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Declutter Your Home + Clear Your Mind

Decreasing Stress During Coronavirus

Article by Yuriko Beaman

Photography by Yuriko Beaman

This change has been so sudden and there was no time to prepare and shift our lives. Before this change, an overwhelming majority of Americans believed that clutter in their home had harmed them. Research demonstrates that clutter increases the stress hormone cortisol which can lower our motivation and lead to feelings of sadness. This is why we often want to clean an area before starting a challenging task.

When we all first started staying at home, I noticed an increase in social media posts about decluttering and cleaning. Decluttering a space can increase our sense of control over our space. When done mindfully and with a sense of gratitude, tidying can be an opportunity to reconnect with what we truly want in our homes and lives.

The KonMari Method™, created by Marie Kondo, provides some valuable tools for reflection as we re-shape our lives. You first start by envisioning your ideal environment. This might be your ideal home or you might focus on your ideal home office/workspaces.

Either way, you start by creating a picture of what you truly want. You use this detailed vision to keep you motivated as you work towards your goal. In stressful situations like these, shifting your attention to the things that you can control can help. SS, Co-author of Joy at Work, suggested focusing on controlling your physical space in a recent webinar about these challenging times. Our homes and the items in them are reflective of the choices we have and can make. 

Using Marie Kondo’s method, I guide my clients through a decluttering process that allows them to choose what to keep in their homes and lives. As we declutter each category, my clients gain a sense of peace and shed stress as well as items that no longer spark joy. The process of choosing what to keep is a practice of bringing control and meaning back into your space.

KonMari tidying can also break the cycle of clutter that overwhelms our minds. After you tidy, you’ll feel more content with what you have and you will shop less.

Release the Tension in Your Body Too

In addition to the Marie Kondo method, a regular yoga practice can give you a sense of physical control. Yoga helps to reduce stress and symptoms of mental health disorders. A recently published study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, demonstrated that “yoga showed greater reductions in depressive symptoms…”

Yoga is a practice that has helped me to navigate some of the biggest challenges in my life.

When I’m in a stressful situation, I increase my practice. KonMari tidying allows me to physically clear a space and yoga clears my mind. A few step-back salutations in and I’m in a different mindset. I’m able to set the worries aside and focus on my breath, my feet grounding down, and the transitions between the poses.

After savasana, I step off my mat with a clearer perspective. Letting go of my thoughts and the chatter of the mind for an hour gives me freedom, just as Thich Nhat Hanh says. With the practices of KonMari and yoga, I’m better able to feel a sense of control and navigate this change with self-compassion.