Nearly 1 in 3 American adults will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year. 46 percent of Americans will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life, and half of those people will develop conditions by the age of 14.
In the past year 56% (27 million) of adults with mental illness did not receive any mental health treatment. And 7.74% (19 million) of US adults had a Substance Use Disorder.
In this blog post, I explore why daily rituals are important for mental health and provide some examples to inspire you.
One of the ways we can look within is to examine our daily rituals and tune them up. In our fast-paced and chaotic world, finding stability and balance is crucial for maintaining our mental health. While therapy, medication, and self-care practices play significant roles, incorporating daily rituals into our lives can be a powerful tool to nurture our mental well-being.
We’re creatures of habit and usually we feel most comfortable when we know what to expect and can follow a plan or schedule. That’s not to say we don’t all love spontaneity and a good surprise!
Simple routines to organize your day include:
- Wake up the same time every day
- Shower as if you were going out
- Dress for the day (even in casual and comfortable attire)
- Eat meals at regular times
- Keep to a daily schedule of exercise
- Limit your use of electronic devices or TV time
- Go to bed at the same time each night
Here are 6 ways you can use daily rituals to enhance your well-being and performance.
1. Create Stability and Structure
Life can often feel overwhelming, leading to stress, anxiety, and other mental health challenges. Daily rituals provide a sense of stability and structure in our lives, offering a calming anchor amidst the chaos.
These can be as minor as an alarm clock ringing at a consistent time (mine at 5 a.m.) to start our day, and the routines that follow from there with showering, brushing teeth, dressing, exercise and a nourishing breakfast before we’re on the way to our remote or in-office workplaces.
By establishing a routine, we bring predictability and order to our days, reducing uncertainty and creating a sense of control.
Starting each day with a few moments of mindful meditation can set a positive tone for the rest of the day. It helps cultivate a peaceful mindset and increases our ability to handle stress.
I personally use the Headspace App for this but can also recommend the Calm App.
Dedicate a specific time each day to reflect on your thoughts, emotions, and experiences through journaling. This practice can help clarify your feelings, reduce anxiety, and promote self-awareness. I created the Goals, Grit and Greatness Planner as a place where you can do daily goal-setting and journaling
2. Cultivate Mindfulness and Present-Moment Awareness
In our fast-paced society, it’s easy to get caught up in worries about the future or dwelling on the past. Daily rituals that promote mindfulness and present-moment awareness can be invaluable for mental health. By focusing on the here and now, we cultivate a deeper connection with ourselves and our surroundings, fostering a greater sense of calm and inner peace.
Take the time to savor your meals, paying attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of each bite. This practice not only promotes healthier eating habits but also allows for moments of mindfulness and gratitude.
Set aside a specific time each day to go for a walk in nature. Engage your senses, observe the beauty around you, and appreciate the present moment. This simple ritual can reduce stress, improve mood, and increase feelings of connectedness.
3. Nourish Self-Care and Emotional Well-being
Daily rituals that prioritize self-care and emotional well-being are essential for maintaining a healthy mindset. Engaging in activities that bring us joy, relaxation, and comfort allows us to recharge, reduce stress, and enhance our overall mental well-being.
Dedicate time each day to engage in a creative outlet that brings you joy, such as painting, writing, playing music, or crafting. These activities can promote self-expression, boost self-esteem, and provide a sense of accomplishment.
Set boundaries for technology use by establishing screen-free rituals. Unplugging from electronic devices for a certain period each day can help reduce stress, improve sleep quality, and increase productivity.
4. Enhance Physical Health and Sleep
Physical health and mental well-being are deeply interconnected. Daily rituals that prioritize physical activity, nutrition, and quality sleep have a profound impact on our mental health. By taking care of our bodies, we can improve our mood, reduce anxiety and depression, and increase our resilience to stress.
Incorporate regular physical activity into your daily schedule. Whether it’s a workout at the gym, yoga, a brisk walk, or dancing to your favorite tunes, exercise releases endorphins, boosts energy levels, and improves overall well-being.
Establish a relaxing bedtime routine that signals your body and mind that it’s time to unwind. Disconnect from electronic devices, engage in calming activities like reading or taking a warm bath, and create a sleep-friendly environment to ensure restful nights.
5. Generate A Sense of Accomplishment
Rituals typically have a beginning and an end. We plan our day and time around being able to prioritize them and accomplish the most important tasks of the day for ourselves and our families.
Rituals let us know how we are doing. Even minor routines like the way you dress if working remotely can have a big impact, making you feel like you’re on your best game.
6. Signal to Others How We’re doing
Rituals can create a positive level of stress that are indications to people around us of how we are doing. With no routine, we can easily slip into negative thought patterns and behaviours such as procrastination, avoidance, isolation, fear, anxiety and depression that don’t represent our best mental health.
Rituals indicate to others how we’re doing and the mental health impact of what we’re experiencing. This could signal a need for help that a loved one, friend or mental health worker may provide.
Make Your Rituals Part of An Everyday Wellness Journey
Incorporating daily rituals into our lives can transform our mental health. By providing stability, cultivating mindfulness, nurturing self-care, and enhancing physical health, these rituals enable us to navigate life’s challenges with greater resilience and grace.
Remember, it’s the small, consistent actions that create lasting change. Start by incorporating one or two rituals into your daily routine, and observe how they positively influence your mental well-being. Then introduce some more. With time and commitment, these rituals will become an integral part of your journey towards holistic mental wellness. #LookAroundLookWithin