Calgon, Take Me Away!

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:

  1. They’re dirty.
  2. No one else is doing it.
  3. 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!


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