my day, I am in the shower.

People who struggle with depression, alcoholism, or substance abuse often find it hard to clean themselves, much less their surroundings. An alcoholic can easily justify going days between showers. I’m not talking about a homeless person who doesn’t have access to showers or clean clothes but someone who otherwise can easily jump into the shower and grab clean clothes out of the laundry.

An individual struggling with depression can easily have the same problem. They might find it hard to get out of bed, much less jump in the shower. There are no easy solutions to clinical depression but if your depression is stress-induced because you just lost your job, you might find that forcing yourself initially to get up, shower, and dress for the day in clean clothes, it just might make you feel better.

You need to look at job search as a job (because it is) but you also can budget some time for those home improvement projects you were putting off. Even if it just means giving your residence a thorough cleaning, you might find yourself feeling much more positive about life if you take the time to assign yourself some projects and see them through to completion.

What do you think? Is there a psychology of clean?

Stuck in your job search or just ready to move on or up from your existing position? Julie Walraven, a Wausau, Wisconsin-based professional resume writer and career marketing strategist, can help you get ready for your next role! To find out how, Click here!

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  1. JB on September 12, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Someone once said that we take care of that which is important to us. If you’ve lost your job it can be hard to care about anything but returning to work. There is something to be said about our environment being a reflection of our state of mind. A cluttered space is often an indication of a cluttered mind. In my work life I got along best with those who kept a tidy workspace.

    • Julie Walraven on September 13, 2010 at 5:40 am

      Thanks, JB, I know that when you are in a job search, it takes precedence but unfortunately worry does too. Replacing worry with action, be it just getting up, showered, and dressed for the day or scheduling cleaning or fix-it projects can give you an attitude boost and move the focus off your problem.

  2. Robyn Greenspan on September 13, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Good post, Julie. I think what’s worth mentioning too for people in job search is maintaining the semblance of routine. Whether it’s a shower to start the day, a standing gym appointment, or two hours of afternoon calls, it’s important not to feel aimless and lose track of time.

    • Julie Walraven on September 13, 2010 at 7:38 pm

      Very good points, Robyn! Today was a tough day for me and so I made sure I fit in a walk.

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