On day 34 of my 366-day self-care challenge, I explored folding laundry as an act of self-care. (Okay, I know what you’re probably thinking.)
But I promise I haven’t reached the point of desperation in my search for new ways to practice self-care. Folding laundry was indeed on my original list of ideas before the start of the new year, and I have a good reason for it.
Why do I consider folding laundry self-care? Because it wasn’t something I enjoyed doing. In fact, more often than not I found myself grumbling under my breath as soon as I opened the dryer door. That response told me that there may be an opportunity to shift my thinking.
With the exception of those individuals who prefer to live directly from their laundry baskets, most of us fold laundry. We do it so we can stay organized. We do it so we can find what we need when we need it. We do it so our clothes don’t get wrinkled. (The only thing worse than folding laundry is ironing, in my opinion.) Ultimately, we do it because it saves us time in the long-run, which makes us more productive.
But I’ve since changed my perspective on this inevitable task, and I even look forward to it now. The process of tidying up over the past few months has helped me see the value of decluttering. I’ve noticed that when my things are organized, I feel more relaxed and I’m able to focus on more meaningful projects (rather than complaining about the clutter). The small investment of time it takes to fold clothes has a huge payoff: It forces me to take mini-breaks, serving as a reminder to move, stretch, and give my brain a break periodically. And repetitive tasks like folding can be calming if we allow them to be.
Getting (and staying) organized also supports the environmental dimension of our health. When we feel good in our personal spaces we’re able to accomplish more in the other areas of our life. Stewing or complaining about having to do household chores, whether it’s loading or emptying the dishwasher, dusting or sweeping, only causes us unnecessary suffering.
Change your thinking; change your reality.