I was reminded recently about self-care rituals by someone asking me how to put self-care into a daily practice. Just like habits, rituals take time but start with one thing that is easy for you. In today's fast-paced and demanding world, taking care of one's mental and emotional wellbeing has become more important than ever before.
Why is it important to have self-care rituals?
Firstly, self-care rituals help to keep you grounded and centred before you begin your day and also as a way to wind down and let go towards the end of the day. When you make wellbeing a daily practice, you’ll find that you become more resilient and your tolerance to stress becomes higher - benefitting, of course, your physical and mental wellbeing. It helps you to better manage stress and anxiety.
Secondly, self-care rituals help you to develop a sense of purpose and meaning in your lives. By engaging in activities that bring you joy and fulfilment, you can feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that contributes to your overall happiness and wellbeing.
Thirdly, this daily practice helps prepare you for the curve balls. You’re more able to manage any challenges/painful situations better because you have already begun a practice of self-compassion through these rituals and you’re better able to listen to your needs and have learnt to attend to yourself first (think oxygen mask and flying - you put it on for yourself before you do it for your kids). These rituals are intended to help you develop a sense of self-awareness, self-love, and self-compassion.
What are some forms of self-care rituals that you may want to practise:
1) Movement – e.g. walking, yoga, running, dancing
2) Connect with those close to you – take time to socialize, create a deep and meaningful connection with your family and / or friends.
3) Breath practise and meditation. There are plenty that can be found on Insight Timer, Headspace etc.
4) Practice attunement with your body. One hand on your chest and one on your belly. Breathe in deeply into your belly, and tune in to your body. How does it feel, what does it need right now, can I just acknowledge what’s there and give it some space and attention with my breath practice.
5) Take time out, to be by yourself in nature, park, beach, minus the gadgets (I.e phone).
6) Journal. Put your thoughts down - what are you concerned about in this season of your life/day; what are you most proud of or have achieved - learn to celebrate small wins! What would you want to focus on next.
In conclusion, self-care rituals are an essential component of emotional and mental wellbeing. By engaging in activities that promote relaxation, self-awareness, and personal growth, you can improve your quality of life. Whether it be meditation, exercise, journaling, spending time in nature, or practicing self-compassion, incorporating self-care rituals into your daily routine can have significant benefits for emotional and mental wellbeing.
Attached here, is a picture of a close friend and I - we spent quite a lot of time cycling and connecting through the COVID lockdown period. We talked about our challenges, our worries, our pain and even found time to cry, laugh and dance. During this time, we were individually and independently facing our own losses. If it wasn’t for these moments, I am not sure how we both would have managed the grief, loss, anxiety and fears.