As we move into the autumn-winter season, I have been thinking about how to keep my home clean in a more intentional way. Does this sound a bit too ‘mindfulness’? A little hippyish perhaps?
Well, maybe it is, but I realise that without bringing a little intention to your everyday activities, life goes by in a flash of stressy, flappy activities you don’t even remember happening. And what kind of a life is that to look back on?
In the past I have just fitted in housework around other tasks – pushing the vac round while I’m waiting for the pasta water to boil, scrubbing the shower tiles while I’ve got conditioner in my hair, that sort of thing.
At this time of year I like to slow down a bit, take more time over cooking and eating, spending more time snuggled up and getting cosy, so the rushing around, squeezing in 5 minutes here and 5 minutes there into my housework schedule just doesn’t seem to fit anymore
Headspace do a wonderful mindfulness exercise called ‘Mindful Cleaning for Sleep’ – the theory being that if you can’t sleep at night, you can get up and clean something while also clearing your mind, and this has inspired me to bring mindfulness into my housework.
Here are my top tips for making your cleaning more intentional.
Make sure your headphones are charged! You might want to stream something like a podcast or soothing music, maybe even a mindfulness exercise for while you are doing quiet tasks like dusting or tidying.
Set aside a specific time every day or week to clean or tidy if you can – this will help you to be more mindful about the whole of your daily schedule as a side benefit.
Be mindful of the cleaning products you have in your home – eco friendly is best, not only for the environment, but for you and your family as well.
Many chemicals used in house cleaning are having unseen effects on our health and even can affect our gene expressions, so stick to the natural stuff wherever you can. As an added bonus, you will save money!
You can customise your own cleaning materials, adding your own scents or essential oils, for example. Try steeping citrus peels in white vinegar for a couple of weeks- the resulting scented vinegar leaves a lovely aroma after the initial vinegar tang has worn off. Essential oils in bicarb also makes for a more luxiurious and personalised cleaning experience.
When you have settled on your time to clean, and the task to be completed, try to stay completely in the moment – no checking your phone, no stopping to answer an email, no watching the news for five minutes before you ‘get on’. In fact, unless someone has dropped by for a chat or a family member needs urgent assistance, I’d suggest you do your best to stay as in the moment while you clean as you can.
I’ve tried it, and truly, it makes cleaning less drudgery and more of a cleansing experience. Both for your home, and your mind!
Lastly, light up a lovely scented candle and step back to enjoy your handiwork, knowing that you have taken time out to not only clean your home, but also to clear your mind a little. It’s an interesting concept to think of housework as ‘me time’, but it could just work for you!