“You would think weightlessness is a good thing, but it’s not. Because people weren’t meant to float. Without gravity, we lose blood volume, bone density, muscle. Without it, we’re untethered. So when you feel yourself being pulled toward something, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. It may keep you centered. It may keep you safe.” —Grey’s Anatomy, season 16, episode #17, Shonda Rhimes
Thoughts, thoughts, all sorts of thoughts. With an abundance of time on our hands as we stay home, if we have not exercised our brains in this way, it may feel uncomfortable, and in these times we find ourselves collectively, understandably unsettling.
The above quote caught my attention this past week as it feels our attentions are being being pulled toward the necessities of life, what we sincerely need to simply live. Don’t get me wrong, the past eleven years, economically, have been much needed and appreciated, and while each of our journey’s is unique, perhaps we’ve forgotten what we truly need, what others truly need, to live well. At the moment, we are all being pulled to our homes, to our sanctuaries, to our immediate families with whom we reside with but perhaps never see often because of our busy schedules. Admittedly, some of our loved ones may be far away due to age, relationships, work, etc., but we at least have the phone, video chat and other technological ways of communicating.
Becoming grounded in what roots us, is what reminds us of what truly is a priority in our life, helps us to make better decisions to remain true to those values when the choices are vast. And sometimes when the choices are so vast and so ubiquitous for such a long time, we would only be being human to lose sight of our roots. I am not suggesting that we need to have a pandemic to root us, but that is where we find ourselves, so I am determined to see some good in this perilous situation.
There will be good that will come out of it when we come out of it on the other side, but as well, there is good we can partake in during this time of staying home.
Today, while I had originally planned a different topic for the episode to be shared, I have decided to focus on something that will hopefully be helpful to direct our attention to, to elevate the time we have indoors, wanted or unwanted. The gift and mood lifting power of daily and weekly rituals.
Under the umbrella of daily and weekly rituals lies our daily and weekly routines. Consciously creating routines in which we know boost the quality of our lives from our health, to our rest and rejuvenation to our productivity are ways to rest more easily which benefits our mind and well-being and decreases our stress. Each of these efforts strengths our immune system and ultimately strengthens our overall health, both physically and mentally.
Today I would like to share with you rituals you can incorporate into your daily and weekly routine even while you stay home.
1.Wake up well
Design a morning routine in which regardless of whether you are heading out the door (when our routines get back to normal) or staying home, you want to get out of bed and partake in. In episode #243 I share 12 Ways to Make Your Mornings Magical, Mindful and the Foundation of a Great Day.
2. Create a daily routine you love
As I shared with my students what would be expected of them while we stepped into our extended break (Oregon has announced they will be closing all schools through the entire month of March.), one student immediately decided she would find a favorite place she enjoyed being, give herself this window during her day to complete her schoolwork and then be done. I was so tickled to hear such thoughtful and conscientious attention to both her academics, but also her well-being by compartmentalizing and stepping away from work so she could relax and just be.
All of us, whether at home, and especially now that we are home, would benefit from creating a schedule in our day for productivity, but also meals, rest and exercise. Knowing we have accomplished something will let us rest more easily and make it easier to sleep at night. As well, we will be giving our bodies and mind a healthy balance to remain strong.
3. An afternoon brain break
Whether you enjoy an afternoon tea or an afternoon nap or an afternoon outside exercising, create a ritual that will be something you look forward to as you make your way through your day. If you are like me, and live alone, this may be a good time to call loved ones to check in. If you live with others, it may be a great time to be together if you are busy doing your own thing throughout the day. Either way, make a point of intentionally not doing work, but rather something relaxing and enjoyable. Something that elevates the everyday even more so that each day you look forward to such moments.
4. Welcome the flowers
I shared on Instagram yesterday (see below) how one of the items on my grocery list this weekend (I went early and wore gloves as well as washed my hands before and after) was to welcome a few bouquets of flowers into my home. Recent researched has shared that having fresh flowers can “lower blood pressure and heart rate, lower ratings of pain, anxiety, and fatigue, and more positive feelings and higher satisfaction [about one’s home]”. So while, we need to stay home as much as possible, if possible keeping in my sanitation requirements, welcome some flowers into your home and perhaps bring a bouquet for your neighbor and leave them on their doorstep with a note. You may help their health more than you realize.
5. What to listen to? What brings you joy.
Create a listening ritual that carries you through your day. From the classical music I wake up to on WRTI with host Gregg Whiteside and Breakfast with Bach at 5am to the jazz in the evenings from my Spotify playlist, as well as podcasts about food and France enjoyed while I walk the dogs along the river, around the neighborhood or through the trees, what we turn on melodically has a tremendously powerful effect over our well-being. Choose what you love and let it elevate your days.
Music I listen to:
- WRTI – classical and jazz
- KUSC – classical
- TSLL playlists
- Escape to France . . .
- Luxurious Classical Music (more than 10 hours of music)
- Everyday Jazz
- French Cafe Jazz (no lyrics)
- Jazzy Dinner playlist (Spotify)
Podcasts I have been loving recently:
- The Land of Desire (French history and culture)
- MilkStreet Radio
- Inside Julia’s Kitchen
- The Splendid Table
6. Fitness Habits That Energize
The key to sustainable exercise routines is to keep them seemingly small, yet consistent and intentional. As I shared in the first episode of 2020 on the podcast, #272, 8 Ways Tiny Habits Will Welcome the Great Changes You Seek, tiny habits have a powerful way of instituting the change we desire. Why? Because they are more likely to stick, and truly become habituated into our daily routine.
From waking up and doing one set of sit-ups (by the end of the week you will have done five sets!), to meditating for one minute each morning, to sipping a glass of water upon waking up in the morning, when you choose thoughtfully the habits you want in your life, reduce them down to seemingly so small, there is no reason not do the task, and before you know it, as you see the positive change, you won’t want to reduce your effort and may even want to increase it.
So as we find ourselves with more time at home and being unlikely to attend our favorite fitness class or gym, find exercise habits at home that will fulfill the exercise routine you need, but in a way that you enjoy. I am shifting my weekly yoga classes to a YouTube yoga instructor for the time being (but I cannot wait to return to the yoga studio), and my walks will be where I can keep my social distance at a healthy length from others, for their sake as well as mine.
7. Create an evening ritual for winding down before going to bed
Something I look forward to every day, weekday or weekend, is my evening routine. After the work on the blog has been completed, after dinner has been made and savored, it is this hour or two before I drift off to sleep that is priceless. My dogs as well have become accustomed to our routine and even though they do not know the time of day we humans live by, they know when bedtime is near.
From calming down the house, dishes washed, kitchen cleaned, work put away, to lighting a candle in the living room, turning on a pre-taped show or picking up a book or magazine I want to slip away to for a while, these simple activities tell my mind it is safe to rest, to relax, to be done for the day. All the while sipping some tea and nibbling on a piece of chocolate truffle, the ultimate signal to my body and brain that the day is done.
8. Be Conscientious About Your Daily News Intake
Going along with #5, what media we choose to be part of our daily routines has a profound effect on our mental health. I shared and encouraged my students to limit their news intake as it can easily overwhelm us. I did not suggest sticking their head in the sand and ignoring the news, but rather choose one or two times a day in which you check in with a credible news source, and then go about your day.
9. Work space set-up
Cultivate a welcoming work space whether it is temporary or where you work on a normal workday. Provide a clean work desk (check out this post – 10 Ways to Make Your Desk Space Efficient and Inspiring), welcome the natural light, reduce unhelpful distractions and decorate or rearrange in such a way to beckon you to work well.
10. Befriend water
Choose to bring and drink water with you throughout the day. Staying hydrated has oodles of benefits, but on the immunity side of things, it will help rid your body of toxins. Even if I am enjoying my regular cup of tea in the morning, afternoon or evening, I regularly will have a glass of water as well or have my Hydroflask full of water if I am out walking (it is in my car for when I return). Cultivating this habit will satiate your appetite, refresh your body and elevate many arenas of your life that we take for granted.
11. Turn your ideas into gold
Yes, William Shakespeare may have written King Lear during his quarantine tenure in the 16th century, and while we may not produce such masterpieces, we can use this time let our creative ideas run free so that we have time to see what they want to reveal. Keep a notebook or small journal handy and write down what pops into your mind. You may be able to tend to the idea now or it may be an idea you can implement later, but either way, it will be a positive exercise to focus on positive, hopeful, inspired things. Our mind is a muscle, and it finds the tracks we repeat again and again. So practice thinking in such a way that lifts you up, gets you excited and who knows where your creative thoughts will take you.
As for me, I am planning TSLL’s upcoming British Week (the third full week in May), pulling together April 1st’s TSLL’s Spring Shopping Guide and whatever else wishes to reveal itself to me. 🙂 Excited to see what I will discover. Have fun!
12. Incorporate regular self-care and model it for others in your life
That hot bath you used to take infrequently, but love and look forward to deeply . . . take it regularly, every week, every other day, but make it a ritual you look forward as well as savor when you slip into the hot bubble bath of comfort. Last year, I shared 31 Ways to Practice Self-Care, episode #242, and as I shared in this episode, while the bubble baths and other pleasures are certainly part of this regular self-care routine, self-care needs to go deeper. When self-care goes deeper, it has even more powerful and long-lasting positive effects on our life. Be sure to check out the show notes and/or episode for much more information on this topic.
The current situation in which we find ourselves is unprecedented in our times, but it has the potential to reveal a tremendous amount about our strengths, compassion and ability to rise in ways we may not have known we were capable. I am confident that while the unknown has the potential to paralyze, it can also teach us an abundance about ourselves, those around us, the world and then reveal to us what we should truly be focused on for a better world moving forward.
SIMILAR POSTS/EPISODES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
34 Inspiring Daily Rituals to Ignite Your Creativity, episode #255
~Begin to cultivate a candle cupboard/closet.
I first learned of this idea from Queer Eye’s Tan France when during his tour of his home for Architectural Digest he opened up a small closet (I would call it a cupboard) and shared his stocked candles. Now, mind you, my current Candle Cupboard has two candles in it waiting to be enjoyed, but as I come across candles that I love, if they are on sale, I purchase one or two more than I normally would. I don’t expect my Candle Cupboard to ever be as full as Tan’s, but I love this idea as a Petit Plaisir.
My Candle Cupboard is only barely stocked, but I love this idea and will continue to add to it as my budget and sales and treasures are found. Thank you Tan for sharing this wonderful idea!
23 thoughts on “280: The Importance of Daily and Weekly Rituals & Routines You Love (12 Ideas to Incorporate Now)”
Loved this whole post so much, Shannon! And I already have a candle cupboard! I rotate different candles in and out seasonally since I mostly display unburned ones; for example, long, white tapers during the winter.
My favorite part of your post is the second paragraph of point 12. Your faith in humanity is encouraging and inspiring!
Tabitha, thank you for stopping by, sharing how you use your candle cupboard and your kind comment. ??
Lovely post today filled with actionable ideas – it helped me rethink my schedule!
Quick question if you don’t mind sharing – do you have a sense when (or if) you’ll self-isolate, as they say? We’ve thankfully been preparing since January but thus far have been trying to limit social contact, not necessarily self-isolating completely . Hard to know how extensively to minimize contact – I’ve put off getting a haircut, for example.
Appreciate any other of your readers feedback as well!
Stay healthy and safe!
Amy, Are you in Washington state? Directions from the state and city are changing each day. We are to stay home if we feel sick in any way, limit our groups to 50 or fewer and practice social distancing. Stay safe and know we will get through this as we look out for each other by staying home. Thank you for your comment and for stopping by. 🙂
I highly recommend NM yoga. You can watch on YouTube, plus you can purchase the episodes on their website. They had put out four different seasons.
Thank you for the recommendation Michelle. 🙂
Such great ideas and “stuff” to read, dwell, embrace!
Thank you for stopping by Diana. 🙂 Be well. xo
Love your insights , ritual recommendations and calming voice. You continue to inspire and are my go to guide. Sending peace and gratitude
Thank you for stopping by Gretchen. And for your kind words as well. Wishing you and your family good health and calm. xo
Bonjour Shannon thank you for another wonderful podcast. I already have a candle drawer! When I find them on sale I buy them and put them in there. Some of my favorite are plain unscented tea lights so that I can burn them at the table and I leave them burning with prayers overnight. And you’re right we are all in this together. Merci blessings Dallas
Thank you for tuning in Dallas. Yes, tea lights are wonderful candles to have stocked up. Thank you for this reminder. 🙂
Loved this. We need peaceful routines right now. Thank you.
Indeed.? Thank you for stopping by Jen. Stay well in both body and mind. xo
I love the info about the flowers! I will definitely be picking some up with my groceries tomorrow. What beautiful medicine.
Thank you for stopping by and tuning in Khrystine. 🙂
Thank you so much for all the wonderful ideas you give us each week. I so look forward to you every week. It is so calming just to read and then to blend the ideas into our own lives afterwards, a double whammy.
Happy to be able to offer something readers are drawn to and inspired to incorporate in their own unique way. Thank you for stopping by Freddie. ?
Thank you for a lovely reminder that is so important these days when we are challenged to organize our days in entirely new ways! My 10-year old daughter specifically asked me to play your podcast yesterday and said she “finds it interesting”. This is a compliment to take to heart, Shannon, from a hard-to-please age group!
When it comes to your morning ritual, I understand that you get up at 5 in the morning. Lately, I have been doing the same out of necessity and am surprised by what I can get done in the early hours and considering continuing this habit. Any tips on how you make ti work?
Thank you for sharing and express my gratitude to your daughter. I so enjoy my mornings, and even if I lay in bed a while so that I do not rush out of bed, the mornings are a very productive and enjoyable time. When my mornings are my own, I let them unfold naturally. I let myself enjoy my breakfast, sitting down, doing my puzzle, reading something interesting, and then meditate followed by a walk. Work will begin when my body and mind have been cared for and that makes for a wonderful day to follow.
Thank you for sharing, Shannon! A good morning is a good day. I hope this one starts well for you.
My pleasure. ? And thank you for the Well morning wishes.?
Anyone else love going through cookbooks and finding recipes? Any good French recipes I should scout out? I have a box of yoga mags I saved from my subscription and go back and look through them all. And I love coming to your page and listening to your podcasts! And discovering new ones to listen too!