The topic of rituals is everywhere in the modern wellness space. From skincare rituals to meditation rituals it seems we should have a ritual for everything but not all things within our lives can or need to be transformed into rituals. Understanding which routines may have underlying significance to you can help you elevate them into meaningful rituals.
Routines vs Rituals
Routines often get branded as mundane and boring even though we all have them; they are our minds way of conserving mental energy while navigating life. Accomplished without much thought or focus routines are typically performed with intention, although oftentimes not meaningful intention. Making your bed in the morning or showering are typical routines that most of us have; however, they don’t contain much deep meaning and we typically accomplish them without much conscious effort. Rituals are grounding as they require us to be mindfully aware of the task we are completing and embody them fully while taking care to experience the smells, sensations and sounds involved. Many daily routines can be elevated into rituals— cooking, exercising, meditation or bathing can all be turned into rituals.
Let Your Intuition Consciously Guide Your Routines
Coupled with promises of health, happiness and aspirational marketing wellness trends pop up every few months— some are new while others are rehashed and revamped and it can be overwhelming to decipher which ones really align with who you are. You may feel like you need to go down a list ticking off boxes of what it really means to be well and that list is long. If adding more and more to your daily routine is causing you stress, anxiety and throwing you off balance then you may be working against your intuition and not embodying what it means to be well genuinely and holistically. Intuition isn’t performative or some mystical concept beyond your reach (it’s arguably just pattern matching). Asking your intuition questions to help guide your routines and assure they are aligned with you can be a powerful tool. You can pose these questions silently to yourself but if the answers aren’t coming to you you could try using a pendulum and asking yes or no questions that are within your control and allow your subconscious to guide you to the answers.
Elevating Routines to Rituals
Intention and mindfulness are two key components present when distinguishing a routine from a ritual. Let’s look at three elements of a routine that can be altered intuitively to elevate your routine into a ritual.
Objects are one of my personal favorite ways to elevate a routine. They give a tangible sense of mindfulness to your ritual and embody the intention. You don’t need fancy objects to craft a meaningful personal routine. You can journal just as well in a spiral notebook as you can a linen bound journal, complete your skincare routine with your hands instead of a Gua Sha and meditate without crystals or sound bowls; however, if these objects embody the intention of your actions and deepen your focus then go for it.
Where do you journal or read? What’s the vibe of the bathroom while you bathe or complete your skincare routine? It probably doesn’t feel as meaningful journaling on the train while you commute to work or similarly completing your skincare routine while your partner is showering. Employing changes in your location and atmosphere can make you become more mindful and focused on the intention of the ritual. You could try journaling in a quiet coffee shop, a cozy corner of your home or lighting candles, incense and playing calming music while bathing.
I’m an early riser and naturally wake between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. without an alarm. I schedule my morning workouts this early because I’m awake and if I don’t immediately do something, I tend to fall into a morning lag. These workouts quickly became a way for me to clear my mind in the morning and enjoy my thoughts and the silence before my kids and husband awoke. You may choose to schedule your baths later in the evening, early in the morning or possibly even schedule them around the moon cycles but choosing the time of day or month can quickly elevate your routine.
Finding Your Flow
Being flexible while going from routine to ritual is key to finding your flow. Try not to push anything too hard if it is causing stress or anxiety. Your rituals shouldn’t disrupt your life but flow within it. You may find that playing around with the above-mentioned elements will help you find out what fits best in your life at this time. Your rituals don’t have to be steadfast and can adapt as you or your life circumstances change. What’s important is that they maintain connection, intention and purpose in your life.