Whistle while you work

In 2009 I gave up ironing.

Since my Mother had ironed for my family my entire life, give or take some time at university and away from the nest…i’d probably ironed only a handful of times when I retired from the chore.My retirement was announced as the fashion world had moved on and I had discovered ways around shirts, non iron fabrics and frankly it was dull and something I didn’t wish to do. Mr F kindly offered to help out, on the odd occasion that a fitted shirt was required and life went on…

This Christmas we had a wonderful family break, shared with friends and loved ones popping by. I somehow lived in the kitchen, in a cooking and washing up frenzy of champagne flutes, party platters and way too many plates in a variety of sizes. As a consequence my marigolds put up a good fight but my nails have entered 2017 fragile and a little worse for wear. However, if you think I’m moaning then you’d be mistaken – I realised there is something cathartic and hugely enjoyable about the mundane tasks life brings. Washing a set of Champagne flutes and then seeing them sparkle on the side board gave me a sense of achievement, the princess in me just likes to make things sparkle!

As normal life resumed the dishwasher has taken over and somehow I missed popping on my marigolds, listening to tunes and kitchen dancing while letting my mind wander…and thats when I realised that washing up was a super power. It allowed me during the chaos of Christmas to escape into my imagination. It also gave me satisfaction – and in turn a burst of happiness.

Further research ensued and yesterday I came out of ironing retirement. I only did about six items and once again retreated to the sanctuary of my kitchen to listen to music and ‘just iron’…I finished the task buzzing with accomplishment and happy. Not only do chores give a sense of responsibility to our children, they increase our pride and resourcefulness.

Then I did some hardcore research and found out that there is a connection to the lack of mundane tasks we have to do these day (mainly thanks to technology )and the increase in poor mental health. Now, Im not naive to think that all mental health stems from a lack of ironing, if this were the case the NHS would be handing out cleaning applicances instead of prescriptions. But for a general sense of happiness, a simple connection seemed to work for me.

Basic chores can reduce anxiety, lower stress and tasks you can do together with your partner can give you essential ‘talk time’ leading to stronger relationships – there was a study in 2015 that suggested that doing mundane DIY tasks together or washing up regularly meant you had a better sex life. Im pessimistic with this data and think its probably something the couples in 2015 would rather do than paint a wall.

Cutting the grass can actually make you more joyful. This is down to a chemical released in the freshly cut blades of grass that make you relax. I have to say I do find the smell of cut grass wonderful and it does make me relax – but as for pushing the lawn mower, I’m currently serving a life ban, as my only attempt to use our petrol driven motor nearly had me in the pond.

Making your bed is meant to ‘give you a positive boost’. Ive always made my bed in the mornings, so may not notice how this makes me feel – although I do get frustrated when I’m off to work and Mr F is still snuggled, I’m pretty sure this is down to jealousy of him still being in it and not my desire to make my bed?

Now to get a little more serious…despite mocking the research slightly, I can see its worth. A sense of pride in something that boosts your positivity. A clean house does make me happy…sure I could get a similar boost by coming home and finding it was done by a cleaner that I hired or a fairy that visited – but it isn’t the same as doing it yourself, the sense of pride is missing.

Before you all comment on how ‘in an act of kindness’ I can clean your homes this year, I absolutely couldn’t take the joy factor away from you. So, find pleasure in the simple task, use dusting to escape into a world of magic – after all it worked out beautifully for Cinderella.

47 thoughts on “Whistle while you work

  1. Oh I love your perspective on this – but knew I would because you always have a way of speaking sense! I can often not want to do chores but actually, I agree, the sense of achievement and pride is a good thing to feel – just no one dare to make a mess once I’ve cleaned the house! The bed thing I get too – I love to make my bed – it’s a little sacred for me – probably because I love the bloody thing so much! Another great read as always #MarvMondays

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  2. Making my bed always makes me feel better, but then I end up climbing straight back into it because I have a deep love affair with my bed that isn’t appearing to wane.
    PS. I’ve never ironed. Don’t judge me! #eatsleepblogrt

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  3. This is so true. There’s something very satisfying about having a good clear out and cleaning the house. I don’t iron unless I have to, but back in the day when I did, I quite enjoyed ironing in front of the TV and inhaling that lovely fresh washing smell. That was before kids though! #marvmondays x

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  4. I knew I wasn’t the only one who feels good when the house is clean and the beds are made!;)) I also enjoy outside work, on our garden. Gives you time to rest your mind from worries, I enjoy the moments and usually squeeze in some crazy dancing and singing (if I’m alone of course;)) #MarvMondays

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  5. I’m with you on this! I have always enjoyed washing up (within reason) because I find the warm bubbly water relaxing; it makes me think of having a bath randomly. I agree that doing some basic chores with your OH is beneficial. My husband has broken his hand so can’t do many chores. However, he kept me company in the kitchen the other night whilst I was tidying and we just chatted away for a good 20 mins. It didn’t feel like we’d lost any evening because the chores took longer. That said, I’m darn glad to have a dishwasher, washing machine and tumble dryer…. #MarvMondays

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  6. As a student, I used to work in a cafe. All the other employees preferred being on the food counter or waiting tables, but I used to enjoy doing the washing up. It was hard work and there were some huge pans to sort out, but I’d pass hours of time washing up and thinking about stuff and day dreaming. I liked seeing the pile of dirty dishes going down and seeing what I’d accomplished.

    I’ve just re-read what I’ve written and I sound like a real sad-o but it’s the truth! Haha. #MarvMondays

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      1. Well now there’s a question!…

        In general, no – it was the darkest time of my life (I had a chronic illness which then lead to severe depression as well). But I thoroughly enjoyed my job – it gave me a break from the life I was struggling with and, as I said, time to think and process things.

        That was several years ago now. I am all better and very happy these days 🙂

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  7. Very interesting! I actually do feel better after I mow the lawn and when I make my bed in the morning. Maybe there is something to this!

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  8. I am with you on the ironing. But I cleaned out my utilities pantry and pantry the other day, labelled and boxed everything and I felt amazing. It really is true. And still every time I open the pantry I am happy and feel good and calm. Sad but true.

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  9. It’s actually really funny that since we moved into our new home in May last year I have not used the dishwasher. Yes we have a brand new dishwasher and we don’t use it because surprise I actually like washing up, and I thought I was weird, but maybe it is saving my mental health. And I love the smell of cut grass too! But yes I don’t push the mower lol #candidcuddles

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  10. I am so house proud… I blame my mum and older sisters who are cleaners. Nesting instinct is making me even worse now! i get a boost from doing the chores but the pressure to keep it all just so with a man and a toddler around isn’t so uplifting! #eatsleepblogRT

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  11. I do get this, totally. And I think I wouldn’t mind doing it so much if I just had time!! I used to love the days of turning up the music and just getting on with it. #candidcuddles

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  12. Amazing! Who knew about the connection with less of us doing less mundane chores and the connection with the increase in mental health issues – like you say this isn’t the only reason but it seems valid. Not to hark back to mindfulness (but I will anyway) but when you fully immerse yourself in a mundane routine activity there is definitely something very grounding about it…. love this post though I HATE ironing so you may not find me doing that in a hurry… I may try mowing the grass come the spring though 🙂 xx #eatsleepblogRT

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  13. There are few tasks I put off more than cleaning and ironing. I do agree that once the former is done, I do feel pleased with myself (but would go back to having a cleaner in a heartbeat of I could afford it) but I stopped ironing years ago. You cracked me up with the mental health NHS paragraph and I think that other research may be on to something…my husband is freakishly silent even by usual standards for men and we’re definitely not at it like bunnies. Thanks for joining us on #candidciddles. Love having newcomers!

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  14. Very interesting points here! I never thought of mundane tasks as being a factor in positivity. They often feel like more work than they actually are to me – like there’s so much to be done. I do feel fine once I get started & delighted when it’s over though. lol I agree on the bed making. Thanks for sharing with u at #candidcuddles lovely xx

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  15. Haha, I honestly can’t remember the last time I ironed! I do think there’s something to be said about finding pleasure and joy in those little chores though. It’s linked in with living mindfully and just being present in that moment. Still not enough to make me dig my iron out though! x #CandidCuddles

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