Self care rituals play a vital role in promoting a calm and happy life. As the name implies, rituals are something we do on a regular basis, in order to become a habit. There is something comforting about repeating nurturing habits that make you feel better, inside and out. Rituals make it easier to help self care become a habit. And, when that happens, it becomes so much easier to start taking care of yourself.
Which self care rituals should you be adding to your day? How many rituals do you really need? How do you you even go about putting a ritual into place? For starters, relax. Setting rituals does not have to be hard. Essentially, it comes down to making time for yourself each day to invest in a few nurturing activities.
My Daily Self Care Rituals
I discovered self care rituals by accident, when I was living out in the countryside after burning myself out in a big way. Sleep has always been hit and miss for me and I was trying to find ways to ease into bedtime and fully relax. I started experimenting with calming music, soft lighting and other tricks and soon began to notice a difference. Not only did I start to sleep better; I also began to feel calmer during the daytime, too. This began a deeper journey into self care.
To give you an idea of how a ritual might look, here’s my daily routine…
Wake up early. This gives me enough time to ease into the day without rushing. When I was first recovering from burnout, I woke up later, however. You need to do what works for your body. Sometimes, that means getting more sleep. Other times, it means being up early and starting work early. Find what works for you but most importantly of all, whatever time of day you wake, try to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day. Yes, even weekends.
Take it easy. I like to spend some time on social media in the early morning as I have a no social media rule during work hours. Giving myself allocated time to spend on Facebook and Instagram means that I can truly enjoy social media without getting sucked in too easily.
Meditate. Insight Timer is quite easily one of the tools that changed my life. It’s free and available in Android and iPhone. There are lots of different meditations on offer, or you could set a timer instead. I sometimes like to listen to soothing music, or I may focus on a specific chakra if I am feeling out of alignment, or I may do a mantra meditation if I need help focusing. Mindfulness and breathing meditations are also always great. I usually do around 10 minutes in the morning. It took a bit of practice to focus. Returning to your breath always helps. It soon got easier.
Affirmations. I am a huge fan of intention setting and have seen personally just how much power affirmations can unlock. Everyone has their own way of doing these. I find that the best results came when I chose a specific affirmation to focus on for the entire month. I started with a simple abundance affirmation a few months back. Every morning, I took a pretty background on my phone and I wrote out my affirmation. Then I let it go and stopped worrying. It sounds crazy – I began to get emails every day and then I landed a huge project that got me out of the slow period I had been struggling through. That convinced me more than ever how much affirmations work and I continued to put more focus into this ritual.
Journaling. I am not really one for bullet journaling – scheduling is good enough for me and gets the job done. I love gratitude journaling, though. Every morning, just before I have breakfast, I write down things I am grateful for, things I want to manifest, things I love about myself, reasons to be happy, and any other positive reminder that helps me gear into the day with the right mindset.
Garden time. A few weeks ago, I started ending my work day with some time out in the garden. I have tea on my patio, catching up on social media and transitioning into the end of the day. Then, I sit on the lawn with my two fluffy girl cats. They love this ritual as much as I do and get very excited when they see me.
Yoga. I adore restorative and yin yoga most of all, even if I am lapsing on my other practice. Lately, I have been doing bedtime yoga, which has helped a lot during my current bout of sleep struggles. There are some great videos on YouTube – many of them can even be done in bed.
Essential oils. I burn lavender and bergamot oils at bedtime, while I am doing yoga or meditation. They smell nice and make me feel relaxed, which helps to create a nice soothing space for bedtime.
Reading. I’m trying very hard to limit screen time at bedtime. I used to play a mobile game or two, such as jewels, which helped at one point in my life. I also got into the not too great habit of watching series on my tablet at bedtime – never ideal for sleep. So, to reduce screen time, I have started reading paperback books instead.
How to Set Your Own Self Care Rituals
Now that you’ve seen my self care rituals, how do you go about creating your own? There are a few things to note about self care rituals for them to be effective.
- Start with one or two habits and slowly add more as you get into a better routine. Trying to do everything all at once will not work. You will end up feeling overwhelmed, making it far hard to build a habit or see any benefits.
- Don’t let other people’s definitions influence your own. You may hate yoga and essential oils and have zero interest in affirmations. As long as you have calming, healthy habits in place, that is what matters.
- Alcohol is not a healthy habit. I know all too well how much wine o’ clock feels like self care. I was there once, too. The thing about alcohol is that it is a depressant rather than a calmative. That means that you only think you are relaxing. Instead, you are simply mindlessly covering up your stress rather than coping with it properly.
- Junk food is not a healthy habit either. Wine, chocolate and bubble baths were my idea of self care a few years ago. It felt like I was pampering myself and I was definitely enjoying the treats. That ritual did not do much to break my stress patterns and once again simply covered up the stress. That meant that I stayed in the same cycle without any real change. Enjoying these treats now and then is not bad at all. Just make sure that you are not trying to use unhealthy habits as self care rituals.
- Commit yourself to the practice of looking after yourself. Like anything else, self care takes practice. You will never see any results if you try a few rituals and then give up or let things slide. Investing in yourself means putting in the effort, every single day, whether you wake up feeling great or you wish you could go back to bed. You are worth the investment.
- Adapt as you need to. My own self care rituals change a bit as and when I need to focus on specific issues. Right now, I am battling to sleep, thanks to an ongoing battle with chronic sinusitis these last few months. I have been putting a lot more effort into calming rituals, bedtime yoga, and other habits that help me feel better. These habits have helped a lot, leaving me feeling a lot calmer and balanced.
The best thing about self care rituals is that they help you remember to love yourself. My self care rituals make me feel calm yet energised, waking up each morning ready to face the day. I am far more productive, I eat better, I remember to drink more water, I am more conscious of how I talk to myself, and I am more patient with myself. Believe in yourself and give yourself the attention you deserve with self care rituals that nurture from the inside out.