372: Simple Rituals to Enhance the Everyday and the 5 Characteristics of Simply Luxurious Rituals
Wednesday January 3, 2024

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As 2024 began waking up to its first day on the calendar, a most treasured ritual ensued for me along with Norman and Nelle.

Something I have been doing for as long as I can remember once I began living on my own with pups as my companions has been to go for a good stretch of the legs and greet not only the new day but the new year. And with each person we pass, the annual exchange of Happy New Year instead of the regular good morning is shared.

The exchange of goodwill with passersby and their dogs if they too have a pup in their household, seeing the new year on its very first day, and as it is morning and a holiday morning at that, often there is a magical hush and tranquil calm found wherever we may wander as fewer, if any, cars are about and many people rang the new year the second it arrived while others like myself were sound asleep, tucking in a couple hours before eagerly anticipating the first outdoor excursion of the new year.

We explore the topic of rituals frequently here on TSLL (explore all of the posts and episodes shared thus far here), and initially it may seem redundant to do so again in today’s episode/post, but as I have experienced in my own life, my appreciation for the benefits and happiness deepens and therefore I understand even more fully the power of carefully choosing rituals to tailor to the lifestyle we love living.

It is in the tailoring that our daily lives and future outcomes we hope will materialize have the opportunity to enrich our experience and bear the fruit we have envisioned. As the saying goes, when we know better what will nourish us well, we then can do better, and such is the case with carefully chosen and savored rituals.

First, let’s look at the five characteristics of rituals before we take a look at examples you may want to add or adapt to suit your everyday life.

1.They must be porous by design

One of the most important aspects of rituals to understand is that they are porous.

What I mean by porous is that we create and engage in rituals that breathe life into our days. We must not mistaken porous for pliant as we don’t necessarily want our rituals to be flexible as it is the structure of what we do that creates the ability to breathe freely, and if we, for example, enjoy a particular varietal of tea in the morning, to be flexible would mean we would drink any variety, and that just isn’t going to set the day off well (at least for me). Rather, it is in the savoring of the tea variety (perhaps that particular varietal invokes a particular memory that deepens the rituals even further) that I love that puts my mind at ease so that I can relax, hold it open and entertain the first ideas of the day that dance about parading in front of me to see if I am interested enough to explore further.

2. Simple in structure

Another aspect of rituals that will enhance our everydays is that they need to be simple in structure.

In other words, our chosen rituals, if they become so complex, even excessively expensive or time monsters, they can prohibit opportunities from being witnessed because we are too consumed with creating and making the ritual possible that everyday life is not lived, let alone enjoyed.

Ironically, to use the word ritual may not be the best semantic choice as those who have studied rituals throughout history define the characteristics of rituals as quite rigid and rule governed, a means to ensure adherence for the sake of preservation, but in the case of rituals as they pertain to living simply luxuriously, you, and you alone are the governing body, and you can tweak, change, and refrain or eliminate rituals as you find them to best suit living a life that brings you true contentment. And in fact you must.

Rituals as explored here on TSLL are dynamic in nature and must be dynamic because we as human beings, who embrace curiosity and growth, are constantly learning more about ourselves and the world, and then applying that knowledge. Our rituals then too must evolve with us.

So whether you wish to call these chosen activities you regularly engage in each day at a certain time of day or each week, month, season or year rituals or would prefer a different term all together, perhaps routine, les habitudes to welcome a bit of the French language into your everyday, I would like to share with you some that will enhance your everyday ensuring you are preserving and even creating more energy so that you can continue to make the progress you desire toward the outcomes you wish to materialize as was explored in Monday’s Motivational post on How to Live Simply and Fully.

3. Choose rituals that reduce or eliminate distraction

One of the fundamental purposes of a ritual when it comes to living simply luxuriously is to free your mind. The habituation of the ritual, first being something you enjoy so you will begin to relax, but also enabling you to not think about what you are doing, but trusting it is a beneficial practice to partake in, frees your mind to be open in whatever way you need it to be so.

For example, I have been waking up to classical music for the past six years now, but over the past year I attempted to play my music on a bluetooth enabled radio so that I could leave my tech devices that play the music from the app out of my bedroom. For the longest time, the connection would keep cutting out and I would have to get out of bed, go to where my kept my tablet or phone outside of the bedroom and restart the app. Finally, *palm slapping forehead* I realized I needed to move the radio to be in better proximity to my phone (i.e. no walls in between). Voila! Problem solved and now I am enjoying my beloved ritual without the distraction of having to get out of bed repeatedly to keep it going.

Something so simple and obvious can immediately change the quality of the benefits the rituals is intended to bring into our lives – relaxation, enjoyment without annoyance and an open mind.

4. Ensure that the rituals are nourishing both in the short and long-term.

It’s one thing to have a routine that works and is easy for you to follow and you don’t have to think about it; it’s another when that routine is grounded in the knowledge that it is nourishing, whether literally due to the food you regular eat or drink you select, or mentally/cognitively because it strengthens your self-esteem and/or deepens your desired skill-set.

In other words, do the habits and thus rituals nourish you both in the short-term and long-term? Once you answer objectively, either keep or adjust what you do so that you can emphatically say yes and keep on savoring what you have thoughtfully welcomed into your daily life.

5. Do you look forward to partaking in the ritual?

Sometimes we begin by choosing a ritual because we know it’s good for us, but we don’t necessarily entirely enjoy it. So what is the trick then to ensure we stick to it? Pair it with something you do enjoy.

For example, when I began meditating each morning, while not a difficult ritual to do, it was new, I knew it would take time to actually witness positive changes in my life consciously, even though immediately benefits would arise, so I consciously chose to view this as an opportunity to sit quietly with my dogs without distraction. The pairing of the ritual that I knew was a worthwhile one to welcome into my life with something I dearly loved and savored has now created a ritual that is mediation that I dearly love all on its own.

The key is awareness and being honest with ourselves. Providing enticement need not be seen as cheating because it isn’t. It is motivation to care for ourselves well.

Now to examples of rituals that contain each of the five characteristics:

  • Set the stage for a good day to begin

I began this ritual last year when I realized how wonderful it felt to step into the kitchen in the morning and have everything ready to go and all I had to do was turn on the stovetop to boil the water for tea.

After many years of burning the candle at both ends while teaching and blogging, there were many mornings during the school week when I would have been too tired to entirely clean up the kitchen, so I would leave it until the morning. However, when I woke up, there was nothing I wanted to less than tidy up before I could enjoy my breakfast, the latter a ritual I loved! But I would do it, tidy the kitchen that is because I wanted to enjoy the start of the day with a picked up space to relax my mind.

All of that no doubt seems obvious to beginning the day well, but sometimes the evening before finds us exhausted; however, to set the stage for a day that we can give all of our energy to new activities rather than catching up from the day before, we are off and running far better and our mind less burdened by unnecessary tasks.

If you live with others, this could indeed be a shared task. As Nelle tried to help me by licking the dishes in the dishwasher, these are all my tasks, but again, also why I create systems of simplicity to make them enjoyable and easy to remember to do prior to going to bed.

Exactly what am I doing? Beyond tidying up the kitchen, living room, etc., it involves putting water in the kettle so all that I have to do in the morning is turn on the stovetop as I mentioned above. As well, I set out my dishes and silverware for my breakfast, a meal that has not changed in over 15 years! And the finishing detail that signals to my mind the day will begin well tomorrow is to put my go-to teacup and saucer next to the stovetop ready to be filled for a cuppa hot lemon water.

Whatever rituals you enjoy in the morning to begin your day, why not have them set up for you step right into so that no forethought is needed and I have a feeling not only will it bring a smile when you step out of bed, but set a very nice tone that will influence the rest of your day.

  • Welcome at least one living plant or fresh flower bouquet into your sanctuary at all times

The 2006 study at Harvard conducted by Nancy Etcoff found that the conscious inclusion of beauty into our daily lives improves our mood and our compassion toward others. Yet another energy booster and a simple way at a small expense to our budget to enhance our everydays for a myriad of positive outcomes in our daily lives.

  • Design afternoon rituals to look forward to as dividers of the day

Rituals helps enhance the quality of our lives by demarcating our days when we forget to do so or need support in establishing healthy boundaries. Whether with taking a break from work, reminding ourselves to eat well without rushing, taking time to be socially engaged for no other reason than because we enjoy the people we connect with, or caring for our health and mind well, the afternoon rituals are essential to enhancing the quality of our lives.

In 2020 I wrote a list of 18 afternoon ritual ideas, each ones I enjoy or have enjoyed in my own life. Similar to piggy-backing two things together when one is more difficult to habitualize but we know it is a worthwhile practice, adhering to savoring afternoon rituals reminds us that a life with boundaries reflects a life lived well and respects the person who is living it, us, even if that means saying ‘no’ or pausing until tomorrow, something that needs to be done and will be, but with our inclusion of the afternoon ritual will ensure we bring our best and most nourished selves back to the work table.

  • Create evening rituals to ensure a good night of sleep

In episode #305 I shared 36 Bedtime Daily Rituals to ensure a restful slumber, and the primary reason to invest in exploring what these rituals will be for you is to gain the powerful benefits of a good night’s sleep. Affecting our entire way of life and being, when we wake up after having enjoyed the amount of sleep our mind and body need without interruption, being able to sleep deeply and without interruption, the benefits are experienced in nearly, if not all, aspects of the day we step into – our perspective, our energy levels, how we engage with others, our health, our skin, the list goes on and on.

  • Choose rituals you only partake in during the weekend, but every weekend

These rituals are special, to the outside world unnecessary and maybe a bit luxurious, but they are rituals that keep you on track during the week and motivate you to stick to what you need to do even if sometimes you don’t want to especially if your energy is lower than you would like due to circumstances beyond your control.

From permitting myself to enjoy a croissant every Sunday morning with my breakfast (now they are homemade as many TSLL readers know – here’s the recipe shared most recently in season 6 of The Simply Luxurious Kitchen cooking show), going on a walk on a special trail only on the weekends as it is longer or farther away from home, to spending all day in the garden on Saturdays after a work week that only allows moments to step outside and potter, to visiting a favorite local bookstore and picking up that newly released book you have been looking forward to reading, when we create anticipation, we heighten motivation but also deepen the savoring that takes place when we finally the weekend arrives and we now can enjoy what we have been looking forward to all week.

  • Regular shopping for groceries rituals

Now as someone who loves to cook, loves food, loves to learn more about how to make certain dishes, etc, etc, the rituals I have created around food shopping are welcomed and savored. However, that may not be the case for you for a variety of reasons, so I will direct your attention to a post I wrote in 2019 – 10 Ways to Enjoy Grocery Shopping (see below). Once you find the pleasure of grocery shopping, now it’s time to create rituals that you deeply savor and look forward to.

However often you would like to or can shop for groceries for your regular meals, choose a time of day when you are not rushed, when you can dress well, and let your mind and eyes explore all the while keeping your created shopping list at the forefront to guide you around the shops. Prior to heading out to your trusted grocers, carve out 30 minutes or an hour to sit down with your cookbooks and recipes to decide what your meals will be. I so enjoy doing this as I will go to my cookbook library in my kitchen, pull off a couple or three cookbooks that I want to either try recipes from or return to recipes I love, and let my eyes delight in the eye candy as I skim through the pages. Often this is in the afternoon, so in the summer I will pour myself either a hot cuppa or a chilled glass of water with cucumbers plopped in and sit on the garden porch and both unwind and discover delicious meals to come in the week that will be.

When our farmers’ markets open up in May, running through October, our weekly visit to them (as Norman and Nelle can accompany me) are a special ritual I savor. I carve out a couple hours, dress well, grab my favorite sun hat and market tote and head out. Sometimes I follow the market trip with lunch at a local restaurant nearby and I dine al fresco or on the terrace, so it is a special ritual that I look forward to but also fulfills a nourishing need that enhances the quality of the meals throughout the week ensuring I am eating well.

Whatever your rituals around grocery shopping, when we shift our mindset about them, we can make them quite special. Of course, there will be times when we might be rushed because life happens, but it is also in those moments that make us realize how when when are able to savor them as we initially designed them, they really can be quite enjoyable.

  • Financial Rituals

After reading Kate Northrup’s book Money: A Love Story, a book that inspired episode #354 – How to Find Your Financial Freedom, my Friday’s in the office have become my Financial Fridays, and I tend to no other tasks except those dealing with money – budgeting, purchasing, paying bills, taxes, etc.. Part of what makes this a ritual, something I look forward to is that it is not done only occasionally when I have to deal with a headache, but also, I refrain from discretionary or big purchases and money business until Friday which relieves the rest of the week to be given to what I love doing – creating, connecting with you, TSLL readers, and all of the aspects I love about TSLL and being my own by. As well, by dedicating Fridays, each Friday to Financial Fridays, it can be quite fun and celebratory as you see the business flourish due to decisions you made and your personal financial strength grow as you are adhering to the rules and small steps that are leading to the outcomes you seek. In other words, preventative choices rather than reactionary, emergency or unwanted situations that have been put off.

By solely tending to finances on Friday, I don’t get distracted or let a project bleed into the time I want to dedicate to my finances. I give all my attention to the tasks I have to do regarding finances and when I am done, I am done for the day and the week!

Whether you choose Friday or another day or tend to it a little bit each day, whatever works for you to make it a ritual you look forward to and find value that adds to the quality of your overall life, that is the ritual that is best for you. Initially, it may not be fun to create a financial rituals, but I have a feeling when you start taking back the control that feels out of your control, you will see your stress decrease and your confidence and peace of mind rise, and those in and of themselves are motivators to continue to welcome such a ritual into your life.

When we design our lives to include rituals that consciously were chosen to cultivate the life we desire and the person we are capable of becoming, gradually, yet eventually, we become and begin to live in such a way we had once dreamed about.

Rituals put our feet on the road that will lead where we wish to arrive and along the way these chosen rituals make the journey all the more wonderful to enjoy and deeply savor our everydays. For further, in-depth exploration and explanation of the benefits of daily rituals I encourage you to read this post that was written just over 10 years ago but still holds gems of wisdom to consider as you design and implement rituals for your own life.

Find inspiration from others who have found rituals that work for them to enhance the life they love living in this episode/post #25534 Inspiring Daily Rituals to Enhance Your Creativity

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Why We Garden: The Art, Science, Philosophy and Joy of Gardening by Claire Masset

Episode 331


6 thoughts on “372: Simple Rituals to Enhance the Everyday and the 5 Characteristics of Simply Luxurious Rituals

    1. Sally,

      Thank you so much and may your everydays be full of many moments to savor. With the intention to live in such a way, you are no doubt finding much each and everyday. ☺️ Thank you for stopping by. 💛

  1. Shannon thank you for reminding us that the daily rituals we create fill our days with moments of joy. An ordinary day becomes extraordinary. Few people realise the power of creating their own rituals. When performing rituals our brains are fully engaged.
    For me waking up to an uncluttered space both in my bedroom and kitchen is so energising.
    One tip I’d like to add for grocery shopping is never do it on an empty stomach. You’re less likely to impulse buy. Like you, I like to dress when I go out shopping . It turns a necessity into an enjoyable experience. We often have lunch at a local restsurant on market days. My nearest épicerie is 10 kms away so I can’t rush out to get that pint of milk. Kameela😊

    1. Kameela, I so agree, I must begin my day with especially a tidy kitchen and generally a tidy house. It really puts me into a bad snit and I think such rotten things about myself if I don’t twitch things into place by bedtime..or at least hide them until I can do a proper cleaning the next day😂. And yes to creating the weekly menu AND dressing for the weekly shopping. Pourquoi pas? xx~Rona

  2. Lovely podcast Shannon, and excellent pointers on the how and why of creating one’s own rituals. I love my personal rituals. Through the years they have helped not only define myself, but have always helped me ease into, or ignore, the unfamiliar spaces where one can find themselves. As I have learned and grown, so too have my rituals, informing, defining, and sometimes leading the way to helping discover ‘my better self.’ And of course the book, “Why We Garden’ is now on its way. So happy I didn’t make some nonsense promise about curtailing my book buying in the new year, because it would have already been busted to pieces and in the dustbin.😁xx~Rona

  3. I like your rituals, Shannon, and the way you go about them on your daily life. This was a lovely podcast! 🙂

    As you, I am a person with daily, weekly, monthly and annual rituals – and they are much missed when for some unforeseeable reason I cannot partake in them. They are essential to my overall balance and I experience them as moments of total engagement, hence, of freedom, like little pauses in the run of time (on my mind, of course…).

    At this point in my life, I have fine tuned quite a bit what is what is what brings what (to me). I find so interesting to learn about other person rituals and the larger context in which they occur.

    Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    As others here, I also dress up when I go shopping. Maybe it a TSLL thing… 😉

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