My first paid job (aside from babysitting, and helping family friends with a coat-checking gig at a local hotel when I was 13) was dishwashing in a nursing home. I was a model employee: smart, learned my tasks quickly, hard-working, conscientious… and each shift I finished much earlier than my employer expected. So they kept assigning me more tasks, including sweeping the dining room floor after the dishes were done and the residents had left the area.
I loved sweeping. There was something so soothing about moving the broom methodically across the floor. I also liked the feeling of accomplishment when I was done. It was easy to see the results of my efforts. Plus I just plain liked clean and neat things.
I still love to sweep. I often turn to sweeping when I need to calm my fragmented, spinning mind. Sweeping doesn’t require any brain power, but it can also be an effective focus of attention – a distraction from an ego that won’t shut up. When I turn to sweeping as a cure for mindlessness – rather than as a household chore that needs to be crossed off my to-do list as quickly as possible – I feel incredibly peaceful when I’m done.
Do you have any simple, repetitive activities that help centre or ground you?
If you’re curious, here’s how I wash my floors when I’m done sweeping. My mop of choice, by the way, is a Swiffer mop with an extra section added to the handle (I’m slightly taller than the average woman, and I appreciate not having to hunch over in order to sweep effectively). Instead of the disposable cloths, I use a washable, reusable microfibre mop head cover that I bought at a dollar store.