Ruts, Routines & Rituals: Part 2

Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean me first, it means me too.
— L.R. Knost


In part one of this series (click here & catch up if you missed it), I scratched at the surface of what a rut looks like for me. In the simplest terms, when I notice a rut start to root itself in my life it likely started out as a routine, which is simply a sequence of actions that one does repeatedly (habits). For me, a routine has crossed the line to rut when I can no longer deviate from or disrupt the sequence of events - either because I don’t care to or I don’t have energy to put toward it (for me this is synonymous with depression). Now I see a big red flag when my autopilot kicks in - DANGER ZONE - and I know I need to make a shift before the rut roots.

That all sounds great, and simple, right?! Well, hasn’t been quite that easy for me. After all, I’m still getting settled after basically turning my entire life upside down to break out of a long rooted rut by ending a 2+ year relationship and moving out of a 4 bedroom house with a yard & into a tiny downtown apartment. Looking back, do I think such drastic actions could have been avoided if I had recognized the warning signs? Maybe, but who knows - I can’t go back and change how things unfolded, and it’s totally cliche, but I’m certain it all went down like it did for a reason. I learned a lot and grew because of it.

This isn’t to say I don’t have regular routines, of course I do. But in order to keep out of the danger zone and the autopilot switched off, I add some self-care rituals into the mix. This doesn’t mean I spend an insane amount of time cooking up elaborate ceremonies. I prefer small acts that take me out of the day to day grind and create joy. A ritual is really just a routine backed by an intention.

Keep it simple.

During the week it can be a bit tough to deviate from the routine, so keeping it simple is essential. When the weather cooperates, I like to extend Evie’s walk by hopping over the bridge to the sculpture garden or stopping at the at the dog park and attempt to teach her how to be a less awkward dog. Spending more active time with her brings me joy and also builds our bond. Another quick weekday ritual is shutting off the TV, brewing some tea, and enjoying some silent, screenless time reading or just getting in more doggo snuggles before bed - using this quiet time to take what I need from the day has helped transform my sleeping habits.

Weekends are sacred.

My weekends typically have space for more ceremonious rituals, and by ceremonious I mean I can take my damn time to do whatever I want. I make the most of this by listening to myself and taking exactly what I need.

Weekend morning ritual:

  • Evie willing, sleep in until 8am

  • Wake up slow with pup cuddles

  • Long walk enjoying the quiet city morning

  • Turn on some tunes and make breakfast while having a little dance party

  • Brew coffee, froth oat milk, attempt latte art (and fail, it usually just looks like a booty)

  • Sit down to enjoy breakfast and maybe do a little meal planning (I love paging through my cookbooks for new eats)

  • Get ready for the day

Weekend afternoons are all about GSD - typically meaning errands, apartment chores, and side hustle work.

Weekend evening ritual (at least 1 night is spent recharging):

  • #1 favorite ritual is to pour a glass of wine (or tea), light some candles, turn on the tunes or a podcast, turn down the lights and draw a bath with epsom salt, essentials oils, & bubble bath

  • Layer in a more time consuming grooming ritual like a face masks, deep hair conditioning, dry brushing or self-mani/pedi

  • Grab a tasty treat - maybe a whole pint of non-dairy ice cream - and watch a guilty pleasure show (yes, I still watch Grey’s Anatomy) or movie

I intentionally protect my time on weekends so I can do things like this. Hell, I am even GREEDY with my time and I don’t feel any guilt about it. I friggin’ deserve to do whatever I want, however I want, when I need to. Self-care rituals aren’t selfish, they are essential for health and well-being. I am a much better human when I take the time to take care of myself. You’re welcome, world!

Take a few deep breaths and consider your daily routines. If you are feeling any stuckness or boredom take time to identify what you need and create some self-care rituals that help you meet those needs. The rituals can be as simple or complex as you need them to be - you do you, boo!
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