Mundane Tasks That Definitely Count As Self-Care

Sometimes doing the laundry once a week can actually make life better.

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When I was single and in my twenties, I’d have what I affectionately referred to as “life maintenance” days. These were the days I spent catching up on all the things I had neglected to do during the other six days of the week—or, let’s be honest, the other 29 days of the month. Can you guess what those things were? Laundry, paying bills, making doctor and dentist appointments, grocery shopping, dropping off my favorite shirts at the dry cleaner. If I was feeling really energized (or flush), I’d add in a manicure and pedicure. And when I was feeling extra special: a haircut or wax. You can moan and groan about the mounds of laundry to be done or the fact that your fridge is totally empty, or you can look at it as a form of (quite necessary) self-care. It’s a way of making the rest of the week a little more carefree. Think of these relatively mundane tasks as a gift to your future self! How awesome would it be to wake up and find that your favorite jeans aren’t at the bottom of a laundry pile or that you have arugula, goat cheese, and a fresh baguette in the kitchen? So there are the obvious tasks that need to be done: Laundry. Dry Cleaning. Grocery Shopping. Call the dentist. Call the doctor. Pay the gas and electric bills. One way to confront those and make them feel like the self-care you see on Instagram? Pair them with more fun tasks:

  • After booking the dreaded doctor’s appointment, book a treat for yourself: a massage, acupuncture appointment, or an afternoon at the spa.
  • After doing your laundry, schedule a mani/pedi with a friend.
  • Stop off at your favorite cafe for a latte on the way home from the dry cleaner.
  • After you go to the grocery store, invite some friends over for wine and cheese. Major incentive.
  • While shopping for said groceries, don’t forget to buy yourself some Epsom salts and end the day soaking in the tub.
  • While shopping for said groceries and Epsom salts, call a friend you need to catch up with.
  • Listen to your favorite podcast while folding laundry and putting away dishes.
  • Make yourself your favorite cup of tea or stop by your favorite bakery for a treat before paying bills.

You get the gist—pair something sort of dull and obligatory with something more fun. Or do the obligatory thing and then reward yourself with another, more fun form of self-care! Have you ever heard the expression “outer order, inner calm”? There is something really powerful about taking care of your space and your to-do list that will free up brain space for the rest of the week. Who wants to spend the week worrying if there’s milk in the fridge or clean bras in your drawer? Designate a time to do these things and you will feel taken care of. The beauty of it? You’ve done it all for yourself. 

Abigail Rasminsky
Abigail Rasminsky has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Cut, O: The Oprah Magazine, and Marie Claire, among other publications. She lives in Los Angeles with her family.

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