How can we fully care for the needs of others if we continually fail to prioritize our own health and wellbeing? It’s just not possible and all statistics suggest that it leads to exhaustion and burn-out.
Self-care is not just a buzz phrase, it can mean bypassing old programming with daily reminders of our own value and that it’s ok to rest, relax and restore- even when facing the onslaught of competing priorities that make up a busy, contemporary lifestyle.
Perhaps this is where the art of ritual can help. Rituals are an ancient rite, a set of fixed actions and incantations often performed as part of a ceremony traditionally within a religious setting. However, perhaps they can still have value in today’s secular society.
Rituals are certainly comforting; many people find security in the certainty and predictability of the small things in life they do daily. How we bathe and get ready for the day ahead after laying out our chosen clothes the night before. How we choose and prepare our food and what comforts us before sleeping.
More than anything Rituals and self-care are about noticing, what we are doing and not doing, prioritising what feels good against tasks that are sometimes not as important as we like to think. Doing less and achieving more.
Inspired by the Rituals collections, we are highlighting four personal rituals that you can add to everyday life to help you slow down and take notice.
The Ritual of Nature
Take a weekly walk on the same route near your home (without your phone) and notice the change of the seasons. Check the same tree, the same flowerbed, the same grass and notice the difference week by week. Getting out in nature has proven mental health benefits and making a walk a part of your routine can really help.
The Ritual of the Smile
Many people don’t realise how vulnerable it feels to smile. When we smile at strangers it offers no hiding place, it shows for that moment we’re open hearted and ready for connection. Smiling when we’re unhappy can feel awful and yet with practice we can learn to smile at the small pleasures of life that are all around us if we could only stop for a moment and appreciate them, especially valuable is remembering to smile when we see others enjoying a happy moment.
The Ritual of Yin and Yang
Learning to honour our masculine and feminine opposing energies helps us to stay balanced. For example, a strength workout class one day followed by a Restorative Yoga class. This balance is more difficult to find in general life tasks as the natural energy of our modern lives is a lot more Yang with work, a hurried commute and whirring technology. Adding some extra Yin activities such as bed before ten, limited screen time and increasing natural fats and oils in are diet will help.
The Ritual of Kindness
In this day-and-age, this may be the most important ritual of all. Perhaps a less obvious choice, it takes a little more work to make kindness a daily ritual. Try to do one act of kindness every day, tiny or large and write it down in a notepad before you go to bed. You may also want to write down if someone has been particularly kind to you. This kindness notebook is a great way to appreciate the value of kindness in the world.
Rituals Cosmetics has many collections in their range including these which inspired our piece: The Ritual of Sakura, The Ritual of Laughing Buddha, The Ritual of Dao, The Ritual of Ayurveda, The Ritual of Hamman and The Ritual of Anahata. Rituals.com