Stress! Need I say more? I have struggled with writing the last several weeks due to stress. I go to bed, close my eyes, and deep breathe for several minutes while envisioning my “quiet place.” I wake up several times at night and repeat. I hear my own heavy sighs throughout the day and repeat. Breathing is taking on a whole new art form in my world lately.
I don’t need to go into the details; we are all feeling it—the state of the world. And, there it is again, my heavy sigh!
We do all sorts of things in search of relief from stress. In my search for the ever-evasive “magic answer,” I have tried a long litany of things—all legal, of course. Some of the things I’ve tried have been traditional, and some have been more on the unusual or quirky side. Many of us are familiar with conventional talk-therapy forms and medications, acupuncture, massage, yoga, meditation, exercise, teas, aromatherapy, and, yes, deep breathing. Then there are a few others that I have tried, like laughter yoga, float therapy, and energy healing. I have even been known to dance and sing in the forest like a wood-nymph when I think no one is looking.
Some of these cost nothing, but that is not the case for the others, and that in itself is more cause for stress—stressing over the cost of destressing.
The answer came to me very simply last month while I was at the laundromat (yes, again). I was sitting in a plastic chair and only somewhat paying attention to a Spanish soap opera playing on a television hung above a row of dryers. I watched as a man walked over to a plastic chair, picked it up, and walked back to the washer he had just started. He placed the chair directly in front of the washer and sat down—literally sat facing the glass door to the front-load washer. He just sat there watching his clothes go round. I have to admit that there was a second of judgment on my part, maybe even a slight eye-roll… very slight.
Then it hit me that he was actually doing something healthy—therapeutic—actual stress relief. It reminded me of a review I saw on Yelp for this laundromat about the calming effects of watching your laundry go round and round. Was this the person that had written that review? Who knows, maybe, maybe not, but he had definitely found a good thing—$4. for 30 minutes of washer therapy. An equally great deal is 50 cents for 8 minutes of dryer therapy!
I decided to give it a try and walked over to my bedding in the commercial-sized dryer. I stood there and stared at the big round glass window. My bedding went round and round, the dryer radiated heat, and I focused on the consistent mechanical sound of the spinning dryer drum. Not too shabby!
It’s almost time to take my rugs and quilts to the laundry again, and I must say that I’m really looking forward to it. I don’t know if I will be bold enough to pull up a chair and sit in front of my “industrial-sized therapist,” but I just might be.
A sample video to get you started.
My mom tells me that when my brother and I were little, she would open her top-loading washer and watch the clothes circle and “agitate!” It helped her feel less agitated! She says she also placed me in my bouncy seat on the top of the dryer when I resisted drifting off to sleep. Laundry therapy!
I love it; washer therapy in so many different forms. I have a friend whose father loves ironing. I think ironing fits into the meditative/stress relief category, almost like coloring, but not quite as fun.
A similar therapy is watching fish swim around in their fish tank. I LOVE doing that! 🐟🐠
I can definitely see how that would be very relaxing… I have a sudden desire to go snorkeling.
I loved this little piece, and the fact that the laundromat has been the inspiration for another favorite post you’ve made. Laundry therapy is economical, yes, but also highly effective. Many’s the day I spent at the laundromat, mesmerized into a relaxed and meditative state by the repetitive and comforting motion of the wash cycle, from the suds to the final rinse. Even if you’re alone, the other patrons feel like company, and everyone tends, for some reason, to be kind, polite, and considerate.
Keep up the great writing.