The most valuable lesson I have learned is that the most meaningful journey is the inner journey.

How We Can Sweep Away Stress

The therapeutic benefits of a tidy home

Jean Edelman: Great to be with you this week. This week, with Thanksgiving coming up, the word that came up was cleaning. If we’re going to have company and people in our home, I think we might need to clean a little bit more, organize a little bit more, put things away a little bit more. Now, it doesn’t mean to shove it in a closet. It just means let’s go tidy up a little bit.

I love to clean. There is no better way to exercise control of our life than to clean. When we keep our living spaces tidy, uncluttered and clean, it actually can make us feel secure. It actually can also reduce our stress, because we do not see the piles around us that are constantly reminding us of what we need to do. So making the time to put away our items or sort them for donation can be very relaxing.

The reason cleaning is so healthy is that we’re in the moment. We’re working on one task. It has a beginning, a middle and an end, and we truly feel we have accomplished something. Cleaning can make us feel like our life is organized. I’ve shared with you in the past that when my family gathers, it’s the washing machine that gets cranked up. First. It’s the swish of the clothes that’s calming and it helps us get into a rhythm as the family just reconnects and reunites. Being together, it’s kind of fun.

I share with you that I love to vacuum when my life is spinning. It’s the vacuum that helps me breathe and feel in control. Ric laughs at me all the time. We are at that time of year when we’re inside a little bit more. So since it gets darker earlier, we really don’t want to be sitting in front of the TV for five hours. So what a great time to accomplish some of the tasks that we’ve been putting off. We need to get up and move around until, I don’t know, pick a time, 7:00, and then we can sit and relax in front of the TV or watch a movie.

The action item this week is let’s look at our piles. Let’s go through them. You know what? Maybe we’ll find something valuable and fun or reusable. But use cleaning as an opportunity to go through our life. Go through things. Do we need it? Maybe someone else can use it. We can donate it. This is a great time of year to find some good cleaning time.

So my word of the week is Clean.

The C is for Calm, free from stress and peaceful. I know I can fully relax when my living space is organized and clean.

The L is for Leisure, freedom from responsibility and having some spare time. When we have finished our chores, we can have our leisure time and there’s no guilt and goofing off and doing whatever brings us joy. I have a hard time sitting and relaxing when I know that there’s a dryer of clothes that need to be folded, but that’s just me.

E is for Easygoing, calm, carefree, and relaxed. If we make the time throughout the day, throughout the week to do the small chores, to do the small tasks, they won’t be daunting and so time consuming. And we can have an easygoing day. So take 5 or 10 minutes in the morning and the afternoon and the evening. Are you the type of person that just throws your mail in a pile? Well, take 5 or 10 minutes to cycle through the mail so that the pile won’t be so burdensome and your bills won’t get lost.

The A is for Align, to order a range and straighten. When we walk into our living space at the end of the day, and we have taken the time to put away, straighten and arrange, we will feel more aligned and at ease. It reduces our stress. Think about our garage. What’s our garage look like? Does it have piles and things just thrown into the corners? I’ll tell you a secret. Organizing your garage is a real good stress reducer, because when we drive in there at the end of the day and we see all that clutter again, our mind just goes to, oh my God, more things I need to do. And that I haven’t done. And so even your garage needs to be tidy.

And the N is for Natural. Intrinsic, inherent and ingrained. Taking care of our living spaces, creating a muscle memory. We will just do it automatically. No thought or angst. We’ll turn around and realize it’s a natural activity and it helps us feel in control of our life.

I wish you a beautiful week. Go clean something.

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