If you’re like me, mid-January is the season of the post-holiday crash. During the winter holiday season rituals abound, but afterward I’m faced with a dry well. Once a holiday or great event is over, how do we refill that ritual well? How do we return refreshed to our lives, to new plans and older plans already underway?
One-Step Moments of Mindfulness
Sustenance rituals are little moments of mindfulness we can use to catch our breath and find our center. I think of them as elements of personal maintenance, ways to take care of and reconnect with ourselves. Here are a few easy ones you can work into your daily routine:
Take the stairs. You can make a walking meditation out of taking the stairs. This can be especially helpful at the end of your workday. Feel the rhythm of each step you take. With each step, leave behind some of the troubles of your day and think about getting closer to the comforts of home or some activity you’re looking forward to. By the time you have reached the bottom step, you may feel a little less burdened—and ready to reenter the world.
Get some light. Many of us suffer from the winter blues, and if you work long hours, odds are that you don’t ever get as much sunlight as you would like. So make some time to step outside. Take a walk during your lunch break or look out the window. It’s an easy way to literally brighten your day.
Sort it out. The simple act of sorting can be a way to bring symbolic order to chaos. So sort your socks. Or dump your change jar and sort the coins. I sometimes sort a mason jar of buttons as a tool for mindfulness. Putting things in their place can be very calming.
These all may seem like simple things. Perhaps some of them are things you already do. What makes it a sustenance ritual, though, is mindful action. Set a clear intention when you do these things, and then do them with purpose to take care of yourself. That will make these everyday actions that much more potent.
This piece is an excerpt from Life-Cycle Ceremonies: A Handbook for Your Whole Life (now available on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle e-book). This book is a compilation of ceremonies and rituals written by experienced Certified Life-Cycle Celebrants® from all over the world, who share their wisdom along with some favorite rituals.