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The Art of Puttering: Nurturing Your Mental Well-being Through Mindful Home Activities

Updated: Nov 13, 2023


You’re super busy, so the idea of "puttering around the house" may seem like a ridiculous, outdated pastime. However, there's much more to this leisurely activity than meets the eye. Puttering, often defined as engaging in small, inconsequential tasks around the house, can bring about a host of benefits for our mental well-being and overall quality of life. Think of it as things you want to do around your house, instead of things you should, need, or have to do.


For example, one of my favorite ways to putter is to grab my coffee or wine and wander around my gardens, deadheading some plants, maybe moving some pots around, pulling a couple of weeds, and adding some seasonal decorations. It's the stuff I want to do, and that’s all. I don’t think about how we should mow soon, or have to get that driveway crack looked at. Afterward, I feel calm, grounded, and accomplished–and wow, it's a great feeling that lasts the rest of the day. All that from puttering!


Finding Serenity in the Mundane

In a world that values constant productivity and efficiency, it's easy to overlook the beauty of slow, mindful activities. Puttering allows us to break free from the shackles of our busy schedules and rediscover the simple joys of life. When you engage in puttering, you're not chasing deadlines or rushing to meet obligations; instead, you're in the present moment, tending to the small, seemingly unimportant details of your surroundings.


Stress Reduction and Mindfulness

Puttering can be a meditative experience, allowing you to be fully present and mindful of your environment. Whether you're rearranging knick-knacks, pruning plants, or organizing a closet, these seemingly mundane tasks can be a form of moving meditation. They offer a break from the constant bombardment of information and a chance to clear your mind. As you engage with the task at hand, you'll find your stress levels decreasing and your mental clarity improving.


For instance, tending to a garden or houseplants can be a therapeutic form of puttering. Caring for living things and watching them flourish is not only rewarding but also can provide a sense of accomplishment and a connection to the natural world, which is known to reduce stress and anxiety.


Creativity Unleashed

Puttering encourages creativity. While you're tidying up or making small changes to your living space, you might find yourself inspired to rearrange furniture, add a personal touch to a room, or try your hand at a DIY project. These moments of creative expression can lead to a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, contributing to your overall well-being.


Consider the act of reorganizing your bookshelf, which can be a therapeutic form of puttering. It allows you to revisit beloved books, arrange them in a visually pleasing manner, and relive the memories associated with them, all of which can boost your creativity and mental well-being. Maybe you'll be inspired to read a book, rather than scrolling on your device!


Increased Productivity

Oddly enough, puttering around the house can boost your overall productivity. When you give yourself permission to engage in seemingly non-essential activities, you're likely to return to your more significant tasks with a refreshed mindset. The mental break and sense of accomplishment from puttering can enhance your focus and efficiency in the long run.


For example, tidying up your workspace or crafting an organized to-do list can be forms of puttering that prepare your mind for more substantial tasks, leading to increased productivity.


Improved Connection with Your Space

Puttering also fosters a deeper connection with your living environment. As you move through your home, making small improvements and enhancements, you become more attuned to the energy and ambiance of each room. This connection can lead to a greater sense of comfort and contentment in your living space.


Rearranging furniture and decor can transform a room's atmosphere and provide a sense of renewal, strengthening your emotional connection to your home.


A Healthy Escape

In an age where many of us are continually tethered to our digital devices, puttering offers a healthy escape from the screens and notifications. It allows you to disconnect and find solace in the physical world, providing a well-deserved break from the constant digital buzz.


To illustrate, taking a break from screen time and instead engaging in the soothing ritual of preparing a warm cup of tea or coffee, focusing on the sensory experience, can be a restorative form of puttering that promotes mindfulness and mental clarity. If you’re feeling grumpy, head outside and putter for a little bit. I bet you’ll feel better.

Puttering around the house is a simple yet profound activity that can significantly enhance your mental well-being. It offers a respite from the stresses of daily life, promotes mindfulness, and helps you cultivate a deeper connection with your living space. So, take a step back, slow down, and embrace the therapeutic art of puttering for a more fulfilling and serene life within your own home. Your mental health will thank you for it.


*Are you dealing with anxiety, stress, or grief and concerned about how you will get through the week? Contact me for available appointments for grief counseling, family counseling to create and maintain boundaries, and counseling to relieve anxiety, stress and help with life transitions.


Additional reading:

Robson, D. (2022, March 29). Puttering around: Why small tasks feel so therapeutic. https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20220323-puttering-around-why-small-tasks-feel-so-therapeutic

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