These 8 simple rituals (or daily milestones) will help you power through each day with ease. Click through for best results!

When you hear the word “ritual,” you might connect it with the concept of being spiritual or even “woo-woo.”  It can be either of those things, if you want it to be, or it can be something else entirely.

While there are religious connotations, a ritual can also be “an act or series of acts done in a particular situation and in the same way each time” (thank you, Merriam-Webster).

Why is this significant?  Because cultivating rituals you take part in on a daily basis can power you through your day more effectively than the strongest, blackest cup of espresso.

Let’s be honest: there’s more potential rituals out there than you could ever have time for, especially when you still need to do things like fold laundry or drive to your in-laws’.  Today, we’re going to take a close look at some rituals you could incorporate into your morning, midday, and evening routines with a minimum of muss and fuss.

Remember, you can and should tweak these rituals so they work for you, and we’ve got suggestions to get you started.

In The Morning

Whether you’re an early bird or a night owl, the main goal for the beginning of your day should be to carry on the work that your sleep began: energizing you.  It’s also a time to set your intention for the day.  You could:

1. Write morning pages.

This term is most synonymous with Julia Cameron, who suggests writing three longhand pages every morning, without looking back and without editing yourself, on any topic (or topics–let your writing flow!) you desire.

Maybe you’ll start with a question you have about your day and spend the pages brainstorming possible answers, or maybe it’ll be three pages’ worth about how you’re out of milk and you don’t like dry cereal and if only you’d remembered to get raspberry jam for your toast.  The key is simply to show up to the page, and then let it go and move on with your day.

2. Add to a gratitude journal.

I use a small Moleskine notebook for this purpose, but you can use anything that suits you, whether it’s something portable so you can keep it in your purse, or something a bit bigger that fits in your bedside drawer.  Whatever you use, make a habit of adding a minimum of three things to this notebook every day.

There’s a wonderful article on Jessica Says about the ins and outs of gratitude journaling, but the gist is essentially to write down things that make you feel melty and happy, ease the tension from your shoulders, and put a smile on your face.

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Why do this in the morning?  Because when you’ve started your day by filling your cup with gratitude, things that would ordinarily drive you round the bend are that much more likely to skim right off the top.

3. Get up fifteen minutes earlier and savor your breakfast with your cozy beverage of choice.

I know I’m guilty of swatting the “snooze” button one too many times, meaning I have to scarf down breakfast or skip it altogether.  When you give yourself the time to sit down and actually taste your food, you may have lost out on a quarter-hour of sleep, but you’ll relish every morsel of your breakfast.  It’ll feel that much more satisfying, and when it’s time to stick your dish in the sink and stride out the door (or stride to your desk, if you work from home) you’ll be raring to go.

If you want to add a bonus dose of, “Yeah, you got this!” take one extra minute to lay out a colourful placemat and some nice cutlery for your breakfast.  It’ll make you smile and give you a sense of what it’s like to make yourself a priority, to create a sense of occasion without waiting for a special event to give you permission. (P.S. Struggle to get up in the morning? Here’s how Natalee tricked herself into becoming a morning person).

[clickToTweet tweet=”Struggle to get going in the morning? Try writing in a gratitude journal!” quote=”Struggle to get going in the morning? Try writing in a gratitude journal!”]


In The Middle of The Day

Okay, my fellow twenty-somethings, this is where things really start to slide.  Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep, maybe you did skip breakfast, maybe it’s just one of those days.  Whatever the reason, you’re hitting that midday slump, and you need to refocus, ASAP.  To recharge your batteries, you could:

1. Get to a quiet place and meditate.

Where can you get ten minutes of solitude?  Can you take your lunch to a nearby park?  Do you have a set of noise-cancelling headphones?  Is the laundry room empty?  (Hey, whatever works.)  Once you’ve found a space of relative solitude, close your eyes and meditate for a few minutes.  Perhaps you’ll hum, repeat a calming phrase (“I am here,” “I am present,” “Love surrounds me”) to yourself, or gently hug yourself.  Whatever you do, create a small pocket of time that’s just for you, and be present.  Show up for yourself.  You deserve that.

2. Do something active.

If your schedule allows, do some yoga or head to the gym.  You’ll have a chance to work through any frustrations that have built up over the course of the morning and early afternoon, and revel in what’s gone beautifully, perhaps surprisingly, well.  In the shower afterwards, imagine any lingering gripes slipping down the drain along with the sweat from your workout, and think ahead to what lies in store for you this evening.

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[clickToTweet tweet=”Midday meditation or a quick workout can do the body–and the mind–a whole lotta good.” quote=”Midday meditation or a quick workout can do the body–and the mind–a whole lotta good.”]


In The Evening

Aaaah … you made it to the end of another long day.  Now’s the time to calm yourself, to reflect, to put the day to rest.  Perhaps you could:

1. Write evening pages.

Yes, these are related to morning pages, but they’re not identical twins.  Where your main focus with morning pages is to sort through what lies ahead of you, evening pages are about reflecting on what’s come up over the course of the day.  They’re a chance for you to reflect, to put questions out to the universe.

If you make both morning pages and evening pages a habit, you may find that questions you pose in your evening pages have answers spilled onto the page the next morning, and that’s a kind of synchronicity and efficiency we could all use a little more of: how awesome is it to problem-solve in your sleep?

2. Spend ten minutes tidying.

This should be familiar to kindergarten teachers or anyone who remembers the 10-second tidy from the Canadian show The Big Comfy Couch.  At the end of the day, when you look around your home, you’re likely to see a material chronology of your day: the clothes you were in too much of a rush to toss into the hamper, the weights from your workout in the middle of the living room floor, your one frying pan languishing in the sink.

Before you get too tired, spend a few minutes tidying up everything that’s accumulated during the day.  It’s a pain, I know, but I can almost guarantee you’ll feel more settled and like you’ve wrapped up the day.  Besides, this way, by the time you get to the weekend, you won’t have a week’s worth of clutter to sort through!

3. Spend time cuddling with a cozy blanket, a pet, or a significant other.

Basically, this is all about the snuggles and connection.  You could make yourself a cup of lavender tea, settle onto a couch with the afghan your grandma made you, and read a chapter (or two) of a scrumptious book.  Perhaps your cat will deign to join you.  Or maybe this is the time when you and your partner cuddle under the covers, talking about your day, laughing about the quirky little things that made no sense, and simply enjoying each other’s company.

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[clickToTweet tweet=”Wind down at the end of the day with a life-tidying ritual. Here’s what to do:” quote=”Wind down at the end of the day with a life-tidying ritual. Here’s what to do:”]


Bonus: How To Get The Most Out of Your Rituals

Starting and maintaining a ritual is like any routine: you have to be consistent about it.  Write it into your planner.  Leave sticky notes for yourself in appropriate places, like at your desk or on your alarm clock.  Make it virtually impossible to forget your ritual.

It’s also important to make it difficult to avoid your ritual, and the best way to do that is to make it enjoyable.  If writing three pages in the morning makes your hand cramp up, change it to two.  If your workout routine isn’t doing it for you, try something else, like Adriene’s free yoga videos.  You have to be open to incorporating a ritual into your life, but you also have to be willing to change it or adapt it if it’s not bringing you joy, if it’s not making your life better.

Remember to start small.  Pick one of the rituals from this list and try it for a week; see how it feels.  If you like it, keep it, and add another one in the second week.  You can also use these ideas as a springboard for your own rituals.  I love using rituals for specific situations or emotions.  If I’m going through a phase where I’m being super irritable with the people closest to me, I tell myself to “choose love.”  When I do this consistently, I’m way less likely to snap.  The people I love don’t bear the brunt of my snippiness, and I feel calmer and gentler, too.

A ritual can be an incredibly powerful tool to structure your day around.  Which one will you be trying this week?  What rituals do you follow in your daily life already?


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