Did you know that the best thing you can do to take control of your life is by having a daily ritual?
Having a daily ritual has completely changed my life.
Before having a daily ritual, I was:
- Constantly stressed and tired
- Doing things I didn’t want to do
- Constantly felt overwhelmed
- Lost and confused about my life
But now, I am intentional with my days and I truly feel like I have complete control over my life.
In this blog post, I’ll be sharing with you what a ritual is, the importance of a daily ritual, and 4 tips on how you can create one that works for you.
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For those of you who prefer video walkthroughs, I put together this simple video of How to Design a Daily Ritual that Works for you:
What is a daily ritual and how does it differ from a daily routine?
Rituals are a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, and specific objects in a certain setting.
They are intended to bring higher meaning into your experiences. Each step in a ritual is meaningful and intentional.
With a ritual, you’re celebrating the ordinary things by elevating it and turning it into something special and sacred.
For example, rather than mindlessly drinking coffee, you can brew your own coffee, use a special mug that you like or mindfully sip your coffee, truly tasting and savoring it.
It’s also important to note that a ritual is different from a routine.
In a routine, you often perform the tasks in your routine without much thought.
But in a ritual, each step is done with intention, purpose, and deliberation. Rather than focusing on just completing the task, you’re completely engaged and in the present.
It’s these little decisions that make our days much more meaningful and memorable.
Pre-existing Ritual Ideas
To help you better understand the application of rituals, here are some different, pre-existing rituals you can get inspiration from.
Morning rituals or routines can help you get ready for the day. If your schedule is packed, it’s hard to find time for yourself.
However, the mornings can be a time of peace and refuge for you.
Activities in a morning ritual can or may include:
- Practicing affirmations
- Preparing tea or coffee
- Eating a nutritious breakfast
- Skin-care routine
- Reviewing or creating your day’s plan
Personally, I like to wake up a little earlier than needed to carve out some time for me. I love waking up when no one’s awake so I can have a little peace, quiet, and some quality alone time.
Just like morning rituals, some people have nightly rituals and routines to help unwind or prepare for a better night’s sleep!
Some activities in a night ritual may also include:
- Drinking a hot drink
- Getting off your phone/electronics
- Slow and gentle yoga
- Reflect on your day (Journaling, reviewing what you did, etc.)
- Expressing Gratitude
- Planning for the upcoming day
For a lot of us, Sundays may be one of the only days where we actually have time for ourselves.
Therefore, it’s the perfect time to indulge ourselves and to treat ourselves on this rare day of rest. It will also prepare us for the upcoming week ahead.
Some activities on a Sunday ritual may include:
- Eating and preparing a delicious breakfast
- Grabbing brunch with loved ones at your favorite restaurant
- Preparing a nice bath or taking a long shower
- Wearing a facemask and showering your skin with extra love
- Cleaning your space
- Going for a walk or run in nature
- Plan for the upcoming week
Why you Need a Daily Ritual
In this day and age, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed due to our “busy” culture.
There’s always so much to do, so much information thrown at us, and so much going on.
As a result, most of us operate on autopilot mode to cope.
And the problem of operating on autopilot mode is that you lose all control over your life.
When I was operating on autopilot mode, I was:
- Letting other people make decisions about my life
- Living an extremely unfulfilling life
- Oblivious to the bad habits that was destroying my life
- Unsure about what I wanted in my life
When you’re on autopilot mode, you’re gradually getting farther and farther from your ideal self and ideal life.
But the best way to break out of this cycle is by starting with one daily ritual.
With a daily ritual, you will:
1. Have greater control over your day
When you have a ritual that allows you to slow down and make conscious decisions that will positively affect you, you’ll be in a better mood.
Before I established my morning ritual, I would wake up with barely enough time to eat breakfast and get ready. As a result, I always felt rushed, overwhelmed, and stressed. Even the smallest things were enough to set me off.
However, when I put my morning ritual into place, I noticed some big changes. I was a lot calmer, made more rational decisions, and was in an overall better headspace. I was a lot more mindful and made decisions I truly wanted instead of having others make decisions for me.
2. Have more clarity in your life
When we’re constantly living on the go, we often suppress our feelings and emotions.
Furthermore, when you’re in a stressful environment, you’re less likely to think rationally and clearly.
But rituals allow you to exist completely in the present moment. As a result, you’re more in-tune with yourself, allowing you to better understand yourself and your needs.
When you know how you’re feeling and why you’re feeling that way, you are better equipped to make decisions and take radical action.
3. Cultivate gratitude and gratefulness
When you slow down and live more intentionally, you don’t take anything for granted.
Instead you are immensely grateful and appreciative of everything.
When rushing through my day, I used to take a lot of things for granted.
One example was the time I spent I had with my dog.
But when my dog unexpectedly passed away, I was instantly washed over with regret. Regret of not cherishing him enough and not spending enough quality time with him. All because I was on autopilot mode, completely oblivious to my surroundings.
Although that’s an extreme case, the point is: daily rituals allow us to appreciate even the most ordinary things.
And oftentimes, the most important things in life are the ordinary things.
How to create a slow daily ritual that works for you
Now that I explained what rituals are and why they’re important, here are some of my top tips on how you can create a ritual that works for you.
For your daily ritual, you can include whatever task you want in this time period.
Your daily ritual is for your benefit: it’s meant to honor you and your day.
Just to note, your rituals do not have to be hours long for it to be effective.
As long as you’re completely in the present moment, you can see results in just a 5-10 minute ritual.
So, that being said, let’s get straight into it.
1. Decide where and when your rituals will take place
When planning your rituals, think of where and when it may occur.
What is the setting like? Is it in the mornings, afternoon, night, etc.?
Of course, this doesn’t have to be rigid, but having a set time will help you better incorporate these rituals into your everyday life and make them into a daily habit.
Eventually, you’ll start to look forward to your rituals when you know when to expect them.
2. Visualize what you want your rituals to look like
Visualization can help you create your ideal daily ritual.
For example, when creating a morning ritual, visualize what you want your ideal morning to look like.
What time of day is it? How do you want to feel, what do you want to eat or drink, and so forth.
After you visualize it, you can go a step further and create a mood board or vision board, finding images that inspire you and match your vision.
You can create your mood board by printing images out, creating a digital collage, or using pinterest.
I personally like creating a digital collage with my iPad so I can annotate it and personally arrange it.
3. Decide the purpose and intention of your ritual
It’s good to think about what the intention of your ritual is and what purpose it serves.
Is it to heal, to prepare you for the day mentally and physically, to unwind and destress, or just to slow down and fully enjoy the present moment?
There is no right or wrong reason, but a ritual feels more meaningful if you have an intention for it.
Afterward, understand the intention of each step in your ritual.
It doesn’t have to be anything grandiose — it can simply just be because you enjoy it or it makes you happy, but asking why helps you be more intentional towards your tasks rather than performing things on autopilot.
4. What will you need for your daily ritual?
Is there anything you might need for your daily ritual? Or is there an object that will make your experience feel that much more special?
For example, a nice candle to help set the ambiance? A coffee maker to make delicious coffee in the mornings?
You can adjust your setting to create a space ideal for you and include objects that make your experience more joyful and pleasant.
Here are some of my favorite things and essential items for my daily rituals:
Using an aroma diffuser helps create a relaxing and cozy environment. I find myself using it when meditating or when practicing yoga.
You can use essential oils with it and diffuse cozy and relaxing scents! I highly recommend using peppermint oil, as it gives off a nice and cozy scent.
Matcha Green Tea
Making and drinking matcha is an integral part of my morning routine, and I’m not sure if I’d be able to do without it.
My favorite part about making matcha is the mindfulness and care that goes into making a delicious drink. Scooping out the matcha, adding boiling water, whisking it, and seeing it froth up.
I use Organic Matcha straight from Kyoto Japan. This is my favorite matcha I tried so far. In the past, I tried other cheaper matcha, but they were all too bitter and browner in color.
Drip Coffee Maker
I am a lover of drip coffee.
Like matcha, I like the slowness and intimacy of brewing your own coffee: Grinding the coffee beans, putting it in the drip filter, and watching it slowly drip, extracting the delicious aroma from the coffee beans.
My yoga mat is a crucial part of my morning daily ritual, as I practice both yoga and meditation on it.
Currently, I’m using the Gaiam brand that I just grabbed at my local TJ Maxx. However, if you don’t want to go out due to COVID, this is the mat I’m using!
Planning out my day is a huge part of my daily ritual. It helps me understand the tasks I need to do and keeps me focused.
I’m using the Clarity planner, a digital planner I crafted to account for not only productivity, but for wellness, self-care, goal-setting, and for rituals and routines.
Designing your ideal ritual
The times we do slow down and carve out quality time for ourselves will help us in our tasks, relationships, and ultimately, our passion and life’s purpose.
If you need further help on designing your ideal rituals, I have a ritual printable pack that will help you.
There are sheets for planning your ideal day & week, morning rituals, night rituals, and one for your very own custom ritual!
It walks you through step-by-step everything I explained on this article and you can refer to the sheet whenever you want.
If you do practice or have an established daily ritual, I would love to hear about it! Let’s all live a little more slowly and intentionally, celebrating ourselves, life, and our universe.