Your routine (or the lack of one) can make or break your entire day. I found this out the hard way when I graduated from college and lost my footing. It was time to close one chapter and start another—but instead of doing so gracefully, I completely fell off and neglected both my mental and physical health. Fortunately, I soon found my footing again and am confident in a stable future… all thanks to a simple concept.
Find Your Grounding
Life is unpredictable and ever-changing. But that’s not to say that you can’t create and ensure some form of stability, even on the toughest days. Licensed Professional Counselor and Marriage and Family Therapist Ginean Crawford explains that all you need are a few strong bases:
“As a table needs four legs to stand with stability, so do we need (at least) four main pillars in our daily lives that are consistent and unchanging despite the circumstances. Each individual should reflect on what creates grounding while going throughout the day, independent of the changes that occur throughout the day. The question one should ask oneself is: even if my entire world fell apart today, which four areas or which four rituals do I need to complete to give me the best chance at dealing with whatever life has to give?
For some, the four pillars may be prayer, food with fuel, a nap, and physical touch with a loved one. For others, it may be exercise, a support group meeting, cleaning one drawer in the house, and journaling one reason to be grateful. The rituals that will ground are unique to the individual. The key is: once these four rituals are defined, one must intentionally commit to completing these rituals no matter what. Just do it. The commitment to at least follow through in these four areas must be solid on the best days, worst days, and all the days in between. This enables consistency, structure, and a sense of accomplishment that is not dependent upon the feelings of the day, but rather is about the doing of hard things, despite hard days. Moreover, if there are 50 problems in a day, at least there is the certainty that there are not 50 plus four problems.”
4 Simple Rituals to Consider
There are a multitude of rituals you can incorporate into each day, which will prove to positively affect your mental health and overall wellbeing—but here are five of those rituals that are backed by the pros:
1) Practice self-recognition.
Sarah McVanel, a certified coach and human resources professional, says you should “practice self-recognition every day. Pull out a piece of paper, post-it, or open Evernote, and the first thing you notice you did well, record it! Not only can you go back to this on days you’re not feeling resilient and low, it starts every day off well when you create an intention to notice your greatness every day.”
2) Set intentions for the day.
Mindset and Business Coach Tina Lensing’s advice is to set your intentions for each day: “Make one statement: show me _____ today. I fill this in with my intention for the day. That may be business growth, self-love, pleasure, connection, abundance, or any other word that I’m desiring to experience. When I set this intention, then throughout the day, I find evidence (focus, really) of how my intention is coming true bit-by-bit.”
3) Do a five-minute cleanup.
“One daily ritual that can help an individual is to implement a five-minute cleanup before going to bed,” says Psychotherapist and Parenting Coach Joy Acaso. “Use those five minutes to pick up what you couldn’t while you were in the morning rush. Ensure that all trash are put away. Dirty clothes are placed in the hamper. Cups used from the night before are in the dishwasher. It clears your space so that you are ready to go to bed in a calmer state.”
4) Practice mindfulness.
Dr. Carl Sheperis, Program Dean for the College of Social Sciences, University of Phoenix and Chair of the Board for the National Board for Certified Counselors, recommends that you incorporate mindfulness into each day, as it’s something you can do anywhere—even at work! “When you are at work, you can take one-minute mindfulness breaks right at your desk. Close your computer screen and take a few deep breaths. Recognize any tension in your muscles and imagine them relaxing. Pay attention to any thoughts going through your mind and give them some space to exist. At the same time, think of something positive.”