Daily rituals help you stay organized and focused on what’s most important in your life. But what exactly is a ritual? It’s a fancy way of describing a personal routine or practice. Simply put, rituals are self-care habits. They are the things you do consistently every day to create the lifestyle you desire–what you want to be, do, have and feel. There’s no right or wrong way to do them, but what rituals have in common is they reduce anxiety and enhance performance. And that can be the difference between achieving a goal…or not.Rituals are self-care habits. Click To Tweet
Your daily rituals can be broken down in a number of ways, but one strategy is to divide them into batches throughout the day. (Keep scrolling for a list of 11 daily ritual ideas that you might want to try.)
I’m an early riser so I love, love, love (did I mention love?) the wee hours of the morning. It’s quiet. There are fewer distractions. And my mind isn’t yet churning with all the things I need to do before the day’s end. Under those conditions, my brain is more creative and I make better decisions.
My morning rituals include some combination of meditation, journaling, reading (I’m currently reading A Course in Miracles* for the 2nd time), yoga, and the rate your 8 daily assessment. After that, I have breakfast and focus on planning my day using the Self-Care Planner*.
But not everyone loves mornings. Some prefer to save their deeper work for later in the evening, when they aren’t as rushed. You may need to experiment a little to find what’s right for you.
Afternoon rituals might include going for a walk (outside if possible), having a healthy snack (fruit, raw vegetables, hummus, etc.), a quick meditation or deep breathing exercise. I’ve discovered that going to the gym in the afternoon works better for me. My mornings are pretty full, and I now look forward to the afternoon break because it gives me a boost of creativity and energy to bust out the rest of my to-do list. But mid-day rituals can be challenging, especially if you don’t have a flexible work schedule.
Depending on how active your life is, evenings can either be low-key or chaotic. If you have kids who play sports or are involved in after-school activities, just getting dinner on the table might feel like an impossible feat. But if you do your best thinking and creating later in the day, it could be a great time to establish some rituals. A relaxing soak in the tub, stretching and reading can all help improve sleep quality, too.
Developing your ritual recipe will probably take some experimenting. And even when you think you’re in a groove, you may discover over time that you’re bored and less committed, which is why it’s a good idea to change your routines periodically.
Ready to create some self-care rituals? Join us the the Lifestyle Design Studio.
11 Daily Ritual Ideas
Whether you’re in the beginning stages of creating daily rituals, or are looking for ways to spruce up an existing routine, consider these strategies:
1. Meditation or Prayer
There are a number of different styles of meditation, from guided meditations (recordings that walk you through the process) to forms of meditation that involve physical movement, like walking or stretching. Guided formats are great for beginners and most can be completed in under 30 minutes. Danielle LaPorte’s guided meditation called Creation Space is one of my favorites.
2. Rate Your 8
Living Upp’s Rate Your 8 assessment tool was developed to help you identify and prioritize your needs on a daily basis. This helps you identify trends–areas of your life that you’ve been neglecting or putting off intentionally. This can help you choose specific daily rituals that best support you.
In order to manage your time efficiently, planning is essential. Making arrangements ahead of time for dinner, child care, or other important tasks can make your life much easier. And that usually also means less stress.
Yoga combines mindfulness with body movement, and helps create balance and alignment — both mentally and physically. One of my clients introduced me to Yoga with Adriene (it’s free!), and it’s been a great addition to my morning ritual.
Walking is a simple way to stretch tense muscles, which makes it a great mid-day ritual, especially if you sit behind a keyboard or have a job that’s physically demanding. Walking doesn’t require any special equipment and it’s practical for most fitness levels.
Journaling can include freestyle writing (a creative process that involves simply writing about whatever is on your mind) or writing prompts (questions or suggestions to help guide you through the process). Choose whatever feels right for you. My favorite journals* are from the Rifle Paper Company. They’re super slim and fit nicely inside my Self-Care Planner*.
7. Deep breathing
Deep breathing exercises have been shown to increase oxygen flow to your brain, stabilize blood pressure and reduce anxiety. If you’re new to the practice, you can find some variations of breath work here.
Stretching is a relaxing ritual that helps work out the kinks from busy workday. Keep a foam roller* or yoga mat handy or set an alarm to remind you to stretch.
9. Eating Nourishing Food
If you typically dine out (in not-so-healthy venues), consider creating a new habit of prepping more meals at home. Pack your lunch, plan your dinner menus ahead of time, and keep healthy breakfast ingredients on hand. And if releasing excess weight is one of your goals, dining in more can make a big difference.
Need help with meal planning? Learn how to plan healthy meals here or download our healthy real food list here.
Many journal prompts include creating a list of things you’re grateful for. And while it might not seem like a big deal, it is. Focusing on what’s going well in your life rather than what isn’t changes your mood, your ability to deal with stress, and your effectiveness in relating to others.
A warm bath or shower can help you unwind after a busy day. Whether you choose a hot tub, a bath, or a long shower, soaking can help soothe stiff muscles and help you relax before bed. As a bonus, consider adding an aromatic shower tab*, bath bomb, or essential oil to take your relaxation up a notch. Essential oils can also be applied to your pillow to help you drift off to sleep.
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