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Why You Feel Like You Should Be Nesting, Even When You Aren’t Pregnant

Why You Feel Like You Should Be Nesting, Even When You Aren’t Pregnant

Baby, it’s cold outside, and we’re ready to build a blanket nest and huddle in our homemade cocoon until spring breaks through the frozen ground outside. Maybe that’s not what “nesting” actually means, but the relevant emotions are all pretty connected.

If you’ve been pregnant before, you’ve probably lived up to the stereotype of waddling around with an enormous belly scrubbing every surface in your home and placing that coffee table book *just so* before the baby arrives. This is “nesting,” otherwise known as a compulsive urge to clean and organize every inch of your space in the final weeks of pregnancy – and it’s a well-known phenomenon among new parents.

But maybe you’re not a parent and are far from having your own child, yet you still feel spurts of obsessive housekeeping and sudden yearnings for clean spaces (even if you’re messy by nature). What’s all that about?

At its root, nesting is all about control, or at least giving yourself the illusion of it, so when you’re in a period of life that is particularly unpredictable or out of your control, you may take out that anxiety by rearranging your bedroom furniture or by overhauling your kitchen setup. Basically, when you’re going through a big transition or personal crisis (think fancy new job, emotional breakup, family emergencies), rearranging a room can oddly feel like you’ve managed to rearrange – and regain control of – your life.

“Redecorating has the power to make us feel like we have literally created a new energy, a new vibe, a new life,” Dr. Sherrie Campbell, author of Success Equations: A Path to Living an Emotionally Wealthy Life, told Apartment Therapy. “Transitions in our environment can be good for the soul – they make us excited to come home and revel in our cozy, new space.”

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Blue window on a yellow house with some green plants

Stress could have something to do with it, too. One study found that those with higher anxiety levels tended to create repeated and ritualized behaviors, like wiping down the kitchen counters or straightening up the living room. Ever have a million things on your to-do list but decide that cleaning your bedroom is of absolute immediate concern? It’s okay – it’s probably a coping mechanism, and might actually make you feel better.

So whether you’re expecting or you’re just ready for a cozier lifestyle change, make like a birdie and nest away.

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