evening routine

Morning and Evening Rituals

A morning and evening RITUAL is the perfect way to bookend your day with intention, motivation and self-care!

 

How many of you wake up to an alarm, feeling oh so tired and wishing you had more time in bed?  My guess is that many of you out there in cyber land are nodding your head to this question.  The first thing in your mind as you awaken maybe thoughts of scarcity or not enough: not enough sleep, not enough time in the day etc.  I know this because this was the way I started my day for years and years, even prior to having kids.  I felt like I woke up and was already on someone else’s agenda, until I discovered the art of a morning and evening ritual. 

A morning ritual is a way that you can feel empowered and enlivened when you awake, as you know that first and foremost in your day you are going to be serving yourself in the way that YOU have decided.  Instead of jumping out of bed and making breakfast for others, checking your email, surfing the internet etc.  what if you created a ritual that would allow you to connect with yourself and your needs.  The best thing is that YOU get to design this for yourself.  Okay now I am well versed in the art of sabotage and "yes but" thoughts of the mind and I have a feeling that some of your brains are beginning to start this tape now.  Yes but...I have to get kids ready for school, yes but... I have an early morning meeting, yes but... I just don’t have time in the morning, yes but..I am not a morning person etc.   These yes buts are great ways of keeping us living small and not feeling abundant in our time and space for ourselves.  What if I told you that you can still do all the things you need to do in the morning and FIRST you will do those things you need for you and that quite possibly this may create space, energy and make the rest of your day go smoother!

  A morning routine can be short and sweet or long and elaborate.   I suggest that you create some connection in the following categories: mind, body and spirit. Personally my mornings are busy times with 4 kiddos and all the different places and needs they have.  That is my current season of life AND I still make this a priority.  My morning routine at this season in my life is vitally important to preventing burn out and right now it is a short and sweet.  I lock myself in the bathroom to read my seasonal goals in a loud and bombastic way, write my morning pages, love on my skin as I put my yummy filled lotion on my face (man I can’t tell you how loved I feel when I put it on in an intentional loving way, seriously), and I say my morning prayer.  That’s it!  At some point in my life I would love to expand and include exercise in this part of my day but for now it’s best found elsewhere in the day. 

In the evening I create the same space for myself.  I used to end my day by dragging myself to bed and crashing.  Now I have created a space where I turn off all work, books etc. 30 minutes prior to bedtime.  I go into my bathroom and go over my day as I celebrate how I showed up that day, I write in my gratitude journal and give myself some love in the mirror by saying I love you.  Whoa was that one scary when I first started doing it!  Seriously, I think I laughed my way through for the first few months, and couldn’t even look myself in the eye. 

Confession time here...over the years of doing this ritual I have fallen off the wagon many times, especially during times when I really needed to do this.  My M.O when I mess up used to be to fall into the trap of thinking that it just wasn’t working for me and sometimes even to beat myself up and think of myself as a failure rather than a bump in the road.  Now a days I still have times when I realize that its been a few days and gulp sometimes weeks, since I woke up and made myself a priority and what I do now is get back on it!  It is a journey my friends!  We are all on this together.  Rituals are amazing ways to set yourself up for greater success on this journey and so is being gentle with yourself. 

Journey on!

Connecting through Rituals

What does it actually MEAN to create and live our everyday lives embracing and creating rituals?  Being intentional and creating rituals helps provide that thing that so many of us are lacking….connection!  Connection to ourselves, to others, to our surroundings and our Earth.  New research is being done around our health and what causes illness.  Studies are showing that what causes disharmony inside may have as much to do to with a lack of connection and loneliness as the food we eat and whether or not we exercise.  Connection is something that we all think we have at the end of our fingertips with our ability to use ever fast pace “connecting” technology, yet people increasingly report feeling more and more disconnected and lonely.  There is more anxiety, more fear, and more loneliness.  Engaging in rituals is a way to slow down, to be mindful about what we want to create, how we want to connect and then actually putting that into ACTION

Copyright: <a href='http://www.123rf.com/profile_tuanjai'>tuanjai / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Rituals by definition are repetitive, behaviors that involve gestures, words, and objects and are most often performed in a sequence.  Rituals are one of the major practices that we share as a human race throughout time and history.  Rituals have been connecting people to each other, our natural world and ourselves for centuries; they bind us together. Rituals may be done individually as a family or as a larger community.  The hymns sung in Christianity, the meditative breath work in Buddhism, the chanting in Islam all illicit the same response in our brain.  We are all activating parts of our brain that intimacy, connection and spiritual growth spring from.

There is a reason why we are all naturally drawn to rituals around major changes in our lives.  Science has shown that engaging in rituals big and small help create a sense of peace and calmness in situations, especially those that are typically anxiety producing.  People who engage in rituals prior to going for a job interview report more success getting the job as their anxiety levels decreased.  On a biochemical level researchers and neurobiologists have found that rituals actually connect our brain to our memories, specifically our long-term memories.  Creating rituals help us order and connect with our experiences, especially those experiences that are life changing like birth and death.  Studies have shown that those people who process grief through a ritualistic behavior report less depression and greater peace than those that don’t.   Rituals help us create meaning and order in our lives.  On a personal level we use rituals all the time without much thought.   Morning and evening routines help us bookend our days. Children love their bedtime rituals to help them feel safe and secure at the end of their day. 

   We are hard wired to engage in rituals.  So why have we as a society gotten away from or reframed the rituals to have little to do with connection and meaning and more to do with accumulation and stuff?  How can we, YOU return to connection in your own personal life in the form of an intentional ritual?  What can you create for your family to connect through RITUAL?