Washing Dishes and Other Stress-Busters

Washing Dishes and Other Stress-Busters

Self-Care & Mental Health

Last night's cooking left a huge sink-full of dishes. And hubby and I have a deal: whoever doesn't cook has dishwashing duty. It's only fair, right? But before we sat down to eat, he insisted on clearing out the sink...each and every thing. (Rule one for controlling his stress level: never sit down to eat on a full sink. Me? I can easily shift my eyes away from it and worry about it later. Yes, there's a little bit of Scarlett O'Hara in me, what can I say?)

But when he started washing everything by hand (we do have a dishwasher) my patience really started to wear thin. My yummy meal was on the table, quickly running out of steam (and if there's anything I hate more than mushy lima beans, it's cold food!)

So I think I 'get it' now: researchers say that certain activities, though tedious and repetitive, can actually have a soothing effect by short-circuiting stressful thought patterns. (I doubt that anyone washes dishes and thinks about their crazy day at work). When I asked hubby why he was washing everything by hand, he did say this - "believe it or not, it's totally relaxing to me." Although his hands are getting dry and irritated between the water, soap and frigid temperatures, his mood is lighter. (Click here for tips on dry skin and winter). I guess that's why folding the laundry is comforting to me. Magically, I concentrate on just one thing (and it's not my looming deadline or my to-do list). I can focus on one thing and one thing only-the equivalent of meditation.

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