Since the beginning of 2020’s infamous lockdown I, and probably quite a lot of you reading this, have spent an inconceivable amount of time in my bedroom. Be it sleeping, playing animal crossing for 13 hours straight, watching any new show I can find, or just crying – my bedroom has become my own personal fortress of solitude.

Over the years, as I’ve struggled with various mental health and substance abuse problems, I’ve tried to become as independent as I can be when it comes to assessing my own mood and health. It’s taken time and effort to find things out about myself that I didn’t know 5-10 years ago. It’s been hard to find things that I can always do to enjoy and improve my mood. It’s been hard to learn to look at myself and find signs that I may be slipping into old and negative habits. And it’s been really hard to move away from those habits, and self-destructive tendencies that have affected my life for close to a decade.

But as I’ve grown, improved, and learnt the one thing that constantly surprises me is how my mental health, mood, and mindset are almost always reflected in the state of my room. It may be a hard concept to imagine, and maybe this is all a huge coincidence, but very rarely do I think it’s untrue.

When my room is messy and unkempt – an unmade bed surrounded by clutter, rubbish and empty glasses – I’m often going through a negative patch, with my head being filled with things that I just can’t get a grasp on. My thoughts will be jumbled, misconstrued and messy, and this will often cause me a lot of frustration and I will begin to become reclusive and anxiety driven. It’ll be hard to get out of bed a lot of the time, and I will very rarely be in any kind of state to be productive – either with work, or socially.

When I have someone stay over, they’re impact on my bedroom – and household to an extension – will have an effect on my mood and thought processes. Oftentimes I find myself focusing more on the other person than myself, as their presence and belongings enter my personal space. This is not to say of course that I don’t like having people over, because I do, but it can become almost as if I become distracted and lose part of my independence, as a result of the visiting party. This can be a good thing, as it can mean I find inspiration through the influence of the other person, but it can also lead me back to the path of substance abuse if I can’t cope with the requirements or expectations that come with hosting another person.

Although, when it comes down to it, there is nothing that feels quite so therapeutic as tidying my room, and getting into a freshly made bed. I don’t know quite what it is about tidying up that helps me sort my life out, but it always seems to work; and luckily, as my room is nearly always messy when I feel stressed, it always seems like I have some form of tidying to do, just when I need to do it. It helps me clear my head, I start to process my thoughts and work easier, and I generally feel in a more positive headspace as a result.

So y’know. Go tidy your room.

Or don’t. I’m not your mum.


Published by benarcherjones

My name is Ben Jones and I have a podcast too.

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