By Lisa Rickwood
What do Valentine’s Day, Christmas, dating, dinner and a movie and marriage have in common? Rituals. A ritual is defined as ‘any method of doing something in which the details are always faithfully repeated.’
Rituals give life meaning and help us celebrate milestones in our lives. They offer security, stability and routine and a sense of calmness to an otherwise chaotic existence. Rituals date back thousands of years with the ancient Egyptians. Theirs was a culture seeped in traditions. Eating, drinking, bathing, hunting and burying the dead were a succession of rituals.
Over centuries, mankind lost the importance of rites. However, many of us in the 21st century are reconsidering traditions and adding them to our lives as we desperately seek meaning during this increasingly shallow and disconnected time.
If you want to relax, enjoy your life and feel more connected to others, consider adding rites to your life.
SEVEN RITUALS TO IMPROVE YOUR LIFE AND BUSINESS:
1. Create a morning ritual to help you wake up refreshed and ready to tackle your day. You might get up a few minutes early to: read, walk your dog, jog, play an instrument, write, do yoga – it doesn’t matter, just claim this time as your own. That way you have time for yourself and don’t feel resentful if your day is hectic.
2. While you’re working, create a ritual to start your day. This might include: having a coffee at your desk, checking your PDA for appointments, not answering phone calls for 15 minutes while you read and respond to urgent emails. You might also: set an agenda for the day, plan goals for the week…the list is endless.
3. When you’re at the office, find ways to meet colleagues and socialize during a lunch hour instead of running a million errands. Also, if you’re challenged and need help, you’ll have friends that can help you. If you work alone, join a network group that’s conveniently located near you, fits your budget and helps you build business. Make it a ritual to attend the meetings and record your new contacts.
4. Create time saving rituals for work. For example, only check email three times a day, organize your files, file away unused papers as soon as possible; create ‘time boundaries’ where you can’t be interrupted. Close your door, let the message machine take a call and finally, get up and take mini breaks every 90 minutes (for productivity).
5. At the end of a busy work week, designate a night as Movie or board game night with friends or family. If staying home doesn’t excite you, sign up for sports and get out your weekly frustrations. The key is to make time for something special once you complete work; this creates a buffer to ease you through a hectic week as you have something to look forward to doing.
6. Create home rituals to ease into your time off. These rituals may include chores as you play ‘catch-up’ on errands. Be sure to add play to your list. Include ways to decompress, times to exercise, time with your partner, friends, family and time alone.
7. Create self-care rituals that put your needs first. If you think this is selfish, consider the rules on airplanes. Parents have access to oxygen masks before their children so they can care for their family in the event of an emergency. You’re no good to anyone if you’re exhausted, resentful or angry because you don’t have time for yourself. For example, you need to get enough rest, make time for things you enjoy such as: walking, yoga, working out at the gym, playing an instrument, biking, reading, writing…whatever makes you happy.
© 2006 Lisa Rickwood. All rights reserved.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lisa Rickwood, “Small Biz Stress Buster,” is a small business coach, visual artist and author of Escape The Pace: 100 Fun And Easy Ways To Slow Down And Enjoy Your Life and co-author of Power & Soul: 42 Successful Entrepreneurs Share their Secrets for Creating the Business and Life of Their Dreams. She helps small business owners ‘master stress for professional and personal success.’ Get your FREE e-book, 5 Critical Actions That Hurt Your Business and Add Stress to Your Life…and How to Escape Them by visiting: http://www.escapethepace.com