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Housecleaning for Your Health--the Joy of Washing Dishes

Updated on September 23, 2015

Make Your Daily Chores Therapuetic

How often have you heard the adage "take time to smell the roses"? If you are juggling family, work, school, bills, shopping, holidays, doctor's appointments, church, commute, etc., you may wonder how you are supposed to have a moment to do this when you can hardly find time to brush your teeth!

No matter how rewarding your busy lifestyle may be, the pace can eventually take a toll on you physically and emotionally.

While this article will not help you find a better way to structure your schedule to give you more time, perhaps it can help you to find small, simple ways to see the beauty in the world in which you live. In other words, to "smell the roses".

Beautiful Hands

Massage your hands with olive oil or your favorite hand cream then pull on a pair of gloves before diving into the dishwater. Now you are also pampering your hands as you clean dishes and relax your mind.

Dirty Dishes

No matter if you are male or female, young or old, dirty dishes are a fact of life. We are, as a species, incapable of surviving without sustenance. Even with the advent of pre-packaged foods and easy access to take-out meals, we still manage to accumulate soiled cups and cutlery.

Many people diligently rinse these items and tuck them out of sight into a dishwasher. How fortunate you are to have one! And how you are missing one of the most satisfying forms of meditation and relaxation...washing dishes by hand! Even people who have dishwashers will sometimes choose to wash by hand.

Sometimes this is it is faster and more eco-friendly to wash a few dishes by hand than it is to run an entire cycle in the dishwasher. Or maybe the items to be washed are too delicate to be placed in the dishwasher. China, melamine, antique glassware, and some cooking appliances are just a few of the things that may not be dishwasher safe

Some Benefits of Meditation

  • Slows heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Helps with anxiety and phobias.
  • Helps calm the mind.
  • Improves mental function.
  • Refreshes the body.
  • Improves concentration skills.
  • Eases muscle tension

Preparing to Meditate

As with most types of meditation, hand-washing dishes should follow a particular form. Since we are transforming the drudgery of dishwashing into a beautiful experience, the first thing to do is to change your mindset concerning the task at hand.

Depending on your individual personality, you may need to establish a routine to help obtain the ideal level of readiness to perform your dishwashing ritual, such as donning an apron or using a particular sponge. Psychologically, following the same preparatory routine every time will help you to go into relaxation mode before you even begin.

Headache Remedy

Placing your hands in hot water can ease many headaches. For really stubborn headaches, place a cool compress on the head or neck, or stand in a basin of hot water while washing dishes.

Step One-Prepare The Sink

Now, wash the side of the sink where the dishwater is to be held. That's right, wash the sink before you begin! Not only does this give you another form of preparation, it allows the water time to reach it's highest temperature.

Give the sink a quick rinse, place the stopper, and begin to run your wash water. This needs to be the hottest temperature you can tolerate with your bare hands! If you have hypertension, sinus problems, or vascular headaches, your body will thank you for this.

Add a generous amount of your favorite liquid dishwashing liquid. Use something with a fragrance that appeals to you, but remember, the scent will be much stronger when added to hot dish water. Warning: do not use automatic dishwasher detergent in the sink!


Step Two--Wash The Dishes In Order

You are now ready to commence washing the dishes. It is important to always wash dishes in a certain order. As in the practice of Tai Chi, we are establishing a set ritual that will become more automatic with repetition.

Therefore, wash cups and glasses first, then plates, saucers and bowls. Cutlery and cooking utensils comes next and, finally, pots and pans. If the water becomes dirty or greasy at anytime, run some fresh water.

Wash each individual piece carefully, taking time to feel the surfaces. Learn to appreciate the tactile sensation of the wet, soapy surfaces. Rinse each piece carefully under running water and place in the rack to dry. You can even use your dishwasher rack for drying, keeping the clutter out the sight!

If you are worried about water usage, you can lay all of the washed items on a clean towel in the empty side of the sink, then rinse them after all the dishes are washed. This prevents the water from running the entire time you are washing, and is easier than turning the faucet on and off for each individual piece.


Step Three--Finishing the Task

Once your dishes are sparkling clean and stacked for drying, drain the water from the sink and conscientiously wipe down the sink and faucets. Appreciate the beauty of the freshly polished sink and taps.

Take the time to wipe down the counters and appliances as well, to add to the pleasure of a clean kitchen. Once you have done this, you may choose to either dry the dishes by hand, or to continue allowing them to air dry. It doesn't matter which you choose as long as you follow the same routine every time.

Use Your Time Wisely

Even if you have a dishwasher, it is beneficial to choose one day a week to wash dishes by hand. Once you have the routine established, this is a particularly good time to allow your mind to wander. If you have a window over the sink, you may enjoy the view as your hands are busy.

You can also use this time to sing or compose rhymes in your head. Whatever you choose to do while performing your little ritual, try to push away any negative thoughts and don't use the time for problem-solving. This time is for clearing your mind so that you can tackle challenges with a refreshed mind later.

Washing dishes gives you the chance to daydream while looking out of the window.
Washing dishes gives you the chance to daydream while looking out of the window. | Source

Thoughts While Washing

Here are some things to ponder while your hands are immersed:

  • What you are thankful for.
  • What your long term goals are.
  • What you would like for your birthday.
  • What you want to write next.
  • What project would be fun to start.
  • What would be a nice surprise for someone else?

Nurture Your Mind

Don't, by all means, think that dishwashing is the only way to practice this relaxation technique. If the thought of playing in soapy dishwater is abhorrent to you, transfer the method to a more enjoyable task such as vacuuming the floor or washing your car.

The main point of this exercise is to give your body some form of action to keep it busy while allowing your mind time to clear and refocus.Completing a household task provides a sense of self-satisfaction.

Consider your task as a mini-vacation from life-as-usual, rather than a dreaded chore. Relax and enjoy the moment.


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