Routines help us stay productive and ideally live our best, most fulfilling lives. A routine can be as simple as waking up, drinking a glass of water, brushing your teeth, and then washing your face. A routine can be as complex as mapping out your entire week or month in a structured and organized way.
So what’s the difference between a routine and a ritual?
Rituals bring a sense of greater importance, joy, and sacredness to the act that you perform. And rituals allow for our own creativity, personality, and passion to shine through.
A ritual is symbolic, it holds intention and meaning, it brings a deeper level of awareness to the act.
In short, routines are important but rituals are where routines go to find deeper meaning. So let’s bring some deeper meaning to one of the most important areas of our lives: our health and wellness!
As the founder of YogiApproved.com and YA Classes , an online yoga and fitness platform, I am a longtime wellness advocate and believe it should be our #1 priority in life. And with my demanding schedule, wellness rituals are how I stay healthy, focused, and fulfilled.
Before we dive in, the final thing to note about rituals is that they don’t have to be complicated, cost a lot of money, or take a lot of time. You can create your own rituals on your terms.
Let’s dive in!
Practice These 3 Rituals for a Healthier You:
- Morning Meditation
Give yourself the true gift of a mindful morning. What does a mindful morning entail? Start by hydrating. Sip a room temperature glass of filtered water. Bonus points for adding a squeeze of lemon.
Next, find a form of meditation that works for you. This can be setting a timer for 5 minutes to sit and focus on your breath or a mantra like “I am grounded,” “I am at peace” etc. It could be a guided meditation that you follow along with. Perhaps you prefer to simply breathe deeply for a few minutes.
In addition to yoga and fitness classes, YA Classes by YogiApproved also offers meditation and breathwork classes! We even plant a food-producing tree for every class you complete. Try it free for two weeks! https://www.yogiapproved.com/classes
Then, take a moment to find gratitude. It could be as simple as feeling thankful for a new day. It could be a gratitude journaling exercise where you write down 3-5 things, big or small, that you’re grateful for. You can even tie this into your above meditation practice and focus on something or someone you’re grateful for and allow that to be your intention.
Often what keeps people from starting a wellness practice like meditation is the misconception that it’s challenging, or ‘off limits’ if you’re unfamiliar with it or not ‘spiritual enough.’ But know that by simply making the effort and doing what you can on your own terms is enough.
- Midday Mindfulness
Carving out time – and it doesn’t have to be a lot – in the middle of our day to come back to the present moment and simply BE is a simple yet highly effective way to calm our minds, remove ourselves temporarily from the external world and chatter, and go inward. This is the practice of mindfulness !
This midday mindfulness ritual for a healthier you can be applied to many things. The best part is – we can turn any mundane task into a ritual.
Perhaps you try this with your lunch. How mindfully can you experience each bite? What ingredients can you smell? What other senses can you get involved while you eat? Treat yourself to a fully present lunch – a meal we so often mindlessly rush through.
Are you working from home and can’t stand those dirty dishes in your sink? Take an extra 15 minute lunch break and tackle those dishes, but with full presence and mindfulness. What does the dish soap smell like? Can you see any iridescent bubbles in the sink? How does the water feel on your hands?
Did the dish example not float your boat? Take that same 15 minutes to walk around your block slowly, focusing on your breath and only one step at a time in front of you. Come back inside and take a final moment to notice any shifts in your mindset, mood, or energy.
- End-of-Day Mapping
As your day is winding down, take a time out to jot a few things down. First, what was your biggest victory today? What was a highlighting moment out of your day? Any lessons learned or challenges faced? This can be a page or a one sentence answer – the point is to pause for reflection!
Next, write down three to-do’s that you would like to accomplish tomorrow. It’s always helpful to pinpoint one big (yet realistic) task and a few smaller but important tasks to get done. That way, you’re setting yourself up for success for the day ahead in a calm and intentional manner.
Finally – and this is the time to get creative and let your mind be free – map out a few visions for yourself. This could be as simple as being sharp, clear, and effective on your Zoom meeting tomorrow. This could be bigger, like imagining your future self in the next chapter of life that you want for yourself. This could also be mapping out a few goals or intentions for the rest of your week.
Whatever calls to you and most empowers you, map out your desires in the form of a quick journal entry. There is so much power in putting our visions on paper – this is when manifestation happens! This end of day ritual also helps relax your mind so you can enjoy a nice, peaceful and restful evening.
Wellness Rituals: The Takeaway
When we ritualize our daily tasks, we bring more awareness, mindfulness, and intention into our days (and routines). This is where the magic happens. This is when we shift the tone of our days from rushed to peaceful, scattered to grounded, and draining to empowering.
Take a look at your current routine and explore where you can shift from routine to ritual. Try some of the above recommendations and see what works for you. Make it your own, add your own flavor to it, and most importantly – ENJOY watching a healthier, happier YOU emerge.
Words By: Ashton August
About Ashton August:
Ashton August is an author, editor, yoga instructor, and founder of YogiApproved.com, a yoga and wellness site that inspires readers to live their healthiest, best lives. She is also the founder of YA Classes – an online yoga, fitness, and wellness platform that plants a food-producing tree for farming communities in West Africa for every class a member completes.