Looking for a productive way to practice mindfulness? Try it out during spring cleaning.
Meditation often involves the repetition of sounds or movement as a way of disrupting persistent thought patterns. Whether it’s folding a basket of laundry, mopping the floor, or putting away clean dishes, these simple tasks can serve the same purpose as you clean.
A clean and organized environment has both physical and mental benefits. Clutter in homes and work spaces can induce anxious and overwhelming feelings of stress, and it can be difficult to have a clear head when visual clutter is overwhelming the senses. Taking time to mindfully organize, clean, put away and purge unused items and clothing can help create a calm environment all the better for a busy mind to relax in. And a relaxed mind makes better choices, from what to eat to how to live.
Schedule some time for mindful spring cleaning. Concentrate on what you are doing, bring your focus to the physical sensation of movement and breathing as you make your way through your list of chores. Afterward, treat yourself to some quiet time in the house, with everything in its place, all the dishes done and put away, all the clutter gone. Notice how you feel, and what you are thinking about.
Here are a few ideas for connecting cleaning and organizing with mindfulness.
- Focus on the task – Whatever it is, vacuuming, doing dishes, or putting away laundry. Concentrate on the repetitive movement, the way your hands feel as they grip the vacuum, how the water from the sink or the texture of the fabric you’re folding feels on your skin. If your mind starts to wander to what you’ll be eating for dinner tomorrow night, take a deep breath, exhale, and bring your focus back to the physical sensations you’re experiencing.
- Slow down – Don’t rush through just to get it over with. Take time to do each task with care and focus. Think about the process while moving from one area and task to the next, rather than completing everything as fast as you can.
- Downsize with good intentions – Decide ahead of time to donate clothes or belongings that are no longer used to a chosen charity. Having this in mind can put positive intentions into the process of de-cluttering.
- Make it fun – Play music, light some candles, dance, sing. Remember, it’s not a chore if you’re enjoying yourself.