There has been a lot of talk in the past couple of years about self-care.
Although conversations about work and life balance have been happening for some time, it has felt far more prominent during and post-pandemic. In fact, many people have taken the opportunity to reevaluate what is most important and make changes to ensure they’re prioritising family, friends, mental health and wellbeing above work and material needs.
Despite the rising cost of living and two years of lockdowns, there’s a lot to be optimistic about. It feels like humankind is starting to realign itself with core values and approaching our lifestyles more holistically. I see this in the lovely reviews we get for our Out Of The Box gift sets that focus on items that promote eco-friendly self-care and focus on sparking moments of calm and simple joys. It seems that these gifts, the ones that inspire you to make time for yourself, are the ones that people are so thankful to receive because this, in such a busy whirlwind world, is what we most need.
So promoting lifestyles that allow for moments of mindfulness, gratitude and…well…just some highly-important time for reflection, has become somewhat of a mission for me. That being said, I thought I’d share with you some ideas for creating rituals for everyday wellness that are easy to fit into daily life.
I use the word ritual in place of routine because the word routine can be viewed as somewhat rigid and structured. Ritual is my preference because these are moments that enrich life as opposed to simply ways to navigate through tasks.
Here are my five feel-good rituals for everyday wellness:
The Singing Chef Ritual
If you like cooking and you like music then this could be one for you.
Making dinner is often such a rush. Usually slotted between a whole host of other tasks and that can mean we don’t get to enjoy it. Once a week, if possible, set aside a bit more time, blast out your favourite playlist and dance your way around making a meal. Sundays can be a great opportunity or even Friday nights when it’s not so important that dinner is served early to ensure the kids are bathed and in bed on time. I’d also recommend choosing a dinner that you know how to cook because the aim here is not to focus hugely on the cooking but to lose yourself in the music and the experience. Music choice is completely up to you and this ritual lends itself to all genres, just so long as you’re having fun.
For me, the Singing Chef Ritual works because it’s about making something that can so easily become a daily ‘chore’, an opportunity for let-loose expressive ‘you’ time. If you’re anything like me, you’ll almost be disappointed when the dinner is ready and it’s time to return to the world outside of the kitchen.
The Reading Chair Ritual
Ask almost anyone about their reading habits and you’ll scarcely hear a reply that won’t include, ‘I should read more.’ Reading is something many of us struggle to make time for. Maybe we can blame technology or the addictive nature of Netflix or social media, but I wonder if it’s that we don’t make it
accessible. The remote is right there right? Our phones bleep constantly for our attention and meanwhile, our books tend to sit silent and unassuming on the bookshelf. Apart from the fact that reading does require some quiet and, if you’re living with other people, that’s not always easy to come by. Yet, that’s one of the reasons reading is so valuable. Reading can also be educational, inspiring and a wonderful way to lose yourself in another world. This is why I believe in creating a ritual for reading.
I advocate for choosing a comfortable chair and declaring this your reading chair. There’s something very powerful in having a place for an activity, especially if it’s in a room you use regularly. Your reading chair will help draw you in. It’s important to say there’s no ‘good time’ to read so choose whenever is right for you, and guess what - it can be in the middle of the day! Set an amount of time though, especially if it helps to alleviate any guilt that taking time to read is in any way self-indulgent (it’s absolutely not though). Also, there's no rule about what it is you choose to read. Reach for a classic novel, an educational non-fiction book or a so-called trashy magazine. What's important is that you set 20 minutes or so aside to disappear into another world and consume something that acts as food for the soul.
If you’re a parent encouraging your child to read, there is no better way than for them to see you taking time to enjoy reading. So, if you’re struggling with the feeling you should be doing a ‘job’ instead, remind yourself that you’re setting an example. Or else, remember that we try to eat well and exercise to fuel our body and so we owe it to ourselves to also fuel our mind and imagination.
The Happy Dance Ritual
We strive constantly to reach goals and achieve both at work and at home. Yet, it’s so easy to skip past the celebration and move on to the next goal. I hate to use the word ‘should’ but here I feel it’s vital to stress that we should take time to celebrate the wins. Whether it be a step in the right direction at work, learning something new or helping someone else achieve something. It’s as if we envisage how the wins will make us feel in order to get there, but then we forget to feel it.
This is why I love the happy dance ritual. If dancing doesn’t bring you joy then you may find another way to celebrate, just make sure you do something. What I love about the happy dance ritual is it’s just a few minutes to feel the joy of whatever it is you’ve achieved and it also provides that physical release and beautiful self-expression. True, it may not be all that beautiful depending on your dance ability but hey, this isn’t about being a good dancer it’s about being a joyful adult able to connect with a child-like expression of happiness.
Basically, it’s about taking a few minutes, putting on a feel-good song and dancing wildly whilst thinking about whatever it is that you deserve to celebrate. Fling out your arms, spin around, kick out your toes and give yourself some time to feel proud of yourself. It’s a tough world to succeed in right now and we cannot let the moments where we achieve pass by. Whether that’s a colleague praising your work or a child thanking you for helping with their homework. You’ve done good so feel it!
The ‘Me’ Party Ritual
How frequently, or easily, you can indulge in this one will depend largely on whether you live alone or not. The ‘Me' party requires an evening alone, or at least a couple of hours, in which you dedicate yourself to some proper pampering. This is about performing a few rituals that make you feel good inside and out. A long bath is usually a good place to start. Make sure you use all your favourite products to take care of your body and let yourself get nice and relaxed. Spend the rest of your evening in your comfiest pyjamas and dressing gown, light a candle and pour yourself your favourite drink, whether that’s a glass of wine or herbal tea. You can’t go too wrong by adding chocolate to the evening either. What you do with your ‘Me’ party is completely up to you. Perhaps watch a new or beloved film, paint your nails, get some relaxing reading time in or turn up the music and have a good sing-along and dance.
As wonderful as it is to be around family and friends, it’s also important to have the odd night that’s just for you to focus on your needs. All those little needs that can so easily get put on the back burner again and again until they’re forgotten. A bit of recharge time now and again will fill up the energy tank and enable you to reconnect with yourself, with the aid of a few of life’s simple pleasures.
Need a little help to get your ‘Me’ party started? Why not build your own gift box and fill it with treats for your night in? Perhaps our Beauty Kubes Face Mask, Calming Crystal Bath Salts, Uplifting Soy Wax Candle and Seed and Bean Vegan Chocolate.
This has to be the easiest ritual to practise. So easy in fact that it can be a daily activity. I like to sit myself near a window each morning when my tea is ready to drink and spend just a few minutes gazing as thoughtlessly as possible. Thoughtless, but not pointless. You see, the window gazing ritual is a mindfulness practice. It’s about developing the ability to clear the mind of all that busy list-building, plan-making and priority-balancing and simply look out.
Look out and observe the world from your window. We don’t all have rolling hills, trees and birds to look out on but that needn’t matter. Breathe deep and smooth and try to rid your mind of worries and responsibilities and instead observe what you see. Note the colours, movements and shapes.
This brief and effortless exercise can help remind and retrain your brain to take in the outside world rather than looking inward so often. Doing so can have a calming effect that, when practised regularly, can result in a more optimistic and engaged connection to the world around us.
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