This is the second in a series of three posts designed to explore rituals and the beneficial role they can play in our journey towards a life of balance. Click here to read the first post, and look for the third post in the series Thursday, 9/27.
The Rituals Series
Fitting a Ritual into A Busy Life
In the previous post in The Rituals Series, we talked a little bit about what rituals are and how they can be beneficial in helping you shift to a more positive state of mind. Today, we’ll talk a little more about how you can work a ritual into daily life.
Turning things you like to do into a ritual
We’ve found that people are best able to incorporate a ritual into their lives when they choose an activity they are interested in. In our previous post, we mentioned a woman who likes to scrapbook after a stressful day to decompress. Scrapbooking may not be what comes to mind when you think of a ritual, but if you find you enjoy it enough to do it regularly, and are able to benefit from it, we don’t see why you couldn’t use it to start a daily wellness practice.
Take a few moments to think of things you like to do regularly, and try these steps:
1. Select a regular time to practice your ritual.
It can be any time of day, for any amount of time, as long as you can find a time and place where you won’t be disturbed—even if it’s just for 5 minutes.
2. Become aware of an Intention you would like to associate with your ritual.
Whether it’s Courage or Inspiration, your focus can be different each time depending on what you need that day.
3. Choose the essential part of your activity that can be repeated each time.
For example, if you love photography, think about a way that you can use it in a regular practice. Can you take a photo a day to remind you of your Intention?
4. Perform your activity with your Intention in mind.
As you do your activity, think about your Intention. How is it represented in your life currently? How could you work more of it into your life in the future?
5. Take time to reflect on the experience
Afterwards, notice how you feel. How has your mood changed? Did you learn anything about yourself from the experience?
Fitting a ritual into your day
Adding one more activity on to your To Do list may seem daunting, but you can start with short increments of time and activities that feel easier to you. After a while, your ritual will become a part of your regular schedule, and you may even feel like something is missing if you skip it.
Get started by trying one of these everyday rituals during a few moments of downtime in your day:
• Do sun salutations while your morning coffee or tea is brewing to become mindful of your body, and to get your blood flowing for the day ahead.
• Before getting out of your car at work, pause for a moment to dab some Sensory Oil on your wrist while saying the affirmation of the Intention of your choice. When you catch a whiff of the fragrance in the day ahead, the scent will help remind you of your Intention.
• Go for a walk after dinner each night. Become aware of the Intention you would like to think about as you put on your shoes and grab your keys. As you walk, think about your chosen focus, and how you would like to accomplish it. As you near the end of your walk, reflect on the experience and what you learned about yourself.
• Take 5 minutes each night before bed to light a candle, and write down a few things you are thankful for in a Gratitude journal. Reflect on why those items made you feel Gratitude, and how they made you feel.
• Meditate for 15 minutes when you get home from work to decompress. As you sit undisturbed, sort through the feelings of the day, and think about the Intention of your choice. Ask yourself how you embodied your Intention today? How could you do a better job using that Intention tomorrow?
• If you have a craft or hobby you enjoy, turn it into a ritual. For example, if you enjoy knitting, find some quiet time once a week to knit while thinking about the Intention of your choice. Afterwards, reflect on how the experience made you feel.
Everyone’s rituals may vary depending on your interests and the Intention you would like to focus on. Plus, rituals can get stale. If you find that your ritual isn’t making you feel as good as it used to, shake it up. Try a variation of your current ritual, or a new one altogether.
In our next post, we’ll explore how incorporating physical objects can help structure and focus rituals. Until then, think about what kind of ritual you would like to create. What would you like to focus on? What activity will you perform to accomplish this? How will you fit this regular practice into your schedule?