Rituals: The Little Things That Enrich Your Life

Rituals: The Little Things That Enrich Your Life

"Rituals are things you do in your life regularly that enrich it, and are often thought to bring a sense of well-being or joy to one's life in small ways."

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In all honesty, I have been lacking the motivation and inspiration to write recently. My life has been busy with school work, social events, and a cappella rehearsals. So obviously, as in any time of crisis or uncertainty, I asked my mom for advice. She suggested writing about the rituals in my life. "Rituals are things you do in your life regularly that enrich it, and are often thought to bring a sense of well-being or joy to one's life in small ways."

It's funny. I wasn't aware that I had let some of my rituals slide in my life until my mom reminded me. Everything really does happen for a reason. I let all those other things clutter up my life and didn't prioritize myself.

In high school, I used to play guitar almost every night before bed. But in college, living with a roommate, and having late night club meetings or rehearsals, I have neglected that passion of mine. I haven't written a song in far too long. I didn't even bring my guitar to school with me last semester because I thought it would take up too much space in my room when in reality other things were taking up too much space in my life. Playing guitar and writing songs has been my emotional outlet ever since I was first exposed to music. Last semester I craved the feeling of relief I felt when I was able to get all my emotions out through song. After a few tough days, all I wanted to do was write but I gave in to the clutter of my schedule.

Another ritual I have been neglecting recently is device-free time. In the past, I used to turn off my phone or computer up to an hour before bedtime. Now, I am either up working or watching tv until the moment I lie down to sleep. Not only have I noticed the impact on the quality of my sleep but also my mood. The more time I spend with technology, the grumpier and more irritable I am. The most difficult thing about this ritual is that while I might do this for myself, other college students usually don't. I sometimes wake up to multiple texts wondering why I wasn't responding last night at 10 o'clock. It is hard to find the balance between being polite and responsive and getting a good night's sleep.

On a more positive note, I have been prioritizing some rituals in my everyday life. I always make coffee in the morning and shower first before anything else. If I don't start my day fresh with a warm shower and yummy trader joe's coffee with almond milk, I can't even begin to think about the other things I must get done. I have also been calling my mom often, sometimes two or three times in one day. Whether it is to tell her something exciting, complain about a class or club, or simply ask about her day, it is always nice to hear her voice on the other end of the phone. And of course, exercise. I don't even think about it anymore. It is built into my day just like any class, dinner plan, or meeting. I can always count on an hour or so of running or strength training to set the tone for the day and lift my mood.

Some of these things may seem extremely simple and some may not seem like rituals at all. However, that is exactly what makes them rituals. They are things that appear to be so routine but without them, our life would be thrown off balance. I am looking forward to working on slowly bringing these rituals back into my life and continuing the ones I already practice. Thank you, Mom, for this simple reminder. You somehow always know what I need to hear.

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs.

In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm...

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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Buying New Clothes Every Month Has Been The Key To Helping Me Become Happy With My Body Again

Loving my body in new outfits has boosted my self image so much.

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Being body-positive has been really hard for me to do throughout 2019, despite there being an overwhelming surge in body-positivity around me, whether through my friends and family or YouTube. I look in the mirror and what I see is someone I want to make a jean size or two smaller like in the past. That being said, I've slowly been coming around to accepting the body I have now, instead of bashing it constantly. A key way I've come to accept the body I'm in now is through buying myself something new every month, like a new T-shirt or a pair of jeans or sneakers that help me see myself in a positive light. When I'm in a new outfit, I feel invincible. I don't think about how pudgy my stomach is, or about the hair I have growing in random places, like my neck or on my nose (yes, not just in, but ON too).

My bank account tends to suffer as of recently because of this, but it's worth it when I can genuinely feel good in what I am wearing every day. I like to wake up and think about how many outfits I can put together, ready to post my #OOTD for Snapchat without caring what anyone thinks. I've let social media dictate how I feel about myself more than I care to admit. I see how perfect all the models are in everything they're wearing from brands I know and love, yet when I try the same thing on, it's a whole different ugly story.

I don't enjoy trying things on to avoid the shame I feel when things don't fit me right, or if something that I thought would flatter me actually makes me look like a sack of potatoes. Instagram has really hurt my body image a lot — enough to make me delete it for a week after one post sent me spiraling. Going through those bumps made me finally realize it's not my fault if something doesn't fit. Sizes range depending on the item, it's the clothing items fault, not mine. Now that I see that, it's easier to brush off something not fitting me as it should. I know my size very well in the stores I frequent the most, so it's easier for me to pick out things I know will look good and not have to worry about the sizing issue.

Buying yourself something new is not something you should limit to every few months or longer. You shouldn't be afraid to go out of your comfort zone price wise every once and a while either. Coupons exist, stories always offer you them when you first sign up to receive emails and even texts. You can be crafty and still get a high price item for less. If you treat yourself to cheap things, you won't feel half as good as you want to. Granted, sticking to a limit is important but there's no shame in going over the limit every once and a while.

I love shopping as much as I love country music and writing short stories — a lot. Yes, I get yelled at almost every time I get something new. I need to save my money for important things, like for my sorority or for medical issues that could suddenly arise, or for utilities at my house next year off campus.

However, my mental well-being is not something I can ignore.

I can't push the good feelings aside to save 30 or 40 bucks a month. I don't want to feel as low as I've felt about myself anymore. I'm tired of feeling sad or angry at who I am, and I want to learn how to accept myself as I am. Buying myself something new, like clothes, is what offers a positive light to view myself under.

Whether you treat yourself to dinner at your favorite restaurant, or to face masks, or to a new movie when it comes out — don't be afraid to do it. Put yourself first and you'll realize your worth and how much you've been ignoring it in the face of poor confidence.

My confidence isn't back up to where it used to be, but it's getting there.

It may not be the most cash efficient method of self-love, but my body positivity is better than it was a few months ago. Aerie and American Eagle have really helped me become happier with my body, and I can't thank them enough for being more inclusive for people like me who are learning to love themselves again in a new body.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel for all of us hoping to promote our own body positivity, and it could all start with a simple purchase from your favorite store after you read this.

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