Turning Chores into Self-Care

It’s a head game.

We’ve all been there. Get home from work after a terrible day, plop onto the couch and fall deep into a television binge to just forget. Suddenly it’s 9 p.m. and the laundry never got switched over, squats never got done, and the bathroom (that you SWORE you would clean right after work) is still a disaster zone.

Brushing your teeth seems tedious, let alone actually washing, toning, and moisturizing. You crawl into bed, fall fast asleep, wake up to your alarm, and a mountain of guilt.

Today you will do your chores.

I used to fall into this hole every night. Friday would roll around and I would come home to a yuge mess, beat myself up over the dust collecting on my exercise matt, and overall just feel terrible about not taking care of myself or my living space.

I’m happy to say I haven’t fallen into this hole yet in 2017. I can attribute this success to a change in attitude.

It was January 3rd, my parents and boyfriend were freshly gone after a long exciting visit, and the only bigger mess than me was my apartment. I was sitting on my couch coating my face in lonely tears, ready to turn on Netflix, but instead I mustered up the strength to change my sheets. (Don’t ask me how or why – this moment is a mysterious miracle I cannot explain.)

Maybe it was the smell of the fresh cotton permeating the room, maybe it was the soft microfiber on my fingertips. I felt a satisfaction I usually only felt while dripping lavender oil into a bathtub. My chore felt like I was treating myself. I let the satisfaction snowball.

Before I knew it the laundry machine was purring, the dishwasher was humming, the counters were sparkling, my fridge was organized so when you opened the door you felt like you were in a grocery store. My Roomba was chugging along (okay- I know this is cheating, but seriously if you don’t have a robot to vacuum for you, are you really alive?) My bathroom beaconed me in with crystal clear mirrors and the smell of bleach.

I lit a candle, and suddenly my dingy and dark basement apartment felt like a spa.

That felt good.

Instead of dreading cleaning my kitchen or getting the laundry in the machine I fixate on how I’ll feel when it’s all done. Instead of groaning as I monkey around my bed putting on new sheets, I get excited about how the soft clean cotton will feel against my face as I close my eyes.

Instead of isolating the satisfaction from completing my chores to the results stage, I now allow myself to build excitement for a clean kitchen with each plate rinsed and placed in the dishwasher. I get pumped for a bangin’ booty with each squat knee up that makes my thighs burn something terrible. I envision myself using a new sheet mask with each fleck of toothpaste I wipe from my bathroom sink.

The cold hard truth is that the things we dread doing – the things we make excuses not to do – need to get done.

As a young professional living (alone) in a damn expensive city, there are certain things I can’t swipe my credit card to get done. If I don’t have money to magically cook, clean, and workout then I’m going to find the joy in the process rather than sulk in my own messes.

My daily chores now give me the same opportunity my post-work Netflix binges used to: an opportunity to shut down and welcome in joy after a long day.

Tell me your strategies for getting chores done in a comment below!

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. bbhoneyblog says:

    Consistency for me is the best strategy for getting them done at all. Three days a row to the gym is what keeps it going. Making sure the kitchen is wiped down and the sink is empty needs to be a daily thing for me to keep it up.

    Like

    1. Jackie says:

      Thanks BBHoney! Do you create a checklist for every day? Or is it just a mental thing?

      Like

      1. bbhoneyblog says:

        There are very few things I deem important enough to do every day. My house is very tidy but as far as every day chores go, I leave it to dishes, counter wipe down, and general picking/straightening up. I would like to be more pointed about when sheets and towels get rotated out but all of the other chores happen as needed. Making the bed is one I feel is necessary to add to the daily list but it often gets skipped.

        All of that to say, I think if you bother keeping up with daily things that keep your house tidy, you’re probably going to bother doing the deep cleaning stuff for yourself.

        Like

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