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The unexpected benefit of a smashing time


I had one of those occasions the other week when an unforeseen hitch seemed to snowball, resulting in heightened emotions, some re-evaluation and a difficult conversation to be had – an upsetting combination which couldn’t help but affect my wellbeing.

Although it didn’t feel like it at the time, it thankfully coincided with a week when I was committed to undoing one of my less successful DIY tasks. So, on a Sunday when my mind was very much elsewhere, I found myself on my hands and knees chiselling away on the bathroom floor. My focus being to lift all those little mosaic tiles and grout I’d so loving but poorly laid, before the professionals came in to right my amateurish wrong!

My note to self, other than not to get beyond my DIY ability,  is to remember the positive effect doing something practical can have in improving my mood and freeing up my mental capacity – on this occasion, the hugely satisfying physical destruction of something which had been bugging me for ages. Yes, I had a few minor cuts on my hands from lifting sharp-edged tiles and sore legs from kneeling on small but ridiculously painful lumps of very hard grout … but how good was that feeling when the job was done? And, I had the added bonus of being able to think far more clearly than I had during the preceding few days. The problem hadn’t gone away but I was at least able to put it in perspective.

They say one good thing leads to another. So, with the bathroom floor now bare and, after a few nights of disturbed sleep, my energy levels unexpectedly boosted; I turned to my weekly bread making session which I must confess has become strangely therapeutic. If you’ve never experienced the satisfaction of pounding a piece of dough around a worktop, letting your imagination choose exactly who or what that dough becomes for its 10-minute kneading time, I can thoroughly recommend it. A far less lasting and damaging memory than the old levelling guidance when you were anxious about an upcoming meeting or event of, “imagine them naked”!

I know with all the information and advice offered on this site that I shouldn’t have been surprised at the effect of physical activity on my mental state. But I think I’d always taken that to mean exercise of one type or another in terms of walking, running or a workout, rather than attempting a DIY chore I’d been putting off for ages.

Now I feel like I should go and lay some tiles in a cupboard just so they’re ready for me to rip up next time I have one of ‘those’ weeks!

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