Doing the Dishes – A Therapeutic Activity in Unprecedented Times
April 29, 2020
I would never imagine myself here- standing above my kitchen sink, cleaning off the tiny bits of grease from a plate, and listening to classical and Christmas music- all with a smile on my face.
Over the past few weeks of school closure, I have found an unexpected interest and hobby – washing dishes. A chore – previously tedious and time-consuming at times – has now slowly turned into a peaceful and relaxing activity. Ever since I found so much time on my hands, I told myself that I would be washing the dishes after every meal – breakfast, lunch, and dinner. While I have missed a couple of times, the experience has been great so far. I have learned so much and it has greatly improved my well being.
During the school year, I approach doing the dishes with a mindset to get it done as fast as possible. However, now, I take my time, scrubbing and rinsing out every detail and greasy stain. Slowing down, I now appreciate the warm water flowing from the faucet and the soothing steam swirling around the kitchen drain. As I turn on the faucet drain, I feel comforted by the warmth that is emanated from the kitchen sink.
There is also something therapeutic about washing dishes. It is a task that is simple and routine. Scrub and rinse. Scrub and rinse. However, slowly, I realized that the tedious and factory-like work has allowed me to take my mind off of things – worries, unwanted homework, a school newspaper magazine soon to be published, and other problems. When I wash dishes, it helps keep my mind blank- not focused on what will happen in the future or boggled down by the past – but rather cherishing the shiny surfaces of my spoon and then wiping off the greasy stains from my cooking pot. Just like how many people equate reading as their escape from reality, dishwashing is like my escape from reality. Through these activities, I certainly felt more relaxed and more quiet afterward. In addition, I also play my favorite playlist – “ Jingle Bell Rocks,” “What a Wonderful World,” and classical chamber music in the background. The nostalgic Christmas spirit has also helped me to become more immersed, reminding me as if the holidays were just around the corner.
Physically, I also feel much better. I often experience back pains and headaches. After sitting down in front of a computer for most of my day, I often need a break to refresh myself. Dishwashing has offered a way to mitigate my discomfort. I cherish the opportunity to stretch my arms and to scrub furiously to create the shiniest silverware I can produce. Without having the need to go outside, doing the dishes has provided a way for me to attain some physical activity. After doing half an hour of dishwashing, I just feel so alleviated and I have the energy to write articles, work on my magazine, practice violin, and to go outside for a run.
Soon, I found other ways to do chores. I plan to incorporate vacuuming the floor, cleaning the bathroom, and doing the laundry as part of my daily routine. During these times of school closure, dishwashing has certainly helped me adapt to these new changes.