5 Therapeutic Household Chores to Destress and Clear Your Mind
While calming tasks like meditation, breathwork or reading a book can help soothe your mind, sometimes these tasks are too peaceful that you’re unable to completely mentally switch off. So, if your mind is still buzzing with thoughts, it could be a good idea to get up and start cleaning.
Sure, household chores are often met with dismay rather than happiness, but getting out a mop or duster can actually help relieve stress, provide mindfulness and be incredibly therapeutic for a number of reasons.
For example, in many cultures, cleaning is actually viewed as a method of detoxification. In Japan, December 28 is dedicated to heavy housecleaning to start the year fresh as they see retaining old junk and attitudes into the new year as a bad omen. Buddhist monks also approach housework as a spiritual exercise to clear the mind, body and soul.
There’s no doubt a clean house equates to a clear mind, which explains why those who live in cluttered homes may be more prone to anxiety and confusion.
"Cleaning can help to eliminate clutter, which has been proven to improve a person’s wellbeing according to a 2011 study conducted by researchers at Princeton University," Lysn psychologist Nancy Sokarno tells Bed Threads Journal.
"It found disorganisation can overwhelm the visual cortex and make focusing difficult. It's widely known that clutter or mess can have a negative impact on a person’s mental health as it can make the brain feel disorganised and affect the ability to think clearly."
Plus, with all the chaos happening in the world, cleaning can provide us with some much-needed control.
"It can be a self-soothing ritual that can distract us from what is happening in the outside world and give us some power back," Sokarno notes.
What's more, cleaning also doubles as a workout and releases endorphins — the same “feel good” hormones that give you a “runner’s high”. (We’ve previously revealed the household chores that burn the most calories).
Here, Sokarno reveals the most therapeutic household chores you can do to help calm your mind. Before doing these, ensure you’re not distracted by the television, other household members or you’re caught up in your thoughts. Focus, remain silent (or put on some motivational music), direct all your attention to each chore, and you’ll be on your way to reducing your stress and anxiety levels.
5 Most Therapeutic Household Chores to Destress
1. Washing the dishes
"Washing the dishes is a chore we can’t avoid, it's thankfully been considered one of the most common therapeutic chores that has been shown to significantly reduce stress levels.
"A 2014 Florida State University study of 51 college students found washing the dishes in a mindful manner improved feelings of inspiration by 25 per cent and lowered nervousness by 27 per cent."
2. Washing bed sheets and making the bed
Good quality sleep starts with a clean bed and bedroom. "The benefits of a good night’s sleep are unrivalled when it comes to our wellbeing. Lack of sleep can render a person to be more prone to mood swings, compromise decision-making and impact creativity levels, so sleep hygiene is key."
Plus, three's really no greater feeling than sliding into a freshly made bed — it's pure bliss.
"Some people liken the activity to dancing, which unites the body and mind, similar to Dance Movement Therapy. To elevate the activity, put on some music and get those hips moving!"
4. Hanging the washing out to dry
There's something therapeutic about hanging your clothes — you breathe in the fresh air, soak in that vitamin D and can take a moment's silence to yourself. Plus, think about how you're helping the environment by skipping that tumble dry cycle.
5. Walking the dog
"For some people, walking the dog wouldn’t be considered a household chore but it's one of those things that has to be done. Doing exercise and getting outside in nature are both things that are extremely beneficial to a person’s wellbeing.
"Studies have shown that people are happier and less stressed when they're around nature, so walking the dog is the perfect excuse to get out there amongst the trees."