Is Decluttering the Secret to Less Stress and Better Mental Health?

A cluttered home has become one of the staples of motherhood.

It’s quite difficult to keep up with the messes that come along with raising young children.  And living among all that clutter can contribute to rising stress levels among mothers.  Decluttering might just be the secret to better mental health and less everyday stress.  But it’s not an easy step to take.

Rebecca Brown from Rough Draft shares some tips and information about decluttering both our minds and our homes for less stress and better mental health.
Is Decluttering the Secret to Less Stress and Better Mental Health?
*This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author. This post may also contain affiliate and/or paid links. Rest assured that I only work with companies and individuals that I trust. While some of those companies and individuals may work in the medical field, this post is not intended to be a substitution for medical advice. Always speak to your doctor if you have concerns about your mental or physical health.

Clutter is generally defined as “a lot of objects in a state of being untidy.” People often think of clutter as a result of not having enough storage space, or enough time to keep things organized and tidy, but the reasons are much deeper, and lie in our mindsets, and in our culture.

A UCLA research of the middle-class American families and their homes proved that we’re a clutter culture indeed, obsessed with possessions. We stock up on things to reward ourselves and decrease the stress of our everyday lives but often end up even more stressed, as a direct result of the clutter we have in our homes. 

This is especially true for women, who feel responsible for the tidiness of their homes – the very same research found a link in the way mothers talk about the clutter in their homes and their diurnal cortisol levels.

So having clutter in our lives, no matter what form it takes, is stressful. Moreover, clutter makes us feel anxious and chaotic, and it often makes us avoid our homes, just so that we don’t need to deal with it.

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Types of Clutter

To help you understand it better, and recognize what things in your household can really be considered clutter, let’s see how the Spruce distinguishes the most common types of clutter:

  • Sentimental clutter. We all keep memorabilia of our past and the people we love. If it’s standing in the way of our everyday tasks, memorabilia becomes clutter. Giving up on those items can be hard, and may feel like a betrayal.
  • Clutter without storage space. Purposeful things that are not trash, but still haven’t been properly stored, since our storage space is cluttered.
  • Trash clutter. Things that lie around your house masked as clutter, that you could easily throw away. Remember that pair of shoes that you’ve been planning to have repaired, for like six months? That’s simply trash.
  • Aspirational clutter. Items proving aspirations we have or had. That favorite pair of jeans you wore when you had 30 pounds less, and that is only filling up space in your closet? Is that a guitar full of dust that you’ve been keeping in your living room since your teenage days when you’ve wanted to become a rock star?
  • Abundance clutter. Things you’ve been stocking up because you know you’re going to use them one day. It’s never a good idea when it comes to food or clothing.
  • Bargain clutter. You might think it’s a good idea to make a good bargain, so you buy things you don’t actually like or use.
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Declutter Your Mind

One of the best and most accurate definitions of clutter is “delayed decisions.”

We can’t seem to be at peace with the idea that we’ll probably never play the guitar or go skiing again, so we leave it for the “just in case” scenario. We have several baby blankets in the garage to remind us of our kids’ childhood, as we can’t seem to decide which one to keep.  Our cluttered homes and our cluttered minds are deeply connected, enticing stress from our unaccomplished businesses.

To begin decluttering your mind, you can begin with the following:
  • Determine what your most important life goals are and define actions to achieve them. Make time for those actions.
  • Keep a journal to organize your thoughts better.
  • Spend more time in nature as it can be beneficial for your mental wellbeing, and help you distinguish your life’s priorities. Hiking is particularly helpful when trying to connect to and contemplate the essentials of life.
  • Limit media consumption. This is the only way to get rid of all the media related clutter in your mind, and the stress and anxiety it causes.
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Declutter Your Space

“If you don’t love it, lose it. If you don’t use it, lose it” a simple motto by Margareta Magnusson, the author of  “The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning” can be a good one to start with when decluttering your space.

Even though the idea of what happens with your things after you die, may seem a bit too challenging, the Swedish practice of döstädning is pretty much enlightening even for those of us who would rather skip this conversation.

Simply by thinking how the item that remains behind us would affect our close ones, can make a difference in how we value the things we cling on to, and whether we should choose to keep it.

If you are unhappy in your home because of the mess you live in, or you can’t find things that you need to function because of it, choose a rainy day when you don’t feel like doing anything else and start.

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A couple of additional tips to get you going:
  • Begin with small steps. Focus on one area of the room or one drawer.
  • Throw away or donate things that you don’t need or use.
  • Don’t move to another item until you’ve made a decision about the one in your hand.
  • If there is an item that holds a sentimental value, that it’s hard to throw away –take a photo of it.
  • Never buy a thing that doesn’t serve a purpose or just because it’s a good bargain.
  • Don’t stock up on food and clothes. Many things can change until you decide to use them.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for the help of your friends or other family members.

While there is a clutter around, you can hardly feel relaxed – you’ll feel as if you have a constant reminder of tasks ahead of you that you’ll most likely never finish. By decluttering your mind and your space, your days will be less stressful and you’ll be happier too.


Author Bio: I’m Rebecca, a translator and avid traveler, a book worm and horror flick enthusiast. My job has given me the amazing opportunity to travel to dozens of countries around the world, and writing on Rough Draft gives me a chance to try to showcase some of them.

5 Activities That Will Get Rid of the Post Holiday Blues

We spend months preparing for the holidays, and then they’re over in a day or two, leaving us feeling sad and empty.

The post holiday blues is a common experience for many people.  Once the festivities of the holiday season are done, what else is there to look forward to?  If you live in a cold climate like me, the months of January and February are often the coldest and dreariest, making us want to stay in and hibernate.

Falling into the slump of the post holiday blues can be dangerous for our mental health.  It can cause seasonal affective disorder, a depression relapse or symptoms of rage and anxiety.

Instead, try one of these five activities to help get rid of the common post holiday blues.
5 Activities that will get rid of the Post Holiday Blues
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.
5 Activities that will get rid of the Post Holiday Blues

Take a Vacation

Obviously one of the best ways to get away from the harsh winter is to escape somewhere hot.  January boasts some of the best deals on getaways, specifically targeted at those suffering from a case of the post holiday blues.  Spending a few days at an all inclusive resort can do wonders for your mental health.  

But a post holiday vacation is not practical nor affordable for everyone.  You can still take advantage of the benefits of a vacation, though.  Book a hotel room for a weekend or go on a road trip if the weather’s not too bad.  Visit a local ski hill or try an ice fishing expedition.  Having some weekend activities planned for January and February can help tackle the post holiday blues by giving you something else to look forward to.

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Plan a Hygge Weekend or Party

Or a stay-cation, if you will.  If going out in the winter just isn’t your thing, then consider planning a hygge weekend instead.  If you’re not familiar with hygge, it’s the Danish way of living that includes lots of warmth, coziness and indulgence (click here to read all about it).  

You can cuddle up by the fireplace with the family and drink hot chocolate.  Or if you’re up for it, plan a hygge party!  Invite all your family and friends over for a relaxing night of cake and laughter.  Everyone can wear their comfiest pajamas and cozy socks.  You can all sit around playing board games and binge eating sweets.  What better way for you and all your loved ones to recover from the holidays together?

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Try an Outdoor Spa Experience

Winter is the perfect time for an outdoor spa day.  Sitting in a hot tub can get really hot, really quickly… unless you’re sitting outside in the cold.  There are special thermotherapy spas popping up in colder climates now, inspired by the Scandinavian way of life.  These often include a variety of indoor and outdoor facilities and they are complete bliss on colder days.

Or look into visiting a hot spring resort. If you don’t live near one, check if any local gyms, clubs or hotels offer outdoor pools or spas.  Saunas are another great option for an outdoor spa experience and are quite popular in the winter.

If you can’t locate an outdoor spa near to you, then just head to your regular spa.  Any kind of pampering and self care will help you beat those post holiday blues and improve your overall mental health. 

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Deep Clean Your Home

I know this one sounds more like a chore.  But staying distracted and keeping busy is a great way to avoid symptoms of depression and anxiety.  Over the holidays, you’ve likely acquired a whole bunch of new stuff. That makes the months after the holidays the perfect time to purge all of your old stuff.

Start with one room a day (or week) and go through all the junk that’s been shoved into closets and into drawers.  Donate or sell whatever you can and throw out the rest.  By the time spring comes around, you’ll have a nice clean home on the inside, so you can focus just on the outside. 

Minimizing your junk and living in a clean home is great for your mental health.  Plus, it will give you a real sense of purpose and discourage you from feeling lazy and unproductive all winter long. 

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Make a Big Change

New year, new you right?  While I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions, making a drastic change or trying something new in your life can definitely get rid of the post holiday blues.  Don’t focus on how sad you are that the holidays are over, look towards the future instead.

January is a great time for planning.  Print off our free 2020 calendar and start penciling in all your important dates.  See where you can make some changes to your routine or schedule.  Or perhaps the change could be something physical, like changing your hair color or style, makeup routine or getting into shape. 

Consider changing something in your environment as well.  You could paint your walls, change up your furniture or even get a new car.  Make some new friends, sign up for a class or start a new hobby.  Something new or different for the New Year will make you feel proud and excited for what’s ahead.


12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year

Our mental health struggles evolve with the seasons.

Throughout the year, our mental health will go through a series of highs and lows.  Whether you’ve been struggling with seasonal affective disorder, depression, anxiety or another mental illness, you may find that it’s worse at different times throughout the year.  In order to improve your mental health, you must consider all the different factors that each season brings.

Here are some ways that you can improve your mental health this year, broken down by months.
*This post contains affiliate and/or paid links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust. Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.

January 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

The first step to improve your mental health throughout the entire year is to start with a plan.  You only have to plan out as much or as little of your year as you’re comfortable with.  The simplest way to do this is with a calendar of the full year.  You can choose a large desk calendar, a smaller personal calendar, an agenda or a bullet journal.

Start by filling in all your important dates.  Write down everyone’s birthdays, anniversaries, work schedules and appointments.  If you have a vacation coming up this summer, write it on the calendar in great big bold letters!  Don’t forget to schedule in your self-care time!

Then, make a list of goals you hope to achieve and put the dates you want to reach them on your calendar.  Think outside the box when it comes to your goals, don’t be afraid to celebrate the small wins.   For example, if insomnia is a problem for you, then set a goal to get one straight week of decent sleep.  Keep your calendar somewhere you can see it every single day, and don’t forget to update it each month with new tasks and goals.

Having a plan in place, with attainable goals, will help you feel more organized and confident and ultimately improve your mental health.

February 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

Finally, the last of the winter months!  Take some time this month to embrace the cold weather before it’s gone and enjoy all things warm and cozy.  The Scandinavians refer to this practice as “hygge(pronounced hoo-gah).

The cold and darkness of the winter months can have a strong effect on our mental health, especially if you suffer from seasonal affective disorder.  But knowing that spring is right around the corner can bring a glimmer of hope and actually improve our mental health.

So celebrate the end of winter by getting in one last fire in the fireplace, drink all the hot cocoa and stay in bed as long as you want.

March 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

It’s time for some spring cleaning! But I’m not talking about dishes and laundry and other everyday tasks.  One of the best ways to improve your mental health is to get rid of all the junk piling up in your living space.  Decluttering your environment is a great way to declutter your mind as well.

Take a few tips from Marie Kondo and organize your spaces.  Clean out your closets, drawers and cupboards.  Get rid of anything that doesn’t have a purpose or bring you joy.  Sort through your paperwork and try to go digital wherever possible.

You don’t need to go full minimalist, but having clean, organized spaces can do wonders for your overall mental health.

April 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

With the arrival of spring, it’s the perfect time to try out your green thumb.  Gardening is a form of ecotherapy that can help to improve your mental health.  Escaping to your garden can be a form of self care, and there are many indoor plants that offer great health benefits.

Gardening is also an activity you can opt to do with the kids.  Not only do they love playing in the dirt, but they can learn so much about the environment and where food comes from.  If you have picky eaters, they’ll be more likely to eat vegetables that they’ve watched grow in their garden.

Plant some seeds this month and you’ll have something to occupy your mind all summer.  Watching your seedlings grow will give you a sense of pride and accomplishment that will boost your mood and self confidence.

May 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

Warm weather is just around the corner, so it’s time to pamper that dry winter skin.  Our skin and sense of touch has a big impact on our mental health.  That’s why we can feel so overwhelmed and frazzled when we’ve been over-touched all day by our kids.

For months, our skin has been exposed to harsh temperatures, covered up and neglected.  It’s time to book a spa day or massage and facial or even just plan some DIY pampering at home.  Try out a new summer hairstyle, get a pedicure before breaking out the flip flops and switch to a lighter makeup routine for summer.

Focusing on your outward appearance can boost your confidence and improve your mental health.

June 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

Finally, the world is bright and green again.  Spend as much time outdoors as possible this month.  Your body has been deprived of Vitamin D, sunshine and fresh air for months, so get as much of it in as possible.

Go for a walk, run, hike or bike ride.  Outdoor activities often feel less like exercise than going to the gym, and exercise is so important for maintaining your mental health.

Don’t put pressure on yourself to get your bikini body ready, either.  Hang up a hammock, dust off your patio chairs or lie right on the grass and relax, completely guilt free. Even having your lunch or morning coffee outside will do wonders to improve your mental health.

You made it through the winter so sit back and enjoy the warmth and sunshine while you can.

July 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

Do you remember summer vacation as a kid?  If you have fond memories of summer camp, beach days, camping trips or playing from sun up to sun down, then embrace that and be a kid again this month.

Plan some camping trips or beach days.  Swim as often as you can, no matter what you look like in your bathing suit.  Head to the splash parks and let loose.  Take up a new sport that you’ve always to try.  Channel your inner child and just have some good old-fashioned summer fun.  Don’t forget to take a ton of pictures and maybe even put it together in an album to look at each year.

When you’re battling a mental illness, it’s probably been a long time since you had any real fun.  Remembering a happy time from your childhood can help to improve your mental health in the simplest way.

August 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

This month, it’s time to focus on something that’s so important for our mental health, but often neglected.  Our support system A.K.A. our friends.  It’s not unusual to withdraw from society while battling a mental illness but what we don’t realize at the time is how important it is to have a strong support system around us.  So focus on those friends this month.

Host a backyard BBQ or plan a group camping trip.  Only invite the people you want to spend time with and don’t feel obligated to invite anyone who brings negativity into your life.  If you’re not ready to be that social yet, then aim for a night out with a couple friends that you’ve been meaning to connect with.

Get out of your comfort zone a little bit this month, dust off your social skills and strengthen your social circle.

September 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

Back to school season means that everyone is learning something new, so why shouldn’t you?  September is a great month to take up a new hobby or learn a new skill.

Think of something that you’ve always wanted to do.  You could start making sushi, learn calligraphy or take a photography class.  The possibilities are truly endless.  Check Pinterest, a local hobby store or your bucket list for more inspiration.

Distracting the mind with learning something new can improve your mental health by working your brain in a different way.   Doing something artistic, such as painting, is a great way of expressing any bottled up emotions you may be harboring.  And choosing something physical, like a new sport, can help to burn off any pent up energy.

Our minds love a challenge, so put your brain to work this month.

October 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

Just like that, the warmer weather is coming to an end.  This can bring a sense of doom and gloom, even if you don’t suffer from seasonal affective disorder.  The thought of winter coming back again, plus the added stress of the holidays can have a severe effect on anyone’s mental health.

Be proactive this month in order to improve your mental health.  Sign up for some online therapy sessions that you can do at your own pace in preparation for the stress that lies ahead.  Stock up on aromatherapy supplies and enroll in a yoga class.  Get as much information as you can about mental illness because knowledge is power.

Being prepared for the most stressful season ahead can help you feel less overwhelmed.

November 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

Whether you start your Christmas shopping early or leave it to the last minute, there should be someone who is at the very top of the list.  You.

This is the month to indulge.  Buy that special something you’ve always wanted but felt guilty splurging on.  Or sign up for a monthly self care box.  I mean, sure, Christmas is coming and you could always add it to your wish list – but there is something so meaningful and significant about buying something yourself.

It’s a way to remind yourself that you are in control of your own happiness.

Prioritizing yourself doesn’t make you a selfish person.  You need to take care of yourself so that you can take care of others.  With the holiday season coming up, your focus is going to shift to your family and friends and making the holidays memorable.

The most expensive part of the year is upon us.  Now is a good time to have a look at your bills and budget and meet with a financial advisor. Fellow mom and Winnipeger, Sandi Huynen, knows what it’s like.  Check out her website for more information.

December 2020 Mental Health Calendar
Click here to get this FREE printable 12 Month Calendar and other free resources.

This can be a stressful month for many different reasons:  the financial strain, the stress of Christmas shopping, the long list of events, and anyone who has lost a loved one will miss them especially around the holidays.

One of the best ways to improve your mental health this month is to scale things down.  There is a lot of pressure, especially on mothers, to make Christmas memorable.  Mostly because, when we look back at our happiest memories – they are at Christmastime and we want that for our children as well.

But it’s not about the size of the tree or the gifts.  It’s not about how many crafts or activities or advent calendars there are.  The things we remember most about the holidays is getting together with everyone.

If you want to improve your mental health, scale back the holiday decorations and festivities and focus more on enjoying time with family.

Don’t forget to download a free printable PDF calendar in the Postpartum Depression Survival Guide Free Resource Library!Click here to subscribe for instant access!

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12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year
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12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health This Year
12 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health