– the last bit of our wee self-care for carers series –
Cultures, communities and even some families have their own rituals. These tend to have a social bonding purpose and can be charged with a symbolic meaning – often associated with something sacred. Now with this rather broad definition of a ritual in mind, imagine having your own, individual ritual: a time that you spend bonding with yourself in a meaningful way through some form of self-care practice.
Why not just call it a self-care routine? Sure, technically it is a self-care routine, however, routines, as their name suggests, are ’routine’ which has a slightly dull ring to it making it sound like it’s something mundane you have to do over and over again. This is the last thing self-care should feel like: a compulsory or boring activity. On the other hand, a self-care ritual implies that something significant or sacred to you is taking place in that practice – namely, you bonding with yourself through the ritual you establish. Assigning the name ritual to a routine essentially elevates its sentimental value and places an emphasis on the personal importance that it holds for you. It signifies to both you and others that this is an appointment with yourself that you cannot miss.
What could you include in a self-care ritual? The same things that you would in a self-care routine or a grounding practice. (If you are interested to read a few more detailed suggestions, make sure to take a look at our previous posts within the self-care series.) Consider thinking through the different areas of your life that you find particularly refueling and relaxing to engage with. You might consider things that engage your intellect, like a good book or things that stimulate your senses, like a soothing massage. You could also include nourishing your relationships in the self-care ritual and say call a friend or arrange to see them on a weekly basisif this is your way of recharging.
Select a few of your favourite items that you have just identified in the various areas of your life and think about how these could intertwine in the form of a ritual: the ritual of calling a friend while in a bubble bath every Sunday evening or the ritual of reading a book while sipping some tea every Friday afternoon. Fixed appointments are helpful to make sure the self-care practice sticks and does indeed become a ritual, not just a one-off grounding practice you resort to every now and then. To facilitate this, assign a specific day for it to take place – and make sure you turn up every week to make the most of this bonding time with yourself.