How to create healthy rituals for a stress-free year
Some days, I feel like I’ve stumbled into a bad Disney movie. You know the one: where the quirky, head-in-the-clouds protagonist is forced to live the same day over and over again, until she finally does that one thing that breaks the cycle and teaches her the importance of friendship. Or family. Or whatever lesson will get the most views.
This is how 2022 sometimes feels - like I’m reliving 2020 over and over again, trying to learn some insightful lesson so I can move on. When I feel like this, I remind myself of two things:
1) I am not a Disney heroine, nor am I living in a Groundhog Day-sequel reality.
2) It is the beginning of a new year. Anything can happen.
Honestly, I love this time of year. It’s a season of unlimited potential, a chance to refresh your habits and start working on new resolutions. And this year, my resolution is to prioritize self-care and create stress-busting, healthy rituals that will last longer than the first two months of 2022. Here are the apps, tips, books and products that have been helping me achieve that resolution:
Start small for big changes
The idea of prioritizing self-care, especially during a pandemic, can seem overwhelming, which is why I’ve been reading Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Onesby James Clear. (If you don’t have time to read the book, the author gives a great talk about it here.) According to Clear, we don’t need to implement significant changes to see results. Often, small but consistent improvements lead to the biggest changes. If you aim to get just 1% better at your goal everyday, you’ll see exponential growth over time.
There are some great Ted Talks about this topic, too. If you have 11 minutes, I especially liked Christine Carter’s talk called The 1 Minute Secret to Forming a New Habit, where she outlines how forming new habits aren’t about willpower, they’re about allowing yourself to be bad at something.
Forming self-care rituals
Self-care looks different to different people. It can mean taking a yoga class, meditating, reading a good book, hiking, taking a walk, making time to see friends or maybe just getting outside once a day. For me, self-care means making time for myself - even if it’s just five minutes a day - to just breathe. This year, I’m trying hard to create morning and evening rituals that allow me to take a bit more of time for myself.
My morning ritual:
Every morning, I aim to do at least five minutes of meditation. I find guided meditation works best, which is why I use the insight timer app. The app has over 100,000 guided meditations, as well as live yoga sessions and sleep-focused meditations. It’s free to install, but has in-app purchases.
Meditating in a busy home isn’t easy, which is why I try to create a relaxing atmosphere with the help of a few Ellbe products. Before I start, I’ll light a Palo Santo incense stick to clear the space and bring in positive energy. The citrusy, frankincense scent is great for a burst of freshness in the morning.
Palo Santo, an aromatic wood, has been used as healing incense for thousands of years. I love that the wood is sustainably harvested from the forests of Ecuador and Peru using only deadwood, and involves no logging.
I also use my newest product before meditating, an essential oil roll-on that helps reduce stress and encourage relaxation. Scents include lavender, mandarin, frankincense, rose geranium and ginger.
My evening ritual:
Full disclosure, this doesn’t actually happen every evening, but I’m working towards making it a consistent routine. Once the dishes are done and my son is in bed, I try to head to the tub for a quick soak. This is a great time to catch up on some audio books while relaxing. I love using Ellbe’s Detox Bath Salts for their calming effect. I specifically used lavender as this scent helps get your body get ready for sleep. The rose extract in this product also helps soothe skin irritations, making it a win-win.
To set the mood, I’ll light a candle or some Palo Alto sticks. For an added elegant flair, check out Ellbe’s Ocean Breeze candles, which are hand-poured 100% natural soy wax candles made with pure essential oils.
Organizing the chaos
It’s hard to focus on self-care when I’m constantly worried about missing events and forgetting important dates. This year, I’m working on organizing my daily schedule to help manage stress. Using my Google calendar (which can sync with my husband’s) was a great first step. I’m also a fan of Miro, an online whiteboard that allows others to easily comment and collaborate on your board. If you’re not a fan of digital tools, I highly recommend the Quarterly Goal Planner, a calendar that allows you to plan and track your goals in three-month periods.
Taking small steps for a big result
Creating healthy rituals doesn’t have to be a time-consuming, overwhelming task. The right tools and products help us work on ourselves a tiny bit each day, leading to impressive changes by the end of the year. To check out these self-care products and more, visit our store.