We made it through another holiday season, I hope it was joyous and wonderful for all! In between carrying out your new years resolutions and getting back to a more routine life, which can actually seem restful after a few months of holiday exceptions and mayhem, we may notice that the house needs some attention. If you are among those who entertained or decorated, chances are you’ve put away the tree ornaments, but the house is in need of a good post holiday clean.
Maybe you didn’t change your home much for the holidays and kept up with your usual housecleaning – or your usual not housecleaning. In either case, the following way to approach cleaning as a mindfulness activity will accomplish at least two things: your house will look and feel better, and so will you!
Read, lather, rinse – and repeat often! Happy new year!
Mindfulness Exercise #4: Cleaning House
The term “cleaning house” has a literal meaning (cleaning up your actual house) as well as a figurative one (getting rid of “emotional baggage,” letting go of things that no longer serve you), and both can be great stress relievers! Because clutter has several hidden costs and can be a subtle but significant stressor, cleaning house and de-cluttering as a mindfulness exercise can bring lasting benefits. To bring mindfulness to cleaning, you first need to view it as a positive event, an exercise in self-understanding and stress relief, rather than simply as a chore. Then, as you clean, focus on what you are doing as you are doing it — and nothing else. Feel the warm, soapy water on your hands as you wash dishes; experience the vibrations of the vacuum cleaner as you cover the area of the floor; enjoy the warmth of the laundry as you fold it; feel the freedom of letting go of unneeded objects as you put them in the donations bag. It may sound a little silly as you read it here, but if you approach cleaning as an exercise in mindfulness, it can become one. (I also recommend adding music to the equation.)
“Eat Food. Not too Much. Mostly Plants.” Michael Pollan, in Defense of Food, The Omnivores Dilemma