A ritual is a ceremony or action performed in a customary way. … We also call the ceremony itself a ritual. Although it comes from religious ceremonies, ritual can also be used for any time-honored tradition, like the Superbowl, or Mardi Gras, or Sunday morning pancake breakfast.
What is the difference between a routine and a ritual?
For me a routine are those daily habits that we perform unconsciously, the things we are programmed like robots to do: we shower, we brush our teeth, we dress, we brush our hair, we eat breakfast, we put our shoes on, we travel to work. We do these things on auto-pilot, we hit each repeat each day.
By contrast a ritual involves the things we do to nourish our soul. The things we choose to do: meditation, mindfulness, yoga, journalling, massages, baths and gratitude logs. We do these things mindfully, we do these things consciously.
Before-Covid my rituals were my monthly self-care activities like going for an acupuncture session, for a massage, for a spa day, for a hair cut. A mid-week G&T and a bath if I had a bad day. Most of these rituals have a price tag.
Mid-Covid my rituals are my daily self-care practices. My morning starts early each day with a glass of water, a coffee and sitting contemplating the theme of the day. I open all of the doors and the windows and let the outside in. I love the fresh air and the sound of nature filling my lounge. My brain wakes up as I tap on my key board and reflect.
I make my own lunch, fresh each day – I have cooked more in the last 4 weeks than I have in the last 4 years. After lunch I lie on my Shakti mat and feel my spine align. At the end of each day in the home office I go for a walk in the sunshine.
Each night I speak to one of my peer support circles and connect with phenomenal women. We talk about life, how we are feeling, how we are coping, what we are exploring.
I go to bed religiously at 10pm each night, normally after a G&T, sometimes after a bath.
Weekly I go to the local farm shop and fill my fridge up with vibrant colours. I go to the Post Office and post the cards I have written to loved ones that week.
Each Saturday I clean my house (when I was promoted to AHT 10 years ago I started paying for a weekly cleaner) and there is something quite satisfying in that.
On the weekends I read, I garden and I listen too music. I light candles and I sit and think. I pass time idly away. I potter.
My days and my weeks have found a new rhythm. I feel calm. I enjoy the stillness and the quietness. In some ways it feels like we are on a spiritual or a meditative retreat, but this one is free.
Post-Covid, I am hopeful that these new habits and intentional rituals will be embedded and will remain to punctuate my day, replacing the exclamation marks of before with the ellipses of today.