Does this sound familiar?
You get home from a busy day and barely have the energy to make dinner.
And by the time you’ve cleared the table, there’s still a mountain of dishes to do…
Plus, the kitchen floor looks a little dingy, and you could really use a load of clean laundry.
But it’s 10pm, and you also need your rest…
So what do you do? Clean up, or get the sleep you need?
Well, your wellness should always come first — even if it means leaving dishes in the sink.
But for a lot of people, it’s not that easy… because leaving things undone makes them feel stressed out, or even guilty.
That’s right — a lot of people actually feel guilt for making their health a priority. It’s something that happens to just about anyone from time to time (though a recent study in the UK found women are especially susceptible to feeling guilty).1
And it turns out, those feelings could be a BIG problem — especially if you deal with guilt a lot.
In fact, feelings of guilt can actually:
- Increase production of the stress hormone cortisol — and when you’ve got too much cortisol in your system, your immune system (and even your gut) could function less smoothly.2
- Increase feelings of anxiety, which could make you more vulnerable to changes in blood pressure, weight gain, heart issues, and more.3
- Isolate you — because if you’re feeling guilty, an easy way to avoid guilt is to avoid people (even if it leaves you feeling lonely and stressed).
Of course, it’s one thing to say, “Don’t feel guilty.”
(Easier said than done, right?)
Luckily, there’s one simple thing you can do to knock out those guilty feelings — no matter how high your dishes are stacked up.
So what’s the trick?
Make a “To-Done List.”
Instead of writing a list of all the things you still have to do… take out a piece of paper and make a to-done list of the things you’ve already accomplished.
Make sure to include the big things, like finishing a report at work, or completing big projects around the house…
But also list the little things — grocery trips, emptying the dishwasher, a coffee date with friends.
(As you’ll see for yourself, that to-done list really adds up fast!)
Next, go ahead and check off each thing on your to-done list — for an added sense of accomplishment.
Instead of thinking, “Ugh, I’ve left dishes in the sink…” think, “Wow! I did ALL THAT. What a good day!”
It may not seem like much at first, but it’s actually an easy way to turn guilt around — and really celebrate everything you’ve done.
1. Thomas C, Et al. Linking Job Work Hours to Women’s Physical Health: The Role of Perceived Unfairness and Household Work Hours. Sex Roles. 2018. doi:10.1007/s11199-017-0888-y.
2. Herbert T, Cohen S. Stress and immunity in humans: a meta-analytic review. Psychosom Med. 1993;55(4):364-379. doi:10.1097/00006842-199307000-00004.
3. Notarius C, Levenson R. Expressive tendencies and physiological response