It’s not what you do, but how you do it when it concerns chores. As the endless to-do list gets longer and you accomplish more, ironically many go to sleep feeling dissatisfied and under-accomplished; well, you can always do more… Sometimes you have trouble sleeping because of the stress of falling into a worry loop as you replay your day. Why waste your time resenting your activities?
You can do your tasks more efficiently and even whistle while you work. Here’s how to let work - work for you:
- What can feel more tedious and repetitive than housework? However, you can transform housework into exercise, strength training and cardio. Just turn on the music and move with alacrity. Be conscious of your moves: Squats for picking up stuff off the floor and lifting the laundry basket; pushups off the kitchen counter after you have cleaned it; hold in your abdominals tightly when vacuuming and mopping. Shoulders and triceps when you shine up mirrors and dust furniture.
- Stuck in the car going from the cleaners to the supermarket to the bank? You have an opportunity to rid your mind of distractions to shorten the time it takes to get things done. Rotate your shoulders back and down to oxygenate your brain and keep your body in good alignment. Focus only on your route and then completing each specific task. You are training your mind not to wander. Improving your focus here will transfer laterally to your other activities.
- Walking the dog? See this as an opportunity for a moving meditation. Inhale 2 counts through the nose and exhale 4 counts through the nose. Think with each breath I now relax my heart. Take your cue from your pet to activate your five senses to feel alive and alert.
- Doing a wash? Enjoy the aroma of fresh clothes and bedding. It’s as though you are washing away the stains and pockets of sadness to feel fresh and begin again.
- Waiting on line? Connect with other people and strike up conversations. You might hear a few words that could change your life. But you have to listen…
- Sort out the chaos. The most energy demanding tasks of the day should match the time of day you have the most energy.
- Take frequent breaks. There is great productivity in rest because you come back better.
- Be polite. People performing a service for you will respond to your good energy and reciprocate. You won’t be weighed down with anger and resentment.
Instead of the endless to-do list, how about a “Look what I did today list?”
Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life
, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout
and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul,
a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: www.turnonyourinnerlight.com