February 20th - Welcome to day 20 of the Myrrhmade Love Where You Are Challenge!
Come on in and join us!
Day 20: Romance Your Chores
When you think of romance, you probably don't think of your chores. I assume what comes to mind are cheesy movie scenes of budding attraction and amorous passion displayed through large bouquets of flowers, expensive candlelit dinners and the characters gazing into each other's eyes as they enjoy the surge of attachment hormones.
And then there's the chores.
Some people are naturally orderly have habitualized their home care routines. Some people thrive on structure and not only count on but enjoy the predictability of their customary ways of going about their lives.
Others of us thrive on having a wider variety or have more moving parts in our days and so have to continually adapt to new circumstances, patterns, and challenges.
No matter where you fall on that spectrum, this post is about some lovely ways you can make your chores more enjoyable.
Daily Challenge: Romance Your Chores
This challenge is in several parts.
You need to think about what is romantic to you - what you like, what draws you in and nurtures you feeling good.
When my husband and I were first dating he made me french toast with strawberries and bacon. Now, that may not be your thing, but it sure is mine. In the ensuing years, HandsomeJoe would grumble about Valentine's Day being a made up holiday (as opposed to...?) for commercial purposes.
I told him he was doing it wrong. Because I told him I'd take over the responsibility for our Valentine's Day celebrations, he didn't really mind.
For Valentine's Day 2019 I got him chocolate and rosés.
The etymology of the word "romance" is fascinating (well, if you like words as much as I do) and has only relatively recently come to be almost exclusively associated with affection. For much more of the history of the term it was associated with romance languages (meaning latin-roman based and not germanic) and had more to do with heroism than sunset beaches. For awhile "to romance" something meant to read it in French. Perhaps it is applicable to think about adding a little je ne sais quoi to how we think about doing our chores.
Another part of romancing your chores is to figure out ways to incorporate things that feel good into your time spent doing chores. Taking a few extra minutes to make your chores feel better can make a lot of difference in your thoughts around the time you spend at these tasks. Curating your thoughts lets you choose better feelings. Feeling better helps you take the actions that improve your life and help you to Love Where You Are.
I can't recall what book it was in, but I read that when the company Febreeze was first testing its product it was completely unscented as the point was that it neutralizes unpleasant odors. While it worked, it wasn't until they added their signature scent that the product gained any kind of traction. While I personally can't stand the scent (headaches aren't fun) what they found was that biologically the scent became a kind of reward. The people using it came to unconsciously expect that reward - the surge of pleasure and satisfaction associated with the scent. This is similar to sulfates in soaps and shampoos that actually damage hair and skin but make that satisfying sudsiness so you "know it's working."
Skipping damaginge to toxic ingredients, how can you tap into your own inner reward system to help you do the things you know you'll feel better if you do?
How can you add healthy rewarding aspects to your cleaning routine?
You may think that star charts are for children, but why should they be? Fancy masking tape, a beautiful to do list, a gorgeous frame for a white board or a printout behind glass, how can you add the emotional boost of crossing off your accomplishments?
How about fun rubber gloves, a special candle that you light only while doing chores, or rewarding yourself after with relaxing and reading a book with a cup of tea or watching a movie.
Fun fact: glass can be easily wiped clean of dry erase marker and dry erase crayon.
Before I was able to get pregnant with my first child, with the help of an amazing naturopath in CT (that I miss dearly!) I lost a significant amount of weight through a healthy eating plan. I printed out the daily plan, matted it with gorgeous paper, framed it behind glass and hung it near the fridge. Each day I could check off the food groups and my water consumption and wipe it clean before starting again the next day. This plan was what I edited for my clean-eating 2020 year where I lost 40lbs without an exercise regimen, although this past year was more limited as I wanted faster and more dramatic results.
Regardless of if you're more of a whiskey than wine person or savory than sweet, what do you truly enjoy that you can use to upgrade the environment of your chores?
Do you love candles but save them for special dinners or special occasions?
Homemade beeswax candles - they smell so good, the light is so pretty, buying beeswax supports pollinators, and burning beeswax releases significantly fewer pollutants than other types of candles, some studies even suggest that they clean the air by emitting negative ions, similar to a rain storm.
Do you have a favorite scent that you could add to your cleaning routine?
I make my own cleaning products (saves a LOT of money, helps the environment, and I have full control over what I'm putting into the air we breathe and the water we use) and love adding a few drops of vanilla or grapefruit essential oils.
If you love the smell of orange, making orange scented vinegar (an amazing base ingredient for many cleaning product recipes) is as simple as saving your orange peels, covering them with vinegar, and waiting.
What kind of energetic music makes you feel good and inspires you?
Daily Mindset Mantra: I feel better when my house is clean.
Some of how we see ourselves is a product of what we see reflected back at us from our environment. It can be easy to feel great in a lovely clean home and much more of a challenge when surrounded by incomplete projects, disrepair, and clutter.
While it is possible to manage our thoughts and feel good about ourselves in any environment, surely we could use that same energy to work on other projects if we were to intentionally curate our environment to how we feel our best.
It's easy to focus on how it feels while we're cleaning, particularly if we resist it. Instead, shift your focus to the results and how good it feels once you're done. Gretchen Rubin, in one of her books about being happier, talks about two lists. One is a list of things that feel good while you do them and a second list is of things that you feel good after you've done them such as washing your windows or cleaning out your fridge. She suggests that you incorporate things from boths lists into your daily lives.
We all want to feel good and we want to do more of the things we like and have more of the things we enjoy. Being able to delay gratification, being able to focus on the gratification that is coming while we do the preparatory work now, is a great indicator of long-term happiness.
For those of you who already have a strong chore routine and are satisfied with the state of your environment, how can you add some joy, some fun, perhaps even some pleasure to your chores?
Today, while cleaning up and cooking dinner, I lit a couple of candles, cleaned out one of HandsomeJoe's and my wedding flutes, mixed myself a pretty drink (jun tea, water, and a splash of grape juice), rearranged some of the flowers a beloved friend sent me, and put on some music.
I've been reveling in Radio Garden's broadcast of Radio Classique - a classical music station direct from Paris, France. I get to listen to both familiar classical music as well as much that is new to me, and practice my French in between songs. As they are six hours ahead, when I sit down to work in the evenings after the girls are in bed, it's the wee hours of the morning and the broadcasters often speak in hushed tones and play relaxing music.
Radio Garden is a Dutch project that, in their own words: "invites you to tune into thousands of live radio stations across the globe." With a global map and green radio "seeds" you can travel the world of radio around the map. Where will you listen to?
How can you tune into the satisfaction and serenity of having completed the chores that need to be done? How can you turn up the volume on your desired outcome and hush your reptile brain that tells you that things that feel bad = death! Death I say!
What can you do now to bring more ease and joy into your chores?
Make sure to check back here tomorrow for the next challenge, the next tips, and the next dose of the Myrrhmade Love Where You Are Challenge.