How rituals can transform your day
The last few weeks have been ‘interesting’ – to choose a positive word. With the UK now on lockdown, our homes have become our sanctuary. At times like this, it’s so important to focus on your daily rituals to help with your productivity and mental health.
By Becky Stanton
The lockdown can be seen as a wonderful time in one way and an emotional rollercoaster in another – days are rolling into one, emotions are high as we are surrounded by or separated from our loved ones, children are home and needing schooling and on top of that? Many of us are still working.
What you choose to do every day matters so much right now. Especially if you are exploring working from home. The lines between “work you” and “home you” become blurry, and you may find that you’re doing work on the sofa or in bed, or trying to relax and unwind while checking emails.
Rituals will help you during this time to stay positive amidst the chaos, create balance in your day, and continue with normality (as much as possible).
Here are our favourite rituals to focus on:
Without a transition into the ‘outside world’, it’s key to create positive structure to your morning.
Create a sacred morning routine that energises you and inspires you for a successful day ahead. Trial different activities and see which ones motivate you the most to start your day free from home distractions.
It could be exercise, meditation, yoga practice, reading, inspiring videos or podcasts, healthy breakfast, walk in nature, journaling. Or a mixture of many of these combined.
Whatever you choose, be digitally disconnected during this time. Do not check your phone, social media or emails until your morning routine has completed.
This is the most precious time of the day and this will allow you to avoid being distracted by other people’s messages and agendas. Stay focused on you and your day.
Use your environment to support your morning routine. Create a joyful place within your home that you will complete the routine, and prepare for it the night before.
Create a designated place to work – a work sanctuary! Working on the sofa or working from your bed may sound relaxing, but long-term it’s not doing you any favours.
Your effectiveness, your posture and your mindset will not be aligned for success, and you’ll be stuck in that home/work blur which will affect your whole day. You don’t want to get into bed and be thinking about work!
Choose a space to work – whether it’s a dedicated room, a desk in an established room, or perhaps a table that is multi-functional. Choose a space and stick to it – this becomes your zone of work.
Keep it work-focused, keep it tidy and keep it distraction-free. You’ll feel the difference in being able to step into “work you” as soon as you enter your space.
Take breaks as normal – have an hour’s lunch break and step away from your computer to do something other than work.
There is life away from work and in order to remain creative, effective and focused our brains need a break too.
Take a walk, unwind in a book, watch something that will make you laugh and smile, eat a nutritious meal and be present.
Do anything that makes you excited to get back to your desk and continue work. Absence does make the heart grow fonder after all!
Choose a time to end your working day, as you would in the office.
Stick to this time as much as possible and know that you can complete anything else tomorrow. Remove that pressure that just because you are at home with no commute that you must work longer!
Without a commute home – it’s often a few steps from your desk to your sofa – it’s so important to choose a transition ritual that will support you to take off the “work” hat and replace it with the “home” hat.
Whether this means relaxing and unwinding alone, or with your partner, children or parents. It’s important that you step into that version of yourself and leave work until tomorrow.
To do this, choose an activity that enables you to ease into the next part of your day. It could be going for a walk, a yoga practice to stretch your body, changing your clothes into your comfies, meditating, or journaling and reflecting on your day.
Whatever you decide, it’s important to also physically close your office door, turn your laptop off, or close down any work-related tabs.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you about the importance of sleep – we all know that sleep is essential for our body and mind.
Yes, the length of sleep is important (give me 8 hours!!), but the experience of sleep is also vital.
To amplify your experience, especially during this emotional time, I would recommend that you create a bedtime ritual to ease yourself into sleep.
Choose a bedtime, as you would if you were heading into work tomorrow and stick to it. Then, create a ritual for an hour before that time. Whether it’s turning your phone off, avoiding any screens, having a bath, drinking a bedtime tea while reading a book, using essential oils, a gratitude practice, or a night-time yoga stretch. Use any mix of these to end your day on an almighty high.
Do whatever slows your body down and gets yourself ready for a restful sleep, ready for a kickass day tomorrow.
These rituals don’t need to be long or overwhelming. It’s about choosing simple and joyful activities that you will be excited to do that support your body, mind and soul during this time. If you work from home long-term, this will also continue to save you from the procrastination and frustrations from being housebound.