How Getting Organized Affects Your Mental and Physical Health 

Shandra Martinez

| 3 min read

Woman in mid 20s helping 7 year old son unpack cardboard boxes and plastic containers as they organize their new apartment.
We’ve probably all had days when we are bouncing from one thing to the next at work, then rushing to run errands only to arrive home and realize we forgot to pick up something for dinner. Then it’s back out for a quick trip to the store – or the nearest drive-thru. On days like these, we’re not spinning like a dervish because we have so much to do, but because we’re unorganized. If this sounds like you on more than one day a week, then it’s time to get your act together. Getting organized can improve your mental and physical health – and make your life a lot easier.
It’s no surprise that “getting organized” lands in the top10 of the most common New Year’s resolutions people make every January. But by spring, lots of those good intentions have fallen by the wayside. Getting organized really requires just a small, daily commitment: a few minutes each night to go over a list of appointments or meetings planned for the next day, and a short list of things to get done. This list can be on your phone or on paper. It should not be overwhelming. If it is, push some things to the next day. Be realistic. Having a list of things you can accomplish makes you feel more in control of your time – and your life. By organizing your schedule, you will reap both physical and mental rewards, healthcare professionals say.
Decluttering is good for your brain. Tidying things up at home and around your office space not only makes them look better, but it makes you feel better. According to psychologists at the Cleveland Clinic, messy spaces can contribute to feelings of anxiety. Clutter can also be distracting, pulling our minds over to a list of things we should take care of, instead of dealing with a task that’s in front of us. Spend a few minutes at the beginning of each day picking up your home and workspace, or do it right before bed so you wake up to a clean house the next day. It can provide instant stress relief.
Organizing lets you eat better, sleep better. Once you decide to get better organized, you will find more things falling into place. A weekly grocery list can morph into meal planning, at least for a few nights each week. This means you will have what you need to make your meals with no extra trips to the store. You will have healthy leftovers that can easily be packed for lunches, and fruits and veggies within reach for snacks. In an article by Beaumont Health about the benefits of getting organized, staff there said planning ahead will help improve your sleep, too. You won’t be frantically trying to finish things before bedtime, or lying awake thinking of items you may have forgotten to prep for the next day. A de-cluttered bedroom also allows people to sleep longer and deeper.
Exercise and self-care. Organizing your life also means setting aside more time for yourself, and things that are important to your health. You already schedule doctor’s appointments and dental checkups in advance. Do the same for your daily workouts, walks or trips to the gym. Getting yourself on your own schedule means you are making a commitment to keeping yourself well. Make sure to add social events in there, too, whether it’s an uninterrupted dinner with your family or time for a walk with friends.
Photo credit: Getty Images

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
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