While I bask in the glory of my favorite season, I’m keenly aware that we are facing a winter the likes of which we haven’t experienced before. Accordingly, I’ve started thinking about ways to keep myself joyful in the months to come. One thing that’s become clear to me is how rituals, even the simplest ones, can boost morale. So I’d like to share the five simple rituals bringing me joy this season.
First of all, what is it about rituals? This article discusses the science behind why rituals work in a whole host of human experiences. I have found that doing something in a predictable way, with intentionality, brings a sense of calm and control to my world. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just something simple to look forward to. And I’ve noticed that it really helps bring happiness to my four-year-old son as well.
In coming up with this list, I wanted to focus on things that are easy to do, not time-consuming, and accessible to just about everyone.
Rhythms and Rituals for the Season
- *LAZY* self-check-in and gratitude practice. While it would be nice if we all had tons of time to meditate every day, I certainly don’t. Between my two kids (one of whom is still nursing and seems to cling to me at all hours of day and night), 3-5 minutes before bed is all I can reliably count on. So I start there. Every night, I put away my phone, do some square breathing, and quickly take account of my day. I personally like to think about what went well that day, but you can think about whatever you want, so long as you are intentional about it. Once I’ve done that, I take out my phone and open a running document where I list bullet points of what I’m grateful for. It helps remind me of everything that’s going right in the world whenever I need a boost. It doesn’t have to take more than 20 seconds, but it adds a lot of value.
- Once-weekly treat days. My preschooler can reliably count on me for a sweet treat every Friday. It’s not even something that I necessarily bake with him, although that can be part of the fun sometimes. It might be as simple as giving him a piece of leftover Halloween candy. But it’s just a little tradition that we’ve started that he looks forward to every week, and it really does seem to brighten his day.
- Family game night or movie night. The last several months we have been at home, Friday family game/movie nights have brought us a lot of joy. Again, it’s something my kiddo can reliably count on and get excited about. It doesn’t even have to take more than an hour, but it helps us destress and start creating traditions that the littles can identify with and look forward to as they get older. I can’t wait until my baby is old enough to participate!
- Once weekly self-care night. Just like most other moms right now, I don’t get much time to myself. But one night a week (usually Saturday nights), I like to take a long shower after the kids have gone to sleep and settle into a good book or a movie on the couch with my husband. While it may be interrupted by the demands of the baby, the fact that I even attempt to do something just for me makes me feel energized at relaxed all at once. No matter what I choose to do for self-care that evening, it is definitely not attacking one of the million items on my to-do list. Enjoyment only!
- Weekend morning coffee ritual. During the week, I take my coffee however, and wherever, I can get it. Leftover cold coffee from yesterday? Fine. Starbucks drive-through on the way home from carpool drop off? OK. But on the weekends, I like to set aside five minutes to brew my favorite coffee and drink it out of my favorite mug. It seems so simple and so easy to take for granted, but it is something I truly look forward to.
What simple rituals are you incorporating into your life? I would love to hear from you!