Healthy daily routines are an essential part of self-care, but they don’t help if we quit them regularly! We need joy & re-energizing moments to create health and mental wellness. Adding a ritual to each day can provide just that.
What do I mean by Rituals? The rituals I’m referring to are one extra thing you do in your day that brings you joy. It’s an activity that lifts you up and energizes you, not burdens you. Here are five ways to help you stick with your healthy routine by adding a ritual:
1. RELEASE THE PRESSURE.
A healthy daily ritual is supposed to be what you want it to be. Whether it’s active like exercise or walking, passive like eating or stretching, watching a quick video or reading a chapter in a book, or take a nap, it doesn’t matter.
The point is that it releases some tension from day-to-day life.
Implementing a Daily Healthy Ritual is not supposed to be another thing on the to-do list. It’s a RELEASE from the to-do list.
For my perfectionists out there, resist the temptation to turn your ritual into a must-do. If you have to force yourself to do it, you picked the wrong ritual.
Your ritual doesn’t have to be meditative, meaningful or even promote your personal growth (at least not on the surface of it)! Its only goal is to bring a smile to your mouth. Full stop.
2. PLAY IN YOUR DAILY ROUTINE.
I get goal-focused, like life & death goal-focused. I used to seriously attach my value to my outcomes, thus the goal focusing.
Even though I now see my value as distinct from what I “do.” I still have those lingering habits because I’m also a super curious & intense human being. My ideas & my excitement around them can crash & burn me if I don’t get ahead of them.
So I committed to adding something else to my mind: a PLAY ritual.
Play is as important to our minds as resting our minds is.
– flailing my arms wildly for no reason,
– dancing, rolling on the floor,
– doing a forward roll on my bed,
– anything that I would have done when I was a kid (just slower!!!).
…all just for 5 minutes. 5 MINUTES A DAY TO PLAY, I SAY, or 10 seconds, it doesn’t matter how long.
We get wound up & serious as adults. Life can create a sense of distrust in happiness. We rule out play because it makes us vulnerable to joy. Years ago, I did not trust happiness to stick around, so play had to take a back seat too, & along with it…JOY.
They influence us, but we aren’t defined by our pasts, our work, our depression, our anxiety, or our fear. We came into this world without those things. My daughter reminded me that we are also creative beings who once had more natural access to joy.
5 minutes of play is a healthy daily routine that reminds me of my joy. It’s also a way to connect with & get to know my daughter more. I hope it will work for you too…
3. STOP BEFORE YOU FEEL PAIN…SLOW DOWN YOUR DAILY HEALTH ROUTINE.
I live in North America, where we have created a culture of never resting. There’s a constant push to “do” something in our society. Even if that something is a healthy activity like exercize, we’re so uncomfortable stopping that we will ignore our physical signals.
We value the desire to push through over the need to listen and rest. We’ve also gotten into the habit of not stopping work or a workout till our body presents physical pain. We may not appreciate pain at a mild level & only feel it once it’s severe.
Thus we experience chronic fatigue, stress, joint and ligament injury, tissue tears, & other physiological & psychological symptoms that could have been prevented by listening to our body needs and slowing down before feeling pain.
Stopping before you feel pain is not only a matter of training yourself to get back in touch with physical sensation but also shifting your mindset. Your brain needs a compelling reason to start a new habit, so you don’t revert to the familiar one.
My compelling reason was to eliminate chronic pain. I sustained a knee injury 3 years ago & my knee has never been the same since.
My initial approach was a slow and gentle recovery…till after a year of this, I got impatient. I bumped up the intensity & duration of my physiotherapy to the point I was doing more harm than good.
I’d push through a workout and finish its goals but then be laid up for a day or two on ice. Two steps forward 1 to 3 steps back became a cycle because I got impatient.
I didn’t want a healthy daily routine; I wanted a FAST one.
Speed doesn’t create healing or a sustainable program. I had to change my mindset about what pain meant to me & about me.
I had to investigate what I was resisting in the healing process before I could make progress.
It’s essential to be realistic in the goals you set for a healthy daily ritual. It does not take much for a healthy ritual to become either UNhealthy or UNsustainable if you don’t know what you realistically can do.
1. TIME OF DAY: Examine what time of day you function best. Morning, afternoon or evening? I have an energy dip in the mid-afternoon. That’s when I lay down for 10 minutes. Or if I don’t have time for that, I do one of the “play” rituals I listed in #2 above for 1 or 2 minutes. It doesn’t have to take long.
These activities give me the boost I need. Sometimes I’ll have a snack or half a small glass of something fizzy, something that’s a real treat for me. And I’ll indulge in it. I don’t judge what I need & I don’t judge myself for needing it. If I indulge in it, I get the FULL benefit of my chosen boost without taking much time.
2. FUNCTIONAL INDULGENCE: What can you indulge in without going overboard? A treat can become a burden if we overindulge it. Watching Netflix for 30 mins is enough to recharge me, but when I veg out for hours, I walk away feeling like a zombie.
Our rituals should recharge us, not drain us.
Keep your re-charging ritual moments guilt-free by setting limits of moderation. Moderation feels good & you walk away recharged, whereas regular overindulgence feels terrible afterwards. You feel more lethargic instead of ready to face the next part of your day.
5. PUT YOUR HEALTHY DAILY ROUTINE WITHIN A SPECTRUM THAT IS DOABLE & SUSTAINABLE.
We tend to focus on Aspiring Goals in our culture, something big that will change where we are currently. Understandably, we want to reach those goals because we aren’t happy with something in our current state.
Similarly, with daily healthy routines, there is a change we want to see as the outcome of implementing a new daily ritual.
That is fine, as long as we remember: we will not see change if we can’t consistently take the steps we need to take to get to our goal.
Monitor how you feel. If implementing your ritual makes you more tired, you need to take smaller steps or break down your goal into smaller steps.
The steps we take along the way are what modify where we are at now. To be effective, those steps need to be small and short in nature. There’s no point in rushing to a goal if we give up along the way because the steps we took were too big.
My husband struggled with putting down his work; once the workday was over, he was thinking about it all night.
He made a goal to change his relationship with work, but that goal was overwhelming. He didn’t know how to approach it because the goal didn’t have doable steps. It was a great aspiration but too general.
I helped him break down what he was doing each day that was causing an unhealthy work relationship. He discovered that one of his behaviours was always to be available for work-related issues.
I recommended one healthy daily routine he could perform every day that practised NOT being available for work: take a daily walk outside for 10 minutes without answering the phone.
That was doable and sustainable for him. It wasn’t SO far removed from where he was that it stressed him out, but just enough change to start to change his mindset around work.
He was able to see that things didn’t fall apart in that 10 minutes he wasn’t available. After adding more progressive steps, he has now changed his mindset about work to the point that it doesn’t consume him 24/7.
- Our brains resist any change in an effort to preserve our health.
- To get around that resistance, only give your mind small steps.
- Big steps cause our minds to resist the change you are asking of it.
- Moving too quickly creates goal burnout, frustration & quitting.
- Celebrate Each Win. Our brains also need intermittent rewards: they need regular recognition of the positive effects in the changes you are adding. This is why noticing every small movement forward along the way is critical.
Celebrating you & your fun, doable healthy daily routines & rituals! 👏 🥳
SHARE YOUR IDEAS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW:
What are your rituals or ideas for future rituals?
Does anything stand in the way of doing them?
I’d love to hear what you created…!