Written by Eleni Cico | Thursday, 29 October 2020
Daily rituals sound a bit fancy, don’t they? But what is a ritual anyway?
For me, daily rituals are a selection of activities to perform daily with the intent of being mindful about the present moment and how said activity makes us feel.
Rituals are not routines. Routines can be monotonous daily tasks that are completed mostly by default and can often incorporate multi-tasking. Having daily rituals help to bring about a healthy mindset and enhance our overall wellbeing. Below are 10 rituals that are simple and easy to incorporate into your daily life.
Quite literally, upon waking in the morning, expose your skin to natural light. Even better, go outside for a few minutes. The sun will naturally boost your mood and energy as well as help to regulate your circadian rhythm or sleep/wake cycle, which is a great way to encourage healthy sleep habits.
Conscious, deep abdominal breathing has a multitude of health benefits. It helps to lower blood pressure and heart rate and helps to induce relaxation by decreasing the effects of the stress hormone cortisol. As little as 10 minutes of deep breathing a day has been shown to have a positive impact on health, in particular lowering anxiety.
Multi-taskers, you’ll love this one! Why not practice some deep breathing upon waking whilst out in the sunshine?
Nourish your body with some seasonal fruit with muesli and yogurt or wholesome oats with a drizzle of cinnamon and honey or an avocado and egg brekkie. Change it up daily if you can to diversify the bugs in your gut. Remember healthy gut = healthy mind! Try to eat in a quiet space, seated comfortably and notice how the food feels in your mouth and as it’s travelling through your body. Think about the smells, textures and taste. How do they make you feel?
Preferably out in nature, or even barefoot on grass or by the ocean on the sand. It doesn’t really matter, just get outside! Don’t underestimate the power of a good walk to clear your thoughts, breathe deeply and get your blood and lymph pumping. Ideally, at least 30 minutes a day, but even in chunks of 5-10 minutes of brisk walking can be beneficial.
Especially if you are feeling stressed or spend many hours a day seated. Stretching can help to reset the body and mind, improve posture and flexibility and stimulates a stagnant circulation to flow freely, oxygenating the muscles which might be feeling tight and achy.
Our body is approximately 75% water so keeping hydrated is essential for our skin, mind and body. Dehydration can lead to headaches, constipation, lethargy and dry skin, whilst prolonged dehydration can cause more serious health issues. Drinking water is by far the cheapest and most effective way to increase your fluid intake and adding fruit pieces and fresh herbs can make it much more appealing to the taste buds. Herbal teas can be especially beneficial and make for an enjoyable experience, warm or cold with the added benefits of the herbs. Keeping hydrated keeps your skin cells juicy and plump and contributes to a healthy skin barrier and a more youthful glow.
‘Eat your greens’ as your mum would have told you and I’m afraid green jelly beans just don’t cut the mustard. We could all do with more veggies in our diet but making a conscious effort to add something green to our plate at every meal (or even just one) is a great place to start. Green vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals, fibre and the all-important antioxidants such as quercetin, kaempferol and lutein, essential for the prevention of free radical damage, inflammation, pre-mature aging and disease.
Prolonged screen-time use has been linked to lowered psychological wellbeing and conditions such as anxiety and depression. However, the research is still unclear about how much screen time is too much. To be safe, let’s just say – make a conscious effort to limit your screen time wherever possible. Turning devices to ‘sleep-time mode’ after 8pm and avoid checking your email and messages until after breakfast are a good place to start. If the temptation is too great, maybe pop it in the drawer. After all, ‘out of sight out of mind’. Notice the subtle changes of having less screen-time in your life. It literally can be like a breath of fresh air.
A few minutes of journaling before bedtime is a great practice to implement to help you have a more restful sleep. It provides a safe space to log thoughts without fearing judgement and can be a great tool for managing anxiety. Remember to write something nice about yourself that perhaps you wouldn’t tell yourself. Because YOU ARE awesome!
End the day by creating a ritual that supports your circadian cycle. Take a bath or have a shower while bringing your attention to the breath. Put your pyjamas on and snuggle up next to your fur baby (if you have one!) and enjoy a chamomile tea (perhaps reflecting on your day) in a quiet and dimly lit space. Spend at least 30 minutes ‘winding down’ before going to sleep. Try to go to sleep at the same time each night and rise at the same time each morning.
Rituals are not tasks or a checklist to put a tick beside. They are about finding fulfilment in the little things in life and to encourage a growth mindset. You can start incorporating them gently or even find moments in your day to create your very own.
Eleni is qualified Holistic Skin Therapist and Educator with almost 20 years experience in the spa industry. She is currently completing a Bachelor of Health Science in Naturopathy at Endeavour and is passionate about educating women about the importance of self-care and the links between the gut, brain and skin. She has special interests in autoimmune disease and is currently practising at a wellness clinic in Moonee Ponds, Melbourne.