[A Paragraph Daily] The Therapeutic Value of Manual Labor

It often comes as a surprise to my friends and coworkers that I really enjoy manual labor. I spent the better part of high school and college breaks stocking shelves and washing dishes at a mom-and-pop deli. After college, I had a few months before my first professional position began, so I joined the produce department at a supermarket, stocking shelves, wrapping produce, and generally throwing vegetables around. I love it. I also found the longer I have a desk job, the more I really appreciated that time and opportunities to just life things.

Unlike general desk jobs, when you’re engaged in some hard labor, you’re not “multi-tasking.” You have one thing to do that requires your body’s attention. If it’s a job you’ve gotten good at, you can actually just let your mind wander. After having professional duties, with tasks were the fruit of your labor is not always so apparent, it’s really nice to have a job where you can very plainly see that the work is done. You have a stack of things here that needs to be moved there. You do it, it’s done, and you can see with your eyes that it’s done. It’s so rewarding and is some what of a novelty. The ROI, return on investment, is so clear! No research required! I had a sink-full of dishes, then washed them, so the sink is empty. How good does that feel? (How good does building Ikea crap feel? There’s research on it.) And guess what, you can’t check email while you do dishes (yet…).

So to answer your next question, yes I’d love to help you move, or build that thing, or clean whatever. Really.

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