Tuesday, April 30, 2019


Mindful Cleaning

Doing my bed, cleaning my bedroom, washing the dishes, helping to clean the bathroom, do my own laundry… These were all chores I had when I was growing up. I remember waking up on Saturday mornings to my mom asking me to start helping her clean. Can’t we just do something fun? Was all I could think, but I would still have to drag myself and finish my chores, hating every minute of it. Except when I finished and I looked around and saw what I had accomplished: spaces that were orderly and clean, the energy had shifted and it was nicer to be in them. So, was all the fuss and irritation over it even worth it?

Well, it doesn’t matter because I kept complaining. Even though my mom is not the one telling me to clean up now, as an adult, I know I have to do it. After all, I don’t like to live in filth. But throughout my younger years, and until recently, I would still find myself dreading to do the housework. I have a career and we live comfortable but, unless you have a high financial situation where you can pay personnel to do all the housework for you, no matter what you do, there is just no getting around to doing the cleaning, cooking and other housework. As mundane as they are, these are just tasks that have to get done. So, recently, I started asking myself, do I have to add to the unpleasantness of having to do chores by being irritated about it? And actually, I don’t have to do them. Honestly, I am the one that chooses to live in a decently clean environment everyday. My mom doesn’t live with me, it’s me who now chooses to do these things. So, technically, it is a choice!

I started to think, what if, instead of complaining that I have to wash the dishes and clean the kitchen after dinner, I try not complaining, play an audiobook while I do it, and try to make the process, if not enjoyable, a little bit less unpleasant? To my surprise, and I mean it, I was very surprised, after a little while, things changed…

It became a nightly routine I started looking forward to. Yes! Why? Well, it did take practice.

Whenever I noticed a negative-complaining thought arise in my mind when thinking that it was time to get up and clean, I would simply try to ignore it. At first, it was hard, I couldn’t do it. But after a few days, I could simply just let the thought pass by. And I could get right to playing the audiobook I was listening to at the moment, putting away leftover and washing the dishes. I was no longer rushing to get it over with, it actually relaxed me and got me in the right mindset, like my brain was learning this time meant rest was coming soon. Letting go of the resistance (and the audiobook, I must say) helped me be there completely and, to my surprise, I started to feel a little joy in it. Watching the water rinse the soap off dishes is actually relaxing! And after I was done and saw my kitchen clean, I felt very satisfied because it was clean and I didn’t suffered through the process!

I also apply this to other tasks like cleaning other parts of the house, folding and putting away the laundry, cleaning the bathroom and cooking. Even though the one I mostly find joy in is my nightly kitchen-cleaning routine because of the reasons I mentioned earlier, it still has helped me stop thinking about these tasks as something horrible that I must do.

No, I am not saying chores and housework are now my favorite things to do. But it’s something I have to do and probably will have to do for the rest of my life, that is, if I’m lucky enough to be an able body. No matter how much I complained, there was just no getting around it! So I did what I could to minimize my irritation about it and voila, things changed! I don’t suffer anymore because of it. I actively started watching the negative thoughts and trying to make it more enjoyable by adding something I enjoy to the activity, like an audiobook, (thank goodness for audiobooks!), music or even a YouTube video I’ve been meaning to watch.

Once I started actively changing my attitude about some of this housework, I started seeing other things too. During the first trimester of my pregnancy (on my fifth month now, yohoo!) I felt so sick and tired that it was extremely hard to even take a shower! Let alone, do some house cleaning. I clearly remember thinking: why would I complain about doing the chores when I can do the chores! So, when I entered my second trimester and started to feel better, is when this shift happened. I began practicing gratitude for being able to clean! I have a healthy able body that is capable of completing physical activities like these, how lucky am I? Also, how great is it that I choose to have a clean home. I should be proud of myself for wanting to live like that and, at the same time, provide it for my family. Truly! How many people that are not able, would love to have the chance that I have.

Now, all of that being said, please don’t think I am a clean freak, because I am SO not. I like to think that I have an interesting enough life that having an immaculate house is not the priority. But I enjoy hygiene and a clean space to be around. Like I said, I believe it has a nicer energy and that, in turn, influences other areas of your life.

And also, I am not saying that now I always enjoy my cleaning time because it’s not like that. I have days where I feel more tired and I just don’t feel like cleaning at all. On those days, I do give myself a break, maybe I will only do the dishes or maybe skip them all together and leave them for the next day! Like I said, I am not overly concerned. We all have some of those days and guess what? It’s ok.

I am not trying to sound like a housewife from the 50’s with this blog post. Trust me, that is not the point. The point is that, no matter if we think positively or negatively about it, most of us have to face house chores at one point of another, if not everyday of our lives. And really, for the most part, no one is forcing us to do them. If it’s something that we choose to do, why not try to modify the way we think about it? So many things in life affect us depending on the way we see them. This might just be one of them!

Take advantage of your five senses! What is one thing that you enjoy that mostly only requires hearing? Maybe you have a favore podcast, or playlists on your Spotify, audiobooks like me, maybe you can stream your favorite radio show? Feel the crumbs of food being cleaned from your countertops, the water fall on your hands, water is the blood of our planet! Smell the soap you’re using (not the bleach or other chemically-strong cleaners, please). Take pride in living in a decently clean home (you choose to what degree of cleanliness to take it!), and be all there.  

You have options, what’s most important is to give it a try and don’t give up on your first tries. Remember, old habits die hard. Train your mind to change the way it thinks about house chores and who knows, this simple change might just contribute to living a happier life!

Image by joe137 from Pixabay

Image by silviarita from Pixabay

1 comment

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