The Magic of Rituals: There’s nothing like a good ritual or two to help us stay emotionally and physically in balance.
For those who are not quite sure what I mean when I say, “ritual,” please allow me to define it for you. A ritual is “a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, actions, or objects, performed according to a set sequence.” Oh, and boy are they important right about now.
For starters, rituals often provide a structure for stability. In fact, we take comfort in rituals, and many of us are unaware of just how many rituals we participate in:
- A birthday is a ritual
- A wedding is a ritual
- An anniversary is a ritual
Those are classics, and each of these rituals will put smiles on our faces. There are other rituals you probably grew up with, and you may have forgotten. When I was a kid, my family would gather to watch the Wonderful World of Disney on Sundays. What a nice ritual that was. As we get older, we unconsciously slip into other rituals. Perhaps you’re a runner, a swimmer, a spinner, a lifter, or a cyclist. Workouts are certainly a prime example of rituals, and the more we make them a routine, the more likely we are to succeed at them. Religious events, summer vacations, the observance of major holidays; these are all examples of the almost endless list of rituals.
I hope we’re in agreement that rituals are necessary, and they tend to boost our spirits and enforce our sense of discipline. But there is one, rather simple ritual that appears to be getting lost during this pandemic, and ironically, it is one we should be paying particular attention to, especially when we are struggling.
As more and more of us adapt to working at home, we have begun to realize there are some amazing perks that come with it: Less time commuting, a more comfortable work environment, reduced stress, and more. However, a casualty of working from home is the loss of a significant ritual: the weekend!
When you were a kid, what did you think of when you heard the word “weekend?” Weekends meant freedom. They meant a step away from work, or school, and two days when we could engage in activities that made us happy. As adults, how can we bring that same enthusiasm to our weekends now?
- Maybe you began every weekend with a martini. So, get out the olives and shake away!
- Maybe you liked to stay up late. So, figure out a fun reason to stay up late!
- Maybe you went out to dinner, or cooked something you loved to eat. So, bring in something special to eat, or cook or barbecue something you love!
- Maybe you parked your homework in a corner, and read a book you loved reading. So, stay away from your desk, and read a book!
Yes, a weekend is a ritual, and it’s an important one because we need that pause. We need that ritual because it represents a pause in our lives, regardless of the blurred line between work and play.
One of the first signs of depression is the abandonment of rituals. Leading the charge is often an indifference to weekends.
I have always liked ending the emails I send on Fridays with the tagline, “Have a nice weekend!” As we started spending more time at home, I started to get pushback from a few of my friends and clients who would say this: “The weekend is just another day of the week now.” What? I’ve now started ending many of my Friday emails with this adjusted tagline: “Have a nice weekend, and yes, I still celebrate weekends!”
If you want to have the energy and drive to keep pushing forward, you’re going to need to keep recharging your battery. In order to do that, you just can’t ignore weekends and so many other of your well-honed rituals! To keep your weekends special, let yourself sleep a little later like you used to. Get back to saving your weekend clothes for the weekend, create a date night, eat ice cream, tend to your garden, and for goodness sakes, have a great weekend… because yes, you still celebrate weekends!!
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