Most of us don’t like chores. We often dread them, but we do them because we like the result right? If we like the result, there should be a positive pay off to completing our chores.
So why do we always thinks of “chores” in a negative way? I think we probably learned to think of them that way after seeing others around us view them that way. The word chore, by definition, is negative. The word is defined as “an unpleasant but necessary task.” But so often the chore isn’t as bad as we make it out to be in our minds.
Laundry seems to always be an obstacle for me. I absolutely KNOW that I hate seeing baskets sitting around. I loathe digging through baskets to find socks. I get so mad at myself when I can’t find something because it’s in a pile not yet put away. I know this and yet it seems that I constantly repeat the cycle.
I view laundry as a miserable chore that takes time away from my “relaxation” time at night, even though one basket may only take me 10 minutes. I almost get angry when I know things need put away, but I feel SO much better when it’s done. I don’t feel like I have something hanging over me. I feel more relaxed and peaceful in my room when I get ready for bed. It’s easier to find my outfit for the next day. It reduces my anxiety and helps me feel more calm.
So WHY does it always feel like it sucks so bad? It’s because I MAKE it that way with the stories I tell myself about it. I am the one telling myself that it is a miserable chore or that it’s taking away from my fun time or that it’s a constant hassle. I’m the one that puts it off for instant gratification of “fun” time which often ends up just being Facebook scrolling or mindless TV. That’s not exactly an amazing time, especially when I know I have things unfinished that I really WANT to have finished. I enjoy my “free” time SO much more once my necessary tasks are finished.
What if I started thinking of laundry as a form of self care? What if I remembered all the mental health benefits I get from having a tidy bedroom? What if I focused on how much better I’d feel when it was done instead of dreading the process? What if I made it more enjoyable by listening to music or a podcast while I was doing it? What if I set a timer for 15 minutes rather than assuming it will take up my entire night? What if I started thinking of it simply as a task to complete rather than a chore?
While I’m still adjusting to my new smaller closet, I am blessed with lovely clothing. I am choosing to take care of my clothing and wear clean clothes. I COULD wear the same thing all week if I wanted to feel gross or be smelly. It is my CHOICE to wear something different each day. That may sound silly, but it’s true. We always make a choice, even if the choice is unconscious.
We so often tell ourselves that we HAVE to do things instead of remembering that we GET to do things. I get to do laundry because I have multiple outfits to choose from, and I’m fortunate to have a home with a washing machine. I get to put my clothes away in my own closet with matching hangers and in drawers with pretty basket dividers. I get to have a separate place for my workout clothes. I get to have a lovely linen closet for towels and sheets.
Bringing gratitude into everyday life can really change our outlook on every little thing. Now when I see a basket of laundry, I will remind myself that I am grateful for my clothing and that my future self will thank me for putting it away promptly. I will remind myself that it is a form of self care and a way to set myself up for success in other areas. I will tell myself that getting it done will allow me to enjoy my free time, unencumbered from the nagging feeling that I’m ignoring my “chores.” I will remember that it is simply a task to complete. It’s not good or bad. Only my thoughts can cause the task to feel good or bad. I want to choose to feel good. Don’t you?