By Erin Hanafy, originally posted on Well+Good
How are those New Year’s intentions going? Ritualizing your goal might just be the answer.
Now, hear us out—when we say “ritual,” we don’t mean casting spells or chanting underneath the moon. (Though if that’s your jam…) “Rituals are intentions that you turn into actions,” explains Lavinia Errico, founder of Equinox gyms—yes, that Equinox!—and chief wellness officer at natural skin-care line Sonäge. “At the core of adopting rituals is an intent to experience the moment.”
She adds that rites are especially powerful when they involve self-care—the area of life that, for most of us, falls to the wayside when life gets busy. “Practicing self-care rituals creates mindfulness and brings balance into your life,” says Errico, who notes that dropping the wellness ball (obviously) has some nasty side effects.
“When we stop prioritizing self-care, everything else follows suit—your confidence is depleted, your energy is zapped, you may break out or look worn out. You need to consciously control routine lifestyle activities, like maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercising, daily care for your skin, and quiet time,” she says.
So what does a self-care ritual look like? Errico has shared her favorite daily, weekly, and monthly practices here. There’s hope for your resolutions yet!
The easiest way to become your own self-care guru is to put intention behind something you’re already doing each day— something as simple as preparing your morning cup of coffee or tea.
One of my daily rituals is a hot shower when I get home at the end of the day. I visualize washing away any negative energy from my day, cleanse my skin with a gentle, hydrating cleanser, and I end with a 45-second cold rinse to renew and rejuvenate. Anything that isn’t in line with my vision for myself goes down the drain. It’s the perfect way to clear my head and feel thankful.
Once you have incorporated some daily rituals and it feels like a natural part of your life, it’s a good time to add in a weekly ritual, as well. Mine is a healing bath I like to take on Sunday evenings, to really set myself up for what’s to come in the week ahead.
As with any ritual, the first step is to set your intention. I imagine the bath filling me up with gratitude and drawing out toxins.
My weekly ritual includes Sonäge’s Gommage Exfoliating Gel, which leaves my skin renewed and brightened, as well as lavender bath salts. Their aromatherapy qualities relax my senses and they’re known to treat acne, relieve muscle aches, and remedy headaches. You can also steep an ounce of dried white sage leaves in a cup of water and add it to your bath for an extra relaxing effect.
Light a few candles, turn on a guided meditation or music you love, and try to focus on being present for at least 30 minutes. You’ll end the bath with a clear head and energy for the week ahead.
People often think that in order to have a truly relaxing experience, they need to go to a spa, head out on vacation or attend a remote yoga retreat. While all these things are great, if you have true autonomy in your self-care, you can learn to recreate those same effects in your day-to-day life.
Once a month, grab a journal and spend a few hours with your shoes off, feeling the grass in your own backyard. Don’t have a backyard? Take a trip to your local park or beach. Before you start journaling, shut off your phone. You’ll be shocked at how easy it can be to get your creative juices flowing when you take a digital detox.
There is no real format for what comes next—just start writing and see what shows up on the paper. A free write can be a great path toward self-discovery, coping with emotions and freeing up headspace. Recording your personal experiences brings an elevated sense of awareness, mindfulness and balance to your life.
Gommage is a gentle, non-abrasive dual purpose gel that exfoliates and hydrates. It eliminates dead skin cells and impurities and refines the skin’s texture – leaving it clean, fresh and velvety smooth.