Each of us has daily rituals.
Some of our rituals began when we were very young - handed down from our parents or adopted along the way.
We brush our teeth, we drink coffee, we might go for a daily walk or meditate each morning. We may even have a favorite chair or sleep with a certain pillow each night.
Rituals are a basic human instinct.
They connect us to the things that are important and allow us to make sense or give order to our daily lives.
What you might not be aware of is that rituals are one of the best ways for you to connect to yourself —and put yourself first in sacred ways.
Each night before bed, I take a hot shower and put my phone into airplane mode. Then I listen to a sleep meditation that knocks me right out - I never even hear the end of it!
Each morning when I rise, I have moments of quiet connectivity. I start out with my morning meditation, drink my hot water with lemon, then my coffee, while reading and writing in my journal. I don’t turn my WiFi back on from the night before until I’ve I feel fully settled into my own body.
There was a time in my life where I would simply rush head first into my daily activities without giving myself even a thought - when meeting others’ needs was more important than connecting with myself.
I didn’t give my rituals enough reverence and appreciation which ultimately translated into neglected emotions, needs and wants.
Maybe you can relate?
Think about how often you might start something and then give it up because you get busy or life gets in the way. Only to remember a few months later how good it felt to have those kinds of rituals become a part of daily life.
You wonder why you stopped? You promise to get back to it when “time allows” and feel some shame for giving up the things you know matter. And then life gets in the way . . . again.
You stumble to the bottom of the list and your needs and wants go with you.
It wasn’t until my divorce that I learned to value the importance of rituals and putting myself first in these important ways.
I always say that I waited for the crisis to make that initial change… and I think this is true for so many.
Maybe you don’t really give yourself permission to take the time or to create the rituals until it’s so bad that you can’t take it anymore. You wait for your health to suffer, a crack in your relationship, a loss or something to wake you up before you’ll finally put yourself first.
But it doesn’t have to be that way - you don’t have to wait for a crisis to learn how to implement the rituals you need to make yourself a priority.
One of the things I often share with clients is that if your life doesn’t look the way you want it to look, you have to begin by taking 100% responsibility over the things you can control.
How often have you hoped that something magical like winning the lotto or getting some great job or finding Mr. or Mrs. Right would just show up so you could take a break?
The truth is that it’s not going to happen that way - no one is going to bring you the life you want. No amount of money can teach you how to put yourself first. It has to begin with you.
And rituals are one of the easiest and most effective ways you can begin to put yourself first and take greater responsibility for your life.
This can be especially helpful if you (like me) are a natural people-pleaser who tends to prioritize others needs ahead of your own. By setting a nonnegotiable around when and how you’ll take care of yourself, it becomes so much easier to say no when someone wants to infringe upon your regularly scheduled time.
If, for example, you have a regular running routine at the end of your day because you know it helps ease stress - being able to leave work consistently around a set time and say you have to leave when a colleague starts to become too chatty becomes easier.
A ritual like morning meditation can also help you prepare for the day, whatever it may bring. And, it can connect you to a more spiritual, or heart-centered, side of yourself that you never might get to see otherwise.
The reality is that having some rituals for yourself, and what matters to you, reminds you of how important you are.
It’s like making a declaration to the world that you are a priority - even if it’s in some small way.
For me, rituals help keep me centered, sleep better and feeling good about myself. Whether it’s a hike behind my house, my evening shower, or my morning contemplation, I honor my rituals - even when I have people visiting!
And contrary to my old beliefs that it might be an inconvenience for others, I find that when I honor myself and my nonnegotiables it actually inspires others.
So, this week, I invite you to connect to the rituals that are important to you. Maybe you call them habits or exercises or practices - whatever you name them, start to think about the things that you know make you feel good.
Start out by listing the rituals you’ve had in the past and have abandoned, as well as ones you’ve wanted to add to your life. And then, be bold and schedule some of your rituals so you can begin to add them to your daily routine.
Make them workable for you - remember, rituals are supposed to enhance your life and shouldn’t feel harsh or like punishment.. If you need to keep them flexible at first - do so!
The key is to make a ritual something you don’t want to live without, not something that feels like a chore!
And then notice how it feels to put yourself first in this way! Truly take the time to recognize how creating and following these rituals honors you!
You can even make this last part a ritual in and of itself!
I’d love to hear from you about the rituals you can’t live without! Share with me today!
P.S. Need some more guidance on how to make yourself, and your rituals, a priority? You’re in luck… my book Permission to Put Yourself First is coming out in a few weeks and you can pre-order it right now! This is a revamped version of my relationship book with a new title that speaks to what the book is really about! So, if you didn’t get that book - grab this one! And, even if you have the other one, you’ll want this version because there’s an excerpt from my next book in the back!