The Magic of the Mundane…
My skills around the house are limited, but if there is one thing I do well, it is “dishes.” When the kids were really small, I never had enough patience with the chaos of “bath time” so my wife would handle those duties while I cleaned the kitchen. I still prefer to do it every night, even if others volunteer.
So I recently read with great interest an article that described how both Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, two of the richest men in the world, love to do the dinner dishes. Either could afford to pay an army of dishwashers, yet choose to stand at the sink every single night. Why?
Turns out multiple studies have shown that rolling up your sleeves and doing the dishes can reduce stress and boost creativity. One study out of UCSB showed that doing mindless tasks allows the mind to wander and engage in creative problem-solving. I must admit that after I wipe down the counters, clean the sink, and turn down the lights, I feel a small sense of accomplishment and contribution to the family effort. Subconsciously, it is probably the window of time where I “digest” what happened during the day.
So the next time you see a pile of dishes in the sink, don’t see it is an annoyance. Turn on your favorite music or a ballgame and let the water heat up. Take advantage of an opportunity to feel calmer, to let your mind wander, and to leave the kitchen a little better than you found it. Who knew that the secret to stress-relief was dishpan hands?