18 Ideas for Creating a Gentle Ritual of Self-Care
Is this special time that we are still living in - and that seems to last - a perfect opportunity to rethink our relationship with ourselves? Why not cherish this moment and take care of yourself, if only for a few moments during the day?
Here are 18 our suggestions - reviewed and enhanced - from morning to night, in order to build your gentle ritual.
1.Integrate good mood
If like us, you're not quite a "morning person." and you’re already having trouble opening your eyes and getting out of bed, but still don’t want to being assaulted by a military barracks style alarm clock. Opt for a quiet melody, perhaps the sounds of the forest or the sound of the sea to wake you up gently. Or how about one of your favourite songs that brings back fond memories or that always makes you smile. You can easily program and leave your cell phone on the night stand. Try to get a feeling of lightness to start off your day.
We also suggest this ''open heart'' meditation in song and movement (hands to the sky, to the heart and pushing them outwards): Sat Kartar by Guru Nanak, founder of Silk Path, where several Kundalini yoga mantras come from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=gclAihYwnQA
Are you the type to forget to breathe consciously? Taking the time to breathe is so natural that we often lose sight of its many benefits, such as reducing stress, revitalizing your body and mind and stimulating creativity. By slowing down your breathing, you’re send a signal to your brain that you are in control. By lengthening your breaths, you can focus on the cool air coming in and the warmed air going out.
Try the 4-7-8 technique, a good way to calm down
1. Make yourself comfortable and breathe out until your lungs are empty.
2. Breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds
3. Hold your breath for 7 seconds
4. Exhale strongly through the mouth for 8 seconds
Repeat this until you feel completely at ease.
3.Write the "morning pages"
As soon as you wake up, write a few “morning pages” (morning miracles) which will bring calm to the rest of the day. They say we would have 45 minutes before the ego's defenses kick in in the morning. Use the authenticity you have in this time. A kind of "morning cleansing" to create space for more beneficial ideas throughout the rest of your day and thus unleash your creativity.
Once your eyes are open, or after other activities in bed (journaling, breathing, meditation) lie on your back, and do some gentle stretches to quietly wake up your muscles. Then, once both feet are on the ground, devote time to strengthening your body (sets of 30 abs and 20 glutes for 10 minutes). Whether it's through your favourite yoga poses, Pilates exercises or natural movements. When you take the time to stretch out your body, you’ll improve your overall sense of well-being. Continue for at least ten minutes. Be mindful. Do this for you. Breathe. Enjoy
Also prioritize cycling or walking to get to work (less obvious, telework!) Or do your shopping.
Rose Buddha in your living room: yoga and pilates classes
Organic movement with Annie Langlois
5. Create a Tea Ritual
This might seem obvious, but do you actually do it? Through a few simple acts, you can return to the present moment and calm down those racing thoughts. With a mug of your favourite tea in hand, make yourself comfortable in the sun or next to your plants. Light a candle or some incense. From the moment you boil the water to your last warm sip, a cup of tea provides the perfect opportunity to practise mindfulness in action. As you stay present through every step, smell, flavour and sensation, your tea ritual will become a true refuge, a moment you give to yourself. A gift to you, from you.
Any method will do! You can recite a mantra or positive phrase, or strike a Tibetan bowl again and again, and listen to the sound it makes. Take five to ten moments once a day, or whenever you feel stress building up. Use this time to recentre yourself.
Meditate with Rose Buddha:
7.Rebalance Yourself with Sage
As traditionally practised at several First Nations’ ceremonies, the act of burning sage produces a purifying effect. The word sage comes from the Latin “salgere” which means “to heal.” It is said that sage has the capacity to eliminate negative energy while attracting more positive elements. It can release old memories from your living space and if burned for a long time, eliminate harmful bacteria. In Shamanic purification rituals, white sage, herbs, resins and dried flowers were all used to smudge and neutralize harmful spirits.
- Open your doors and windows to let your space air out.
- Find a highly heat-resistance container – a shell is ideal since it symbolizes water.
- Light the sage leaves or stick, preferably with a match.
- Let it burn for a few seconds and then blow out the flame.
- Set your intention (ask the spirits to go towards the light and leave in peace, drive away negative spirits, or protect your home).
- Walk around your favourite room, or your entire home, including closets, and direct the smoke into all the little corners.
- Immerse yourself in the smoke as though you were taking a shower. Do the same for the objects around you.
- Wait until everything burns away completely, marking the end of the purification process. You can also put out the flame with some water.
- After a few minutes, you should already feel the energy shifting. Scent is the only sense that’s linked to emotion and never turns off. The smoke produces negative ions that have a positive effect on our moods.
We particularly like this visualization exercise: while keeping your attention on your breathing, visualize a place, real or imaginary, where you feel perfectly healthy, comfortable, safe and calm. For 5 minutes, even in calm moments, you have to try to soak up the feelings of well-being that this place provides.
9.Shinrin-yoku, Take a Bath in Nature
Hiking in nature by foot or with your snowshoes as often as possible has beneficial effects on your mental health. While you’re there, take the time to listen to the silence and sounds your surroundings have to offer. Move with mindfulness and use this time to focus on the present moment.
10.Do It Yourself
Arts and crafts, knitting, altering and personalizing your clothes, doing a jigsaw puzzle piece by piece… Any kind of hobby you do with your hands will give you a sense of accomplishment while simultaneously helping to clear your mind. You could also try making your own candles, face scrub or lip balm. And all this is for sure a perfect time for mindfulness 😉
11.Colouring Tibetan Malas
Tibetan Mandalas were originally created out of Yak butter or sand to show that nothing is eternal. The process encompasses both creation and destruction. Some mandalas are illustrated in the form of a labyrinth, signifying life’s challenges, with the center representing the place to aim for, nirvana or the point where we transcend suffering. There are exquisite mandala colouring books that offer you a highly therapeutic break. Let yourself stop, clear your head, choose colours, and unleash your creativity. So good!
12.Read Inspirational Quotes
Begin your day with a reading from a Buddhist quote or inspiring phrase. You can find these in a coffee-table book, a deck of cards or an online app. Reread the text three times, until it takes root inside of you. This ritual will set the tone for the rest of the day and bring you inspiration. Let the phrase return to your heart throughout the day, so it can guide your thoughts and actions.
13.Listen to Symphonies
Take your meal breaks as you listen to one of this world’s many magnificent symphony orchestras. You can choose from free pre-recorded symphonies, or even live performances where each musician plays from the comfort of their own home.
- Orchestre symphonique de Montréal: https://www.osm.ca/en/home-osm/
- Orchestre métropolitain: https://orchestremetropolitain.com/fr/
- Berlin Philharmonic: https://www.berliner-philharmoniker.de/en/
- Chicago Symphony Orchestra: https://cso.org/
- London Symphony Orchestra: https://lso.co.uk/
- Los Angeles Philharmonic: https://www.laphil.com/
- New York Philharmonic: https://nyphil.org/
14.Treat Yourself to a self-massage
Whenever we feel pain or discomfort, we instinctively massage the place that’s bothering us. Without knowing it, we’re practicing self-massage. There are precise techniques and movements that promote overall wellness and stimulate all our body’s major functions. Why not incorporate some self-massage as a ritual to relax and bring muscle relief, even if it’s just for a few minutes. You can start with your face and eyes, and move down to include your shoulders, arms, hands, back, legs and feet.
15.Take a hot bath with essential oils
Sliding into a hot bath (35 to 37.5° Celsius) for 20 to 30 minutes gives you a luxurious opportunity to relax. It’s a great time to choose an essential oil to match what you need and long for. Since these oils don’t naturally dissolve in water, we recommend you mix 10-15 drops into 1 tbsp of soap that will serve as a dispersing agent (Castille soap, foam soap or mild shampoo). Don’t forget to light your organic soy candle to complete your soothing ritual. Let yourself let go and support your head with a towel or cushion. To fully benefit from the aromatic treatment, dry yourself off without rinsing.
- Relaxing Bath: real lavendar, sweet orange, mandarine, Roman camomille
- Soothing Bath: Neroli or bigarade
- Revitalizing Bath: juniper, medicinal rosemary or grapefruit
- Healing Bath (muscle aches): wintergreen or garden marjoram.
(Certain precautions apply to pregnant women).
16.Make a Gratitude List of Five Positive Things
Take a piece of paper and jot down five of life’s simple pleasures that light up your life and make you feel grateful. This is a lovely way to wrap up your day every night before your close your eyes.
17.Read a few pages
Taking the time to read before going to bed - and any routine like that - sends a signal to your brain that you are quietly preparing to doze off.
We take this opportunity to recommend a selection of books that have had a positive impact on the life of Madeleine, co-founder of Rose Buddha.
18.Try Naam Yoga at Bedtime
According to Sharon Melnick: "Applying pressure to the space between the second and third knuckles of the fingers (the knuckles at the base of the index and middle fingers) can help create an instant sense of calm."