Incorporating healthy rituals into our everyday lives is an excellent way to nurture the mind, body, and spirit. When we start our day with practices that make us feel good, we create momentum toward a sense of overall wellness. These daily rituals can inspire new life within us.
What is a ritual? While often associated with religious practices, rituals are simply a set of actions that hold some symbolic value for us. We can think about rituals as those repeated practices that we rely on to keep us focused each day. These daily practices offer simplicity and serve to remind us of what gives meaning to our lives. In our unpredictable and fast-paced lives, rituals provide comfort and reassurance.
Creating and practicing rituals may sound simple, however many of us struggle to find time to include them in our busy schedules. We are accustomed to letting our “to-do” list determine how we spend our day. Often that very list can leave us feeling frustrated or overwhelmed. Incorporating new and positive activities into our routine can reduce this frustration, perhaps even inspire and excite us!
Rituals don’t need to be elaborate, but they should be personal. The key to creating a healthy practice is to include activities that will inspire and create positive momentum for you. It’s important to realize that what one person considers positive or healthy may be stressful for another. For some, listening to music or writing in a journal can help them to feel grounded and ready to embrace the day. For others, inspiration might come from calling a friend for support, doing something creative, or even taking a walk outdoors.
Not all rituals need to occur daily. While most of us engage in daily practices like brushing our teeth, eating a healthy breakfast, or taking our medications, there are many rituals that occur less frequently. Some people connect with friends on the weekends or water their plants on Wednesdays. Others might share dinner with family every couple of weeks. Yearly tasks, such as tending to a garden in the spring, can serve to remind us that new beginnings are just around the corner.
How do you decide which daily practices will work in your life? Begin by writing a list of activities that make you feel good. Try closing your eyes and thinking about what lifts your spirit. What brings you a sense of peace or a feeling of calmness? Is it writing in your journal each morning? Do you prefer to take your pet for a walk?
Now that you have an idea of which rituals work for you, what is the best time during the day or week to integrate them into your schedule? Although many find mornings to be their most productive time of day, others might prefer quiet reading or even a hot bath with a cup of herbal tea before bed. Be flexible and feel free to make it up as you go along. Creating a routine isn’t easy at first, and everyone’s rituals are different. None of us are wired exactly the same and it doesn’t make sense to assume that the same routine will work for everyone.
Whatever rituals you incorporate into your day, remember that they should help to ground you, not create stress. With a little patience and perseverance, these small changes will begin to positively affect your overall recovery and wellness.
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