The balancing effects of rituals

breakfast yesterdayI tend to be a worrywart, and I’m naturally kind of high-strung. So keeping myself balanced throughout the work day can be a real challenge. One of the ways I’ve come up with to keep myself centered and take time to pause and reset is using rituals.

In the morning, I do a big, full-body stretch as soon as I get out of bed and think of three things I’m grateful for (in my life or in the day ahead). I feed the dogs, make myself a cup of coffee and a healthy breakfast, and then sit down with a good book to read while I’m eating. No news, no internet, no TV, just something fun to help me relax and start the day off on a positive note.

On my lunch break, I try to get outside whenever I can. I’ll take a walk if it’s nice out or nap in the car if I’m feeling drained. If it’s really awful out or it’s the dead of winter, I’ll go to the little waterfall/potted plants area in our lobby and read a book. I know, it sounds silly, but just being near nature…especially the soothing sound of water…helps me refocus and relax.

When the work day ends, I listen some of my favorite tunes on the drive home (Colbie Caillat and Ingrid Michaelson are my faves of the moment) and try to relax any stress that’s built up in my shoulders, my jaw, etc. When get home, I must immediately pet the puppies, hug The Hubby (not necessarily in that order), and change into comfy PJ pants so I instantly feel more relaxed.

They’re little things, but they help to signal changes in my day and times when I can let go of stress and refocus. And I definitely notice when I don’t do them. If I have a lunch meeting and miss my “outdoor” time, I can totally feel it. If I’m rushing in the morning and I have to eat my breakfast on the run, the whole day starts off on the wrong foot.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference…especially when those little things are reminders to yourself to just breathe and be happy.

What rituals do you have throughout the day?





photo credit: waterlilysage

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