The Calming Effect of a Ritual

oatmealDon’t you hate mornings?  First you have to actually get out of bed which is a hassle because you’re warm, comfortable and relaxed.  Why would you knowingly leave that behind to shower, fix your hair, put gunk on your eyelashes and dress in clothing that isn’t yoga pants?

Is there anything that can take the sting out of mornings, especially those mornings when you need to work?

(I know some of you work from home and get ready without the hair and eyelash prep.  And, yes, you get to wear yoga pants.  Kudos to you!  But you probably have to face the world, albeit virtually, so there’s the getting out of bed part.)

Every morning I put myself through a ritual that calms my mind as I prepare to venture out into the world.  It involves oatmeal, a pot and about 5 minutes.

In the not too distant past I would dash into my day like I was competing against Usain Bolt and the finals for the 100 meters were in 2 minutes.

  • I would slam the snooze on the alarm,
  • Mentally calculate how long it would take to get ready
  • Slam snooze again
  • Back out the amount time it took to dry my hair
  • And continue this cycle until all I had time for was a quick brush of my upper teeth & (hopefully) change into something that didn’t look like jammies

I was one stressed out chick by the time I got to the office.

Fortunately I changed my ways.  I have tapped into the wisdom of rituals to bring me a moment of peace before I enter the work world each day.

You know that old-fashioned oatmeal?  Not the instant kind.  The type that takes 5 minutes to cook?

I make myself a nice, hot bowl of oatmeal and drag it out for the entire 5 minute preparation.

And get this!  I eat it sitting in a chair facing my backyard.

I don’t multitask while eating.  It’s just me and the oatmeal.

I know!  Weird, huh?

Alexandra Stoddard’s book, Living a Beautiful Life, takes the little things in our days and makes them special.  As she explains:

Allowing ourselves to enjoy life in all its details and attending to what gives us the greatest happiness can elevate even mundane tasks, refreshing our mind and spirit.

Are there things you do everyday that you can turn into a mindful ritual?  As Stoddard says, we all eat, sleep and bathe.  How can we make these daily must-dos more personal and soothing?

So instead of shoveling food into my mouth each morning, I can have a few moments of beauty as I watch the oats cook and then again when I eat.

My challenge to you is think about those daily routines that can become a soothing ritual.  Maybe you can use a unique bath soap or a special coffee cup.  How can you bring the beauty of ritual to the office?  (Something I’m still pondering.)

Share your thoughts in the Comments section.  I’d love to hear how you make the mundane beautiful.


8 comments on “The Calming Effect of a Ritual”

  1. Sophia Reply

    Hello Linda,

    Great post-and I actually enjoy the same ritual myself each morning. From the 5 minute prep to carefully cutting up and adding fresh pieces of strawberries-I simply enjoy it all. Slow and quite is definitely a great way to start each day, which is often times not so slow and quite :) Thanks for reminding us!

    • Linda Lepe Reply

      Sophia, I’m finding that there are many Oatmeal Sisters out there. Who knew? Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Angel Hodsdon Reply

    Great reminder! I myself am still working on the morning ritual, but I have turned my bedtime into a relaxing ritual to end the day stress free and ensure a good night’s sleep and being refreshed when I do finally shut off the snooze and roll out of bed. A nice hot shower (saves me time in the morning), cup of tea a 5 minute prayer/meditation to relax and put closure on my day and then I read for a little bit for an escape. Falling asleep, staying asleep and waking up happier is a great pay off for the simple night time ritual. Now if I could only turn off that snooze 10 minutes earlier for some oatmeal… :)

    • Linda Lepe Reply

      Angel, bedtime rituals are also important & lovely. Thanks so much for sharing yours.

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