Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Housework? Here’s What to Know

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Chores are hardly anyone’s favorite activity. If you work from nine to five, all you want to do at the end of the day is to enjoy a nice, hot meal and lie down in bed to refresh. But alas, there are floors to sweep, furniture to vacuum, laundry to wash and dry, and dishes to wash. Where do you squeeze in rest?

Buying high-tech appliances doesn’t always help either. Getting a high-capacity washer and dryer, for example, seems like the ultimate solution to your tottering pile of laundry. After all, you toss in the dirty clothes into the machine, wait for them to wash and spin-dry while you do other things, and voila, your laundry’s taken care of — only your clothes won’t fold themselves.

For someone who shares house chores with family members or a significant other, housework may be easy. In fact, some like doing them, especially those with children, because chores instill a sense of responsibility while forming a bond between family members. But if you live alone, chores are far from enjoyable, let alone an activity that creates bonding. In other words, they’re burdensome.

If you’re feeling sick because of managing too many chores, you’re not lazy. Research actually suggests that doing mounds of housework can hurt your health.

The Effect of Too Much House Chores on Health

According to a recent study by Australian National University, people should only be working for 39 hours every week. That period should cover your job and your house chores. But what actually happens is that we spend those 39 hours on our job alone. And it’s not even 39, but 40, for many people.

Society and companies may think going over 39 hours of work is productive and therefore commendable, but in fact, it’s just plain overworking. Long work hours erode a person’s mental health and physical health, says the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Huong Dinh, adding that overworking cuts down time for eating well and looking after ourselves properly.

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The study also found that women are more likely to overwork. With the extra demands placed on them, especially about house chores, they tend to pick up most of the work and end up compromising their health.

Chores can also have emotional baggage, even for people who consider themselves efficient and prompt in their professional lives. The more chores they delay, the guiltier they feel and beat themselves up over it. In some cases, leaving chores undone can cause a higher likelihood of procrastination.

Saying that chores are difficult may get you called lazy, but your woes are scientifically valid. If you’re a woman who gets the shorter end of the stick in your home’s chore division, don’t let that situation last. As much as possible, share your chores with family members or your significant other fairly, if not equally. If you live with your spouse, it’s even more crucial to relieve yourself of many chores. Studies show that doing fewer chores can save or strengthen a relationship, especially its intimacy.

How to Make Chores More Manageable

Even if you live alone, you can still get help with your chores. Identify what particular chore takes up most of your time or your least favorite chore. For example, if you don’t like doing the laundry and folding the clean clothes eats up time you don’t have, book a laundry pickup and delivery service every week, and you can tick off that chore in your list without lifting a finger.

For strenuous chores like cleaning stovetops, wiping windows, and maintaining appliances, use cleaning hacks that remove dirt faster without the need for scrubbing. And for the rest of your daily chores, create a system, a schedule that’ll allow you to rest without compromising your home’s cleanliness. Remember that you don’t need to mop the floor or vacuum the furniture every day. Do just one or two housework every night, such as washing the dishes and sweeping the floors. Leave the heavier tasks for the weekends, but don’t tackle them all at once either.

Simply put, prioritize your wellness more than the demands placed on you. If you live alone, you’re freer to live as you like, but that may not be the case for others with a spouse or family. Nonetheless, don’t be apologetic for taking care of your health. Even if you’ve got chores waiting for you, set aside time for unwinding and other self-care practices. After all, you’re no use to your home if you’re ill. You need to be in good health and a good mental space before doing chores.

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