By: Sydney J. Elliott, MFA, SydneyJElliott.com
Ten or twenty years ago, I would have never imagined myself sitting cross legged in front of a makeshift altar of sorts. On it are pictures of my dog I recently lost, a candle, some sort of crystal, a cup of coffee, and a deck of cards with inspirational messages printed on them. My obese, other-abled cat pushes open the door and flops down beside me as I draw a card, read the day’s message, and light the candle. Then I sit. And do nothing but breathe for five to ten minutes, sometimes stretching a little. Then I blow out the candle, try to take one word from the message to revisit during the day, and leave the space in the search for more coffee. My day can start now.
During the holidays, it’s easy to let the small rituals of self-care slip. Our schedules are usually more hectic, and we often are pulled in many directions while still having to work, take care of our families, and navigate the chaos of the holiday season. But having a daily ritual can provide us with a cornerstone to get through our day.
The ritual doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can be writing before the household wakes up, doing yoga, walking the dog, or anything that fits your lifestyle. It can be anything that nourishes you in some way, a small gesture or action that becomes a healthy habit of self-care and self-recognition.
And rituals do not necessarily mean being alone. Maybe you go to an exercise class on a regular basis or go to church on Sunday. The main take away is not to stop, especially when it’s easy to when we are rushing through the holiday months.
If you don’t have a ritual or daily habit that nourishes you, set an intention to start one. Take a “forest bath” every morning, write, meditate, do artwork, knit, color, or anything that is not interrupted by distraction, and something that is just for you.
You don’t need an altar or crystals. All you need is ten minutes dedicated to quieting your mind. The physical benefits are a bonus as well.
It might be difficult to make the commitment and get started, but once you have it as part of your daily routine, you won’t want to let it go. If you have a daily ritual, keep doing it, especially during this time of year. If you don’t, give it a try. You are worth the time.
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If you are looking for a place or community where you can start or continue your self-care practices, consider attending FREE weekly yoga classes taught by Sydney Elliott, Monday and Wednesday 12:00 – 1:00 pm. Class will start the first Monday of Winter Term 01/06/2020 at Tillamook Bay Community College, and is for all skill levels! You may also visit Sydney’s website at SydneyJElliott.com to learn more about her background in writing, editing, and various yoga practices.