Impact of disorganisation, clutter on mental wellbeing

Dr Chido Rwafa-Madzvamutse
Mental Wellness

As discussed in previous articles, mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which an individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a meaningful contribution to their community.

A disorganised and cluttered living and working environment can significantly affect our mental wellbeing. A disorganised mind and environment can make it difficult to reach our full potential, to thrive in life and to be productive and effective.

What is clutter and disorganisation and how does it affect our mental wellbeing?

Disorganisation is a lack of systems and way of ordering our life and our possessions.

It can lead to challenges with keeping up with work and relationships.

Consider the following:

  1. Do you struggle to organise your time and activities?
  2. Do you struggle to organise your work or home environment?
  3. Do you struggle with parting with your possessions even if you no longer have any use of them?
  4. Do you get upset when friends or family comment about or try to help organise your work or living space?
  5. Are your possessions taking up excessive space in your work or home environment?
  6. Is your habit of saving or acquiring things now affecting your relationships at work or at home?

Disorganisation can also lead to a cluttered work and home environment which can result in mental health effects such as:

Lack of calm

A cluttered environment and disorganised schedule can make us anxious and tense and we can lose our sense of calm.

Sense of lack of control over one’s life and environment

Disorder and clutter can make us feel overwhelmed and we can feel like we cannot control our life.

Increased stress levels

Studies show that a cluttered environment increases cortisol and other stress hormone levels.

Worsening of depression symptoms

While depression can cause us to become disorganised and we may struggle to organise our work and home environment, the clutter and disorganisation itself can worsen feelings of depression, helplessness and hopelessness.

Difficulty focusing and concentrating

A cluttered environment will make it difficult to focus effectively, concentrate and work productively and fruitfully.

Poor sleep

It is difficult to sleep peacefully in a disorganised and cluttered environment

Shame and embarrassment

Disorder and clutter eventually lead to feelings of guilt and shame as we find it difficult to welcome people into our cluttered environment.

What can cause us to become disorganised?

We can become disorganised due to:

  • Poor planning and time management which can result in a disordered schedule and challenges keeping up with responsibilities.
  • Indecisiveness which can make it difficult to put in place systems that help us manage our time and possessions.
  • Poor attention and concentration can make it difficult to order our mind and our environment.
  • Insecurity and feelings of low self-esteem and low self-worth can make it difficult to take pride in our environment and make changes to bring order.
  • Procrastination can result from poor motivation, fear of failure and this can result in difficulties in organising ourselves to make our environment orderly.
  • Anxiety, fear and apprehension can make us feel overwhelmed and make it difficult to organise our lives and work or home spaces.
  • Depression can cause fatigue and decrease our motivation and drive for life and this can result in poor self-care and care for our environment.
  • Hoarding disorder is a persistent difficulty getting rid of excessive possessions or a persistent need to save possessions even if they have little or no value. This can lead to a cluttered and disorganised environment.

What are the benefits decluttering and organising our environment?

An organised mind, home and work environment can lead to better physical health; a greater sense of control over one’s life and environment; a calmer and happier mood; better sleep and improved focus and ability to concentrate.

How can I become more organised for my mental wellbeing?

  1. Emotional awareness: becoming aware of the emotional and mental reasons behind our disorganisation and clutter will help us address this challenge better
  2. Take time to plan each day, reflect and adjust your plan each week, each month and each year
  3. Be accountable to someone you trust regarding your plans
  4. Reflect on what you truly value, life is more valuable than our possessions
  5. Consider what possessions really matter to you that you want to keep, what you can give to others, what you can sell and what needs to be thrown away

If you or someone that you know may be struggling with a mental health condition that is causing you to struggle with disorganisation or clutter, please contact your nearest healthcare provider and get help.

Association of Healthcare Funders of Zimbabwe (AHFoZ) article written by Dr Chido Rwafa Madzvamutse, Consultant Psychiatrist.

Feedback: (Dr. Chido Rwafa Madzvamutse Whatsapp+263714987729) ( ;

[email protected])

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