Over the years my mornings have changed considerably. Once upon a time the morning routine consisted of a quick shower, a gulped cup of coffee, and putting my face on (that’s how I thought of putting make-up on!). Nowadays, there is quiet time with lemon tea, a coffee with journal writing, a check through any plans for the day, and eventually the actual getting ready for the day – wash, clothes etc.
I was remembering how it felt to rush off to work, and wondering if my mornings are simply an indulgence, now that I don’t have to rush.
But I think there is a bigger distinction between those mornings than just time taken. I used to have a routine – etymologically that means an automatic, mechanical way of doing things – and it got me out of the house on time. Now I have everyday rituals – etymologically rituals are a sacred act, with intention.
This distinction between routine and ritual is important because it is about choosing to imbue an activity with meaning rather than just doing it automatically. For example, your shower can be just what you do to clean yourself, or it can be a way of refreshing yourself ready for a new day.
Having everyday rituals helps us to punctuate our days with ways of refreshing, re-energising, or allowing ourselves to rest, and consciously using them for that purpose enriches their effect.
‘This is my wake-up cup of coffee.’
‘That spritz of perfume/cologne means I’m ready for what comes next.’
’The 5 minute walk round the garden is my time to re-energise.’
‘Reading a few pages of my book gets me ready to sleep.’
By connecting particular activities with an effect and saying so to ourselves, we give ourselves an easy way of achieving that effect.
So don’t have routines – they’re boring – but do have everyday rituals – they enrich your life.