Rediscover connection, meaning, and purpose through the power of ritual.
We all need rituals, just like we need routines. Without them, we can feel lost, chaotic and disconnected. Since lockdown, I have had many conversations with people about how to distinguish the days. Without some deliberate acts of separation- the days, weeks and months just melt into one colourless blob with no defined edges. It is difficult to distinguish work from leisure time or when you are a parent, friend, coworker or therapist, all under one roof and sometimes all in one day. If you live alone, (it’s estimated that 7.7 million people in the UK live alone), you might be struggling with how to make the days not feel like an endless loop, void of physical energy and contact. With the year anniversary of lockdown just passed, it’s clear that our health and wellbeing are more fragile than ever.
In November 2020, the Office for National Statistics released findings that showed acute loneliness had climbed to record levels, with 8% of adults (around 4.2 million people) feeling “always or often lonely”, and 16-29-year-olds twice as likely as the over-70s to experience loneliness in the pandemic. These are tough statistics to acknowledge, especially as we already know the negative health impacts of loneliness.
So what can help?
Unlike routine behaviours such as brushing our teeth, rituals are meaningful acts we do with intent. Rituals embody what matters to you by putting your values into practice. That in itself will probably make you a bit happier, but performing simple rituals also has more perks for your wellbeing. Rituals can translate your values into actions and we can nourish our souls by transforming everyday practices into sacred rituals.
Try the following tips;
- eating together (sounds strange but a virtual dinner party can be fun). Set a time, decide a menu, layout a table cloth, have topics of conversations, light a candle…and bon appétit,
- games with drinks (3 friends and I had a great evening playing Cards Against Humanity with cocktails- enough said),
- working out (organised outdoor non-contact sports, exercise, personal training and coaching are permitted in groups of up to 15 people (including coaches and instructors), providing appropriate guidance is followed),
- reading- start a book club, even with just one other. Check out 5 Things, a morning virtual meeting with 3 speakers, 3 non fiction books and their top 5 takeaways,
- taking a walk (be intentional, pick the type of walk you need- beach, forest, park, trees, people, no people and get your podcast or playlist going to lose yourself a bit).
These small acts done with intention and regularity can help heal our crisis of social isolation and longing for connection. If you chose a ritual that gives back, it can embody what matters to you by putting your values into practice. They are meant to add meaning and joy to our lives. Rituals have the potential to become powerful experiences of reflection and sanctuary.
If you don’t know where to start or want take stock on where you are with self care and practice a body scan, try out our free wellness ritual taster course. A body scan is a great ritual to add into your life to tune into your body and calm your nervous system.
I would love to hear from. you. Let me know your favourite rituals or how you have managed to find connection, sanctuary and wellness in these past 12 months.