There are so many ways for stress to accumulate and build up in your life and just as many ways to let go of that stress. If yoga isn't for you and meditation leaves you feeling more twitchy and tense than loose and relaxed, maybe you should try a different way to destress: decluttering.

Get Active

If you're looking at a filthy bathroom or wondering how to get pee out of a matress, you might not think there's much relaxing about cleaning up. On the face of it, you're right, but look at it a different way. No matter how disgusting or irritating the task is, it's a set job that you can focus all your energy on. You know what you have to do, there's usually minimal decision-making to be done, and it has a concrete result that's very satisfying. At best, cleaning can be a kind of meditation, at the worst it at least gets you up out of your seat, active and moving.

Clear Spaces

The results are worth the work. Visual clutter generates stress, even if you're not noticing it most days. It registers in your subconscious as a mess you need to take care of sometime. If the mess isn't there, then it can't generate anxiety on any level. Clear spaces aren't just satisfying in the short term, they can reduce your stress in the longer term as well.

Clear Air

Cleaning is also a great time to take care of lingering odors. Bad smells in the air can stress you out, and lighting a candle to cover the smell is a short term solution at best. Clearing the air by cleaning up mess is an absolute must, but that clean feeling can be enhanced with oil diffusers to reduce stress and create a less anxiety-inducing environment.

Take Stock

When you clean up, that's also a great time to take stock and see what you have and what you're running low on. In fact, it's a good idea to have some list paper handy while you're cleaning, so you can add things to your list while you work. It's better to check stock and restock while you're cleaning then to discover you're out too late to do anything but run to the store right then and there.

Organize

Cleaning goes hand in hand with organizing and organizing is a huge part of taking stock. If your home is properly organized, then it's easy to see what you have and what you need. An empty space on a well organized shelf is a lot easier to spot than something missing from a stack of clutter. Organizing is all about finding a place for everything and putting everything in its place. If you have your physical spaces organized, your internal spaces will feel more organized as well.

Donate

What are you supposed to do when you don't have a place for everything? That's when you donate. This is sometimes the hardest thing to do. Most people have a little bit of hoarder in them, right? What if you need that someday? What if you can't find it because you gave it away? The little voice that asks those questions is lying to you. If you don't have space for it, you're causing yourself more stress by hanging onto it than you would by letting go. Donations are a great way to reduce stress and clutter in your house and in your life.

Cleaning is an excellent way to deal with anxiety. It gets you active and focused on a task, which gets you out of your own head. It clears the air and the spaces around you, which can reduce your baseline anxiety substantially. It also allows you to get a handle on what you have, what you need and what you can let go of. Let stress be the very first thing you let go of!