How rituals can help your life July 19 2015
Ritual n 1 regular repeated action or behaviour 2 a ceremony involving a series of fixed actions performed in a certain order
Our lives are a series of small moments. The everyday things we do; our habits, routines and rituals, create this life.
‘Habits’ and ‘routines’ can sound really boring, but good ones are not at all boring. In this busy world we live in these habits, routines, rituals help frame our lives. It’s important to take time out to relax and recharge, as well as connect with those around us.
Here’s three things that I do (or am trying to do) that you could try and incorporate into your daily routine and see what difference they make to how you feel.
Tea is a ritual. It’s a tradition and an everyday fixture for millions of people around the world. In Eastern cultures, tea ceremonies have an ancient and important role in society. In modern times, drinking tea is a healthy way to unwind and recharge.
Set your morning up the right way by taking some time to prepare a cup of tea. Doing this provides a time for reflection. You’ll be surprised at what a difference this can make to how you feel, as you mentally prepare for the day.
When there is noise and clutter around you, you can find sanctuary in tea. A few minutes taken in the afternoon to prepare and enjoy a cup of tea can be helpful in enabling you to take a step back, reflect and recalibrate.
As well as allowing you to enjoy time to recharge, preparing and serving tea is a ritual to bond with others over; to connect with family, friends and work colleagues. Our connections with people make a big difference to how we feel and help to make us happy.
I recently read ‘Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff’ by Richard Carlson. One of the tips that piqued my interest is ‘do nothing’. I get this, but I don’t do it enough. There’s always a million things to do and if I do take some time to relax, I usually feel bad about it!
Taking some time out to sit and do nothing is incredibly hard, but is really beneficial as well. Start with just ten minutes, perhaps with a cup of tea in hand (that way you can’t look at your phone as well!).
Get up at the same time every morning and go to bed at the same time every night
Recently I took part in a two day workshop called ‘The Art of Deliberate Success’. The author of the book and creator of the programme, David Keene, said to me “it sounds so simple but if you go to bed earlier, you will find it easier to wake up in the morning”. He was right. SO simple, yet I hadn’t been doing it.
When we were kids, most of us probably had a set bed time. When we got older we could decide for ourselves and for me this has meant getting in a bad habit. Going to bed at the same time every night and getting up at the same time every morning is a work in progress, but when I do, I notice what a difference it makes. I have more energy and I feel more organised (because I’m not rushing about and I have time to make that cup of tea).
If you give any of these things a go, I'd love to hear about how they went for you. If you have any other rituals, routines or habits that work for you, I'd love to hear about them too. Feel free to leave a comment below.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle
Good things take time May 17 2015
Life is getting faster and faster.
I’m generation Y, and as fellow twenty-somethings know, most of the time we can have what we want, when we want it. I'm attempting to slow things down. To wait. As the Mainland man says, “good things take time”; cheese, bread, goals, businesses, long trips to delicious places.
Slowing increases our ability to see greatness in small things. A flower in the crack of a pavement or a child smiling. I believe a cup of tea is in this same vein, it takes more than a moment to boil the jug, more than an instant for the leaves to brew and then at least ten minutes to sit down and enjoy it. That’s the best way. Of course I've also been known to make my tea then rush around doing the dishes, making the bed, putting on washing… stopping every few minutes to take a gulp… but it’s not nearly as satisfying or fulfilling.
Some of my best thinking is done when I stop and let my brain work its magic. The best places I find for my 'personal strategy sessions' are while going for a walk alone, having a long, hot shower and sitting down with a cup of tea.
Create the space to tap into your inner brain. When you next brew a pot of tea take the time to sit, limit (or better yet eliminate) distrations and disconnect (no phone, no internet). Take a moment and find sanctuary in tea.
“It snowed last year too: I made a snowman and my brother knocked it down and I knocked my brother down and then we had tea.” ― Dylan Thomas, A Child's Christmas in Wales