One night in Mexico, my friend Alicia said something that I have never forgotten. "You can just be the person you want to be." She was talking about how she wanted to be a "better Christian" and then someone told her to just do the things she knew would make her a better Christian. It wasn't rocket science. That is something that has stuck with me for a long time, but it struck me again shortly after my 27th birthday.
As I enter my late twenties, I am more fundamentally aware of who I am as a person. I feel like, for the first time, I am really, deeply in my bones aware of who Lauren is. And that feels incredible. But with that, comes the realization, just as deeply in the same bones, of what I am lacking as a human. I've always known that I am a structure-loving person, but it's become very clear in the last few years, that I truly thrive in consistency. Spontaneity is important, of course, but I am more wholly fulfilled in the parameters of a routine. This is why I love school so much - the schedules and the strict due dates! Oh my heart! This is why I would 100% rather travel with a mostly full itinerary in my possessions. This is why I am the over-communicator of all details to every person ever.
Lauren + Routine = Happiness.
In the past year, I think I have orbited outside this happy place a little bit more than normal. I haven't quite pinned down why yet. Maybe it was because I was navigating a new job or a new relationship or a bit of a new community or a new house. Ok there was a lot of variables that likely contributed to why I have been feeling a little off balance. Sure, I have the routine routine going on - work in the morning, a work out (but more realistically the intention to work out) after work, a few nightly commitments here and there, and so on. But I think overall, my life lacks certain rituals that I think would be beneficial in my life. Rituals, in my opinion, are the tiny details, the everyday little things that contribute to a daily routine.
So what rituals am I wanting to incorporate in my life? That's a good question. It's one I've been thinking about for a few days. It is exciting - knowing that I can choose what kind of routine I want, what kind of person I want to be. I am in full control.
Most of the things I will write about in this post are things I'm adding to my morning or evening routine. This is mainly because I want to start the morning better and end the night better. I know I need to figure out a few other daily rituals as well - but those are for another post.
These rituals are not "resolutions" I am trying to keep. I think of them as habits that I am trying to form. I want them to be so ingrained in my being that they just come naturally to me.
Wake up at 6:30am each morning // I actually normally do this, but I lay in bed on my phone so it's what I do after I rise that will make the difference.
Sit down for breakfast and/or coffee each morning at my dining room table // This is something a friend always does in the morning that I've always been interested in. SO many mornings I wake up with plenty of time to sit and have a semi-slow breakfast, but somehow I find myself going through Starbucks as I rush into the office. Dumb. This ritual saves me money and also will improve my mental state in the morning. I also can use this time to read or flip through Social Media (which, you'll see below, is something I am not going to do upon rising anymore).
Take a vitamin(s) // I need to do some research on what vitamins I need to be taking...but I bought a daily supplement that I am going to start each day with.
Intake something other than social media in the morning before I scroll through Instagram or Facebook // Over and over I read about the benefits of not immediately heading to Social Media upon rising. I want to also get better about reading my Bible, so perhaps I can put that on my nightstand and turn there in the morning. Or, on a less spiritual note, I can even flip through a novel I need to get through for a few minutes. Just something to jumpstart my brain that is NOT mindless scrolling through photos that answer the unimportant "I wonder what everyone was up to last night" question I wake up with on the brain.
A note: I need to read The Sleep Revolution because I think this book will add a lot more rituals to my list. But here's what I came up with sans Arianna's advice.
Wash my face and put on night cream every night // My reputation with nightly skincare is shotty. I have become the girl who uses makeup wipes on a good night and SLEEPS WITH MAKEUP ON most nights. This is repulsive and so terrible for my skin. And I have the acne to show for it. A full face-wash and night cream oughta improve my skin at least a little bit.
Use essential oils // I have been and will continue to rub Lavender on the soles of my feet to help me relax. Sometimes I go to bed with a slight headache from the day (tension, yikes) and instead of popping Ibuprofen and then hitting the sack, I am going to use essential oils to try and alleviate the pain instead. I am not a full-blown oil addict, and trust me I am still going to be the girl that carries a travel size Advil bottle literally everywhere I go. But something about using a natural remedy before I doze off is more settling to me. I'm an essential oils noob - but these are two things I've heard make a big difference.
Fall asleep thinking, not scrolling or watching // Part of the reason I have such a tough time falling asleep has GOT to be that I try to shut my brain off after being stimulated by Social Media and/or TV. This cannot be helpful. I'm not planning to meditate or do anything life-altering...but I do want to feel more peaceful as I drift off.
I just realized that these are things that most functioning adults do on a regular basis. Yikes. Who cares though, this is my chance to start creating habits that will hopefully my days from beginning to end. I need to think of a few more rituals to cling to during the day - and perhaps some that aren't daily but still find their way into my routine. I'll keep you posted on those.
What are some of your rituals? What am I missing?