Mindful Cleaning Activity
Welcome back to the Mindfulness series at RR and J! If you are new to this series and know little about Mindfulness please feel free to start at my blog post “what is Mindfulness” HERE
If you are interested in practising mindfulness but you don’t fancy sitting and meditating there are many other everyday activities that you can do that can become part of your mindfulness practice.
Why not try Mindful Cleaning? Now you may be thinking that cleaning is one of the least enjoyable tasks you perform on a day to day basis. Usually when we clean we are rushing to the end result, we want a nice clean house but we don’t want to think too much about achieving it. We rush through the process of cleaning, distracting ourselves with music or podcasts or getting stuck in our thoughts, pontificating over what to have for dinner next Tuesday, reeling about that thing your uncles, cousin’s best friend’s sister did two years ago or getting riled up about the fact your partner never helps out with the chores. Anything except from the moment we are in right now.
When we incorporate mindfulness into cleaning we are not only completing our necessary household chores, but we are also reaping the benefits of mindfulness practice.
We could practice mindfulness when folding laundry, sweeping, polishing, de-cluttering, cleaning windows, any repetitive cleaning task will do. This week I practised Mindfulness whilst cleaning the dishes, here’s how to do it;
The aim of this Mindfulness activity is to focus entirely on the process of cleaning the dishes which is essentially focusing entirely on the present moment. While cleaning the dishes turn off all other distractions such as phones, television, music or podcasts. Try and focus entirely on the task at hand.
As you are washing the dishes you may notice your mind trying to wander onto other things like wondering what time it is, thinking about a task you have to complete for work or thinking about what you have to do next. Every time you find your mind wondering gently bring your attention and focus back on the act of washing up.
As you wash the dishes focus on things like; the feel of the soapy water on your hands, the temperature of the items you pick up in contrast to the hot cleaning water, the sound of the rhythm of your breath while you wash, the light bouncing off shiny glass ware, the colour of your plates, the smell of the washing up liquid. Focus entirely on the ACT of washing the dishes.
You can continue the process by focusing on washing, drying and putting away all the dishes, each time your mind wanders off to the past or the future bring it gently back to the act of washing up.
And that’s it! When you first start practising mindfulness you may find this task very difficult to achieve. You may find your mind wandering 90% of the time which is frustrating but totally acceptable. Be gentle with yourself, do not beat yourself up about not being able to do mindfulness “right” there is no right or wrong. If you continue with the practice over a few weeks or months you will find it gets easier, with you having longer periods of time between each drifting thought and your ability to notice when you are drifting away into the past or future will get quicker and stronger.
The more time you spend focusing on living in and appreciating the present moment the less time you will be stuck worrying about the past or having anxiety about the future. To find out more about Mindfulness visit my post “What is Mindfulness HERE” and keep tuned to R R and J over the next few weeks for more ways to incorporate mindfulness into your life.