As a new mum I quickly learnt that providing Aspen with certain rituals throughout her day gave her comfort, and offered a sense of security. When she was growing in my womb I would sing to her whilst gently swaying my body, after she was born I found that these songs calmed her, especially when combined with rocking her.
Aspen was quite an unsettled newborn and so any relief for her, and for my husband and I was welcomed with open arms. Singing became our thing, particularly at bed times or when she was sad. As she grew we developed new rituals. She would wake early and so a feed in my bed followed by a short nap with me became another ritual. Then upon waking I would pile the bed with hard cover story books full of images and nursery rhymes and books that showed her shapes and colours. We would sit and read for the longest time in our PJ’s.
Sleep time as she grew became a chance for her daddy and I to sing silly songs and then I would always finish with the songs that soothed her as a newborn.
Over the years many rituals have changed, but no matter where we were it always gave her comfort to have those special rituals. Today she is 14 and when she is stressed out some nights she still finds comfort if I sing to her. It is amazing how a ritual started when she was still growing inside me gives her comfort as a teenager. Books and song have always remained moments of comfort.
As parents we understand the need to create these rituals for our children, and even larger ones like birthday rituals, or a ritual at the end of the school year. We know they offer our children comfort and they are important to their wellbeing, yet sometimes we forget just how important rituals can be to us.
When we have had a rough day, are feeling down, insecure, or feeling like we need comforting, we too can benefit so much from having rituals of our own. Now I am not suggesting we call up our parent and ask them to sing us a lullaby, although go right ahead if you wish. As we grow and develop, our lives change as do our needs, and therefore our rituals change also. Rituals enhance our wellbeing, they help us discover our needs and what is closest to our hearts.
Rituals are different to habits, habits are done without thought, we have done them so often that we usually perform them mindlessly. Rituals are more powerful, they bring us comfort, reduce stress levels and offer a sense of control when things feel particularly stressful, or we are out of our comfort zone. Just as I mentioned above how Aspen found comfort in the songs when going to sleep, having that ritual when we we’re staying somewhere different overnight brought her a sense of familiarity and security. The same goes for us. As an adult we don’t sleep as well in an unfamiliar location, so having a particular bedtime ritual can bring us comfort when we travel for work, or pleasure.
A morning ritual can help set the tone for the day, a midday ritual can help us refocus for the afternoon, and an evening ritual can help us prepare for a relaxing evening. Bedtime rituals can help us settle down for a good sleep. Finding the right ritual will benefit your wellbeing as a whole.
To find your ritual you may want to look deeply inside yourself. Think about the things that are closet to your heart. Consider what motivates you and what comforts, and soothes you. Remember that you are constantly evolving and so can your rituals.
Rituals help connect you to a deeper sense of self and enhance your connection with others. You can set individual rituals and also family ones such as discussing your day and sharing stresses with your partner, or friend in order to release tension. Performing rituals gives you the opportunity to stop amongst the busyness of life and refocus on where you wish to be. Rituals can be spiritual and sacred, they can involve mediation or prayer, but they can also be an opportunity to connect with others, or nature itself.
In order to set yourself some rituals take some time to think about what you need, or perhaps what has been lacking from certain parts of your day. If it is mornings you find particularly difficult you may wish to think about what would help you feel more motivated, or ease your anxiety in the mornings. For example it may be time to play with your puppy, it may be a walk, a soothing cup of tea, a new skincare regime, meditation, or a morning workout.
Consider each part of the day where you feel yourself craving some comfort and try to connect with your soul, to understand it, and ask what you can give yourself in order to feel more connected to your sense of self.
I would love to hear any rituals that you find particularly helpful, please share your thoughts with me via the comment section, twitter, or via email.
Thank you, Mac xx