Do your daily chores drive you mad?
Do you moan and put them off until the job is completely out of hand and ten times harder? While you may not be able to elevate your chores to a ‘fun’ activity any time soon, you can (believe it or not) focus on making them a beautiful thing.
We’ve all heard about mindfulness right? It’s the art of being still and attentive to the moment. It’s a therapeutic technique where you train your mind to be present and calmly aware of your thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations. Any research into relaxation, health and happiness will quickly point you towards the path of mindfulness. While its roots are in Buddhist practise, mindfulness has been used by modern psychologist to help reduce stress, anxiety, depression and addiction.
While the most common practise of mindfulness involves closing your eyes and meditating, there are different ways you can achieve this state. So why not engage in a form of mindfulness while going about your daily tasks?
Jobs such as washing the dishes, sweeping, dusting or folding clothes can be calming activities. Hard to believe? If you think about it there’s a rhythmic repetition to many household routines which can be soothing if you allow yourself to relax. Remember Mr Miyagi? If you’ve seen The Karate Kid (the original version) you’ll know exactly what I mean – the martial arts master teaches his student both discipline and mindfulness by making him paint the fence, wax the car and sand the floor.
By focussing your attention on just one thing and slowing down your busy mind, you may discover a way to turn the horror of cleaning into a moment of purity and relaxed awareness.
Sharing the load
There’s something wholesome about sitting next to someone and sharing in a simple task. Whether it’s shelling peanuts, fishing or knitting a blanket – there’s peace and virtue in that moment you share with another person. Perhaps you’re sitting in silence, talking feverishly or laughing at some joke? Sharing the load makes life easier and working together creates a bond – and a happy one at that.
I always feel honoured when my Nonna invites me to share her work. Over the years we’ve peeled and pulped tomatoes together, rolled out strands of fresh pasta, pickled vegetables and blessed the dough before covering it to sleep and then rise. Every time I’ve taken part in these daily rituals I feel like I’m being taught about my heritage – learning more about my Nonna and getting a glimpse into another world and time. After all, she’s carried the same rituals and chores throughout her life from her beginnings in a small rural Italian village.
And what I’ve learnt is that she doesn’t seem to carry the same resentment towards chores that many others do in our modern world. There’s an acceptance, diligence and pride in attending to the house, the cooking, and in turn, the family.
Working with a partner is lovely but when the whole family comes together – it’s magic. I’ve been part of many family working bees and even though we’re all there to get the job done, there’s a buzz in the air as we join together in our single task. Sitting in a circle around a tub of tomatoes is a shared experience and before long we’re talking, laughing and creating a memory that we’ll look back on for years to come.
And the rewards that come from these moments and chores are bliss. Whether it’s eating food from your own garden, knowing you’ve cooked something from scratch or the lovely feeling of a clean house – you can take pleasure in knowing you’ve worked hard and earned the reward. It’s important to enjoy this moment and recognise your smaller achievements as they will motivate you to appreciate them more.
So let go of your chore dread, get your Zen on and get back to your roots. Clean the house like you’re cleansing your very soul and enjoy the mental, physical and spiritual rewards that will flow on.
About the author: Marina Barbaro is somewhat of a gypsy writer – roaming between projects and enjoying a spirited approach to the written word. Most recently she joined the team from a million smiles, where she will be sharing her extensive experiences travelling and living amongst different cultures. See more of her amazing work by following amillionsmilesmovie.com
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