Yesterday, I read in the February issue of Prevention magazine that washing dishes can lower your stress level by 27% (according to a recent Florida State University study). If this is true, then I should be in a complete state of zen 24/7 … but I’m not. Since I practically live at the kitchen sink and am still perpetually stressed, I’m calling bullshit on this study.
Apparently, the trick is to focus on the sensory details — the sound of the water, the smell of the soap, etc. — instead of the tedium of the chore itself. Really? I usually wash dishes for three basic reasons:
- They’re dirty.
- No one else is doing it.
- No one else does it well, or at least not the way I want it done (Okay, that’s not fair to my husband — it’s really just my kids who do a crappy job).
I do not wash dishes to relieve stress. I do not wash dishes to feel good. Washing dishes is a household chore, like folding laundry and taking out the trash, that just needs to get done. That said, I will admit that some nights I relish the time it takes me to clean the pots and pans because it means I don’t have to supervise the kids’ nighttime routines. Plus, the sound of the running water drowns out their voices so I can’t hear their bedtime protests or brotherly squabbles. So maybe FSU is on to something … It’s really all about perspective.
Unfortunately, as positive as this study may be, I doubt dish soap will be replacing wine any time soon for most moms I know. But as someone who doesn’t drink, maybe I need to start viewing my sink time as “me” time. Dawn dish soap can be the new Calgon … take me away!