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Could hanging out laundry be more relaxing than yoga?

An eBay survey of 2,000 adults in the UK suggests that the simplest, and sometimes most unsuspected, daily activities can be effective ways to relax

Published: Oct 10, 2023 06:02:26 PM IST
Updated: Oct 10, 2023 06:20:53 PM IST

Could hanging out laundry be more relaxing than yoga?A survey reveals that hanging out laundry can be a relaxing activity for many people. Image: Shutterstock

Taking a hot bath, exercising, reading or meditating are just some ways to unwind after a hard day. However, a survey suggests that some people much prefer to kill two birds with one stone, turning to certain household chores in their search for inner calm.

With mental health now a major concern worldwide, it is also the subject of a great deal of scientific research into new strategies for combating stress and anxiety. Recent studies have shown that exercise, mindfulness, listening to music or playing a musical instrument, could all be part of the solution. But are these recommendations really followed by the average person? Or do people find happiness, if not relaxation, elsewhere? An eBay survey of 2,000 adults in the UK suggests that the simplest, and sometimes most unsuspected, daily activities can be effective ways to relax.

The survey reports that respondents allow themselves 10 moments of relaxation a day, with a third of people saying they have fewer stress-free moments today than they did three years ago. One in two respondents say they would like to have more periods of calm in their lives. When it comes to the everyday activities or household chores that respondents consider relaxing, making a cup of tea or coffee (49%) tops the list as the most popular way to de-stress. Much more surprisingly, almost a third of the sample (31%) confided that watering plants and weeding are two effective ways to relax.

From hanging out laundry to vacuuming

It's hard to imagine that pastimes as simple and accessible as these could be such a source of satisfaction. But they are, it seems, and some of the survey results are even more surprising. More than a quarter of respondents (28%) say that hanging out laundry is a moment of well-being that can help them relax, while 26% are more inclined to mow the lawn, and 25% to fold laundry or vacuum.

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Other unusual activities on the ranking include ironing (23%), going to the supermarket (20%), working on the car (18%), administrative tasks (14%), sorting trash (13%), watching the washing machine run (13%), grating cheese (12%), or mashing potatoes (10%). It's worth noting that 6% of respondents say they find building flat-pack furniture relaxing, despite this activity often being viewed as a source of stress.

While the survey may sound lighthearted, it reveals that more than half of respondents (56%) say they find household chores more relaxing than meditation or yoga. This can be explained by the fact that respondents are looking for activities that require no thought (53%), which they consider more conducive to calm, but also by respondents' view that activities that save them money are the most stress-free (37%).

Commenting on the findings, psychologist Dr Lisa Dorn said: "It is interesting to see from this research, how many of the simplest, seemingly mundane tasks in life, are actually calming and therapeutic. From a psychological perspective, people get into a zone, or mental state, in which they don’t need to think and are fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus and enjoyment. It’s as if action and consciousness melt together as people concentrate on the task rather than their worries and concerns."

Research of 2,000 Britons was commissioned by eBay and was conducted by Perspectus Global in September 2023.

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