Schoolwork is the most urgent task for students, so students should try cleaning breaks to form increased motivation and combat burnout.
It is no secret that college students have a lot on their plates. Balancing between classes, a job and other obligations can be stressful. If unchecked for too long, students’ mental health can suffer and can eventually lead to a lack of motivation.
Lack of motivation is contagious and leads to other aspects of the student’s life declining. One of the most prominent examples is their living space.
According to Sherri Gordon’s article The Relationship Between Mental Health and Cleaning, she recalls a Princeton study correlating a dirty, cluttered home with a frazzled mind.
“Clutter can make it difficult to focus on a particular task,” Gordon said. “More specifically, they discovered that a person’s visual cortex can be overwhelmed by objects not related to a particular task, making it harder to focus and complete projects efficiently.”
A student rushing between classes may not have time to load a pile of laundry if there is an important test to study for. They may leave it on the ground, and the habit may then turn into also neglecting small piles of unwashed dishes, a dirty bathroom or overflowing trash.
It then becomes too late when the weekend rolls around because the student is too exhausted from their busy week. That tiny mess may have tripled in size, making it more daunting to tackle.
It is hard to decide on where to start. It has to get done, but the fatigue is just as, if not more, overwhelming. The student gives up because there is no way they can do it in just two days. Therefore, the cycle continues.
“To the brain, clutter represents unfinished business,” Gordon added. “And this lack of completeness can be highly stressful for some people.”
There is a sense of guilt, which forces people to hide their mess. Television shows such as TLC’s Hoarders are an extreme but realistic example of how clutter can negatively affect a person and their loved ones.
Unfortunately, people quickly judge and compare those with messy homes to the individuals on said television shows, demonizing them without considering a possible mental health struggle.
This is especially true for college students, who may not want their friends to see how much they have let their spaces go unorganized over time. However, there is a potential remedy.
Overworked college students should try taking breaks between periods of schoolwork because sitting stagnantly in front of a computer screen can bring a sense of monotony and lead to more health problems. Getting up to move for even five minutes can help clear and refresh the mind. In that break time, cleaning is one of the best ways to keep the body moving and allows the mind to rest from schoolwork.
Tackling that small pile of laundry or doing the dishes can keep the brain off the stressful schoolwork, even for a little bit. Doing one set of chores between studying can work wonders for a student’s mental health and improve their overall motivation to do well in their studies.