It has long been recognized that there is a link between messiness and mental health. Recently, with the help of TikTok and YouTube viewership, this phenomenon has been coined “depression room.” Many may think that the clutter people accumulate when they are experiencing a mental health crisis is the result of laziness, but it’s not!

The culprit, extreme fatigue. According to Dr. Schmidt, a research professor of psychology at Florida State University, people are “oftentimes just so mentally and physically exhausted that they don’t feel like they have the energy to take care of themselves or their surroundings. They just don’t have the capacity to engage with housecleaning and upkeep that they probably once did.”

Having a depression room or house can contribute to feeling overwhelmed, stressed and shame, making you feel worse than you already do. While decluttering will not cure your depression, it can help to boost your mood. Here are a few tips on how to clean strategically to optimize your energy and space.

KC Davis, a licensed professional counselor and author of the book, How to Keep House While Drowning, breaks cleaning a depression room down into five simple categories. Every room contains just five things: trash, dishes, laundry, things with a place, and things without a place.

By focusing on just one of these things at a time, an insurmountable task feels more attainable.

Davis also encourages readers to break themselves of an all-or-nothing mindset. You don’t need to deep clean a room to resolve clutter any more than you need to accomplish the task in a single day. Set a timer for ten minutes and tell yourself that you only need to accomplish as much as you’re able in this short time frame.

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