I realise ironing may not be a subject you would expect to find in the Wellbeing category of any website, book or library but I encourage you to read on to understand why this article is here.
If someone had said to me 5 years ago that I would find ironing therapeutic I would have laughed at them, that semi hysterical laugh when you are not sure whether you want to giggle or scream.
I would do anything to avoid this domestic chore because I found it just that, a chore.
I even bought a bigger ironing basket so the pile stayed hidden for longer before overflowing on to the Utility Room floor. But 12 months ago all that changed. Do not ask me what the pivotal point was, there was no lightening bolt moment, but suddenly I realised ironing can be very therapeutic.
I am currently reading Fearne Cotton’s book ‘Calm’ and in this she talks a lot about clearing your mind to restore that calm state. Ironing is my almost daily mind clearer; a whole heap of mindfulness and you keep on top of some of the housework at the same time.
To ensure you get the maximum benefits you do need to follow a few key rules though:
Do not try & conquer the ironing equivalent of Everest
This domestic activity is about clearing your mind not the backlog of creased newly laundered clothes. Aim to iron for 30 to 45 minutes maximum otherwise it becomes tedious and the mindfulness is lost.
Iron early in the day
If you do the ironing first thing in the morning it helps you focus your thoughts on the day ahead. Because my business is home based a lot of the time I have a structured timetable so I do not find myself sat at my desk in my onesie at lunchtime. Ironing is done just before I get dressed and start my working day, my form of meditation.
Create the right atmosphere
Make sure there is unlikely to be any disturbances. Put your mobile phone in another room, turn off the television, listen to some relaxing music or better still ensure there is silence and enjoy it.
Allow your mind to drift
Not too much of course, we don’t want any burnt fingers. Letting your mind run free helps to clear it of the frustrations that may have been pent up for a while. Once the mind has cleared it is amazing how you can then focus on the things you both need and want to do. Part of this blog was written in my head while ironing.
Finally might I suggest you keep a duvet at the bottom of the ironing basket for particularly bad days. So much frustration can be released on bed linen!
If you fall in the can’t iron, won’t iron category I encourage you to get full steam ahead and give ironing mindfulness a try – I assure you that you will not be disappointed.