Rituals are a way to celebrate life and infuse our days with meaning.
A routine is made up of those things we do every day. A ritual, however, is how we break up the monotony, create joy in the mundane and nourish our souls.
Over the last few years, I’ve infused my days with simple rituals that remind me that life is more than just a set of tasks to be crossed off my many to-do lists. These rituals help me pause and rest when it’s so tempting to just. keep. going. And they give me something wonderful to look forward to throughout the day.
I’m a huge fan of simple rituals, because that makes them more likely to be sustainable. A sustainable ritual is one that will nurture your soul day after day.
However, if you try something and hate it or after a while it no longer feels like a ritual, but a chore, it’s perfectly ok to stop doing it. Really.
Or tweak it a little. Or a lot. Whatever works for you.
Today, I wanted to leave you with some ideas for simple rituals that don’t take much time. Pick just one or three and give them a try:
7 self-care rituals that take 15 minutes or less
1. Tea time
Put on the kettle, steep your favorite tea and savor it. Try it in the morning for a nice start to the day. Or have some before you start dinner. (I do both.) This mid-afternoon pause serves as a great reset button – a chance to gather your thoughts, breathe and prepare for the coming evening and bedtime routines.
2. Walk around the block
Step outside. Breathe deep. Move your body. A short walk is a great daily ritual that gets you sunshine, fresh air and a chance to take in and appreciate the beauty that surrounds you.
Next time you’re feeling stressed, pay attention to something. Are you holding your breath? Do you find yourself holding your breath throughout the day? Do you feel tense and anxious while you do? Chances are, the answer is yes.
Try creating a breathing ritual. It only takes a few minutes and you can do it at any time. And really, all you’re doing is taking some time to get comfortable and breathe deeply. Controlled breathing helps you relax, de-stress and increase mindfulness.
Just a few minutes of meditation can calm your mind and relieve stress. Meditative practice encourages you to focus on the present, rather than worry about the past or future. Try the free WelZen app if you need help (this is my favorite of the few I’ve tried). It offers short guided meditations you can fit it anywhere in your day.
5. Get dressed
Get dressed when you get up, all the way to shoes. Dress each day as though you have a special appointment you’re looking forward to – like a 4 o’clock tea date with yourself …
Each morning, I choose an outfit I feel great in (which, for me, does not include yoga pants), fix my hair, apply lip gloss and put in my favorite red rosebud earrings.
I began this practice a few years ago and in that time I’ve noticed an increase in productivity and an overall happier mood because I’m dressed for action, not lounging, and I love that I’m always in something that looks and feels good to me.
It’s doesn’t take much time at all and all the compliments are a nice side bonus.
6. Decide how you want to feel
When you wake up, give thanks for the new day and decide on three desired feelings for the day.
They might just pop in your head in the morning, like, “I want to feel joyful, confident and engaged today.” Or, after some prayer and introspection you might think, “When I go to bed tonight, I want to feel peaceful, content and like I connected well with my family.”
However it works for you to decide on those feelings and write them down. Then take steps toward creating those feelings throughout the day.
7. Get a good sweat
There is nothing like a little exercise to make you feel amazing. Even if you feel like you might die while you’re doing it …
But what do you do if you don’t have time to hit the gym? Don’t worry. There are SO many options out there – the Google will give you plenty. However, I’m a big fan of the 12-minute athlete website and app for a fast, efficient workout.