I’ve started integrating a few, small, non-negotiable rituals to the start and end of my day recently, and it feels amazing. I feel so much more grounded and ready to tackle whatever the day might bring me, and find it a lot easier to switch off and let the day go once the evening arrives. Ritual doesn’t have to be this big thing – it doesn’t need to involve white muslin dress and a room full of candles – it can be as little as taking a moment to stop. to breathe. to digest. To move beyond the ‘I’ and ‘me’, quieten the monkey mind and find some space between your thoughts. If that sounds like something you’re in need of, have a read through my suggestions below.
Take a few minutes when you first wake up, to sit up in bed with your eyes closed, and connect to your breath. You don’t need to try to change anything – just notice the natural rhythm of each inhale and exhale, and observe the movements of your mind. Now set a positive affirmation for the day ahead – it could be something as simple as giving thanks for having been granted a new day.
After brewing a hot cup of herbal tea or coffee, hold the mug in both hands, and take in the different sensations of warmth and scent for a moment before you drink it. So much of our food and drink consumption is done mindlessly throughout the day – we’re either eating our packed lunch hunched over a desk while checking emails, or slurping on a coffee while rushing between meetings. By creating a sense of mindfulness around the act, we give ourselves the opportunity to simply be present, and the body a chance to consciously digest and absorb the food or drink’s nutrients.
Set aside 30 minutes of your working day to step away from your responsibilities and get your body moving. It could involve taking a walk and getting some fresh air, going to an exercise class, shaking it out, or just having a gentle stretch. It will help to shift any stagnant energy that might’ve been building up throughout the day and allows you to hit the reset button mentally.
Once the working day is over with, give yourself a cut-off point for being available/online and stick to it! Sometimes it’s necessary to go above and beyond the call of duty and work outside of office or studio hours, but if you keep doing it when it’s not 100% necessary, those boundaries will begin to stretch and you won’t give yourself enough time to switch off, which could eventually lead to exhaustion/burnout. Remember you are entitled to your time off and have a life outside of your career role too.
Minimise screentime before bed and take half an hour before switching the lights off to wind down. I personally like to light a candle or burn some palo santo or incense, roll out my mat and have a quick stretch, read a book or listen to a podcast. It helps to set the scene for a deep, nourishing night’s sleep.
This post was written by Lotte, one of our new writers who will be bringing environmental and lifestyle content to The Eco Edit.
Lotte is a London-based yoga and meditation teacher and environmentalist.