I know the title confused you. But I’m not talking about the boring and monotonous routines we follow in our lives absent-mindedly. Nah! Not that!!
These are different and you’ll see why and how.
Routines are usually a series of activities that we carry out regularly over a period so much so that they become habits. Rituals are also very similar to routines however they are usually referred to in religious contexts. Yet, they could also be indicating any task or a series of activities that aid our well-being.
Rituals and routines can be as small and simple as reading a book before going to bed or can be an elaborate sequence of tasks one might do at the beginning of the day for good health. Now, these things might still look not so special and different from anything else that we may do on a normal day. But, when we look closely, we can notice that engaging in a few activities out of all the things we do, gives us a sense of satisfaction and we look forward to doing them though there’s nothing really special about them.
This is because we invest a special interest in them. We do them mindfully.
The subtle difference between the annoying monotony of a few tasks and the feeling of fulfillment and satisfaction of a few other tasks is the focus we put into accomplishing them.
We are normally oblivious to it, but the fact lies that these things that we do regularly and how we do them have the ability to influence our moods and feelings. They are also known to alleviate stress and also improve cognitive activities.
When we attach special importance to an action or stress the need of doing it, we become alert and pay more attention to it. It also activates certain parts of our brain that help us process our thoughts and emotions more efficiently. Also, because routines and rituals are a series of activities that essentially should be done in a particular order sometimes, it demands us to be fully present in the situation and apply our mind entirely to things that are happening in front of us.
This shows that these tasks emphasize mindfulness which also a very effective tool for stress reduction. The satisfaction we feel after completing a task comes from mindfully and whole-heartedly paying attention to it. And because they involve several steps that follow one after the other, it enhances our concentration, increases attention span, and critical thinking.
Engaging in routine activities and rituals is also known to reduce anxieties and other related disorders. This is because these activities do not leave space for any other thoughts to wander in our heads while we are occupied with something else.
Apart from this, following these activities brings discipline to our lives. Consistently doing them for a particular duration also makes us feel confident and capable in ourselves. It acts as a great boost to our self-esteem.
It is also a great idea to do these routines with other people. That way, it helps one create stronger and deeper bonds with people. They can serve as a source of motivation and encouragement for each other. It also gives us a sense of order and control in our lives.
In the recent past, I have come across so many people who emphasize having certain routines in a day like a morning routine or a night routine consisting of some activities that they do mostly for their wellbeing. Honestly, I never understood the point of these elaborate processes.
But later, when I casually started doing a few things that I really enjoyed doing or just for myself and the happiness they give me, it struck me that this was the ritual and routine these people keep talking about! And I must agree, that they are truly beneficial and transformative.
For example, I made it a habit to clear all the clutter around me, create a to-do list and arrange everything I needed for the next day and finally read a book for some time before I go to bed. This was a small “routine” I created for myself. I follow it as often as I can and it surely makes me feel so much better and productive than on days that I don’t do this. I felt so much more grounded and calm. It is like a form of self-care and a much-needed break we need in a day of continuous hustle.
You could also create a routine like this for yourself inclusive of things that you like to do and see how it adds to your life. You won’t regret the experience, I’m sure!
It’s so strange how the smallest and the most simple things we do or that are present around us can solve and better our lives manifold and yet we don’t pay so much attention to them.
I always say this but it so very important to give the simple things a try whole-heartedly and an opportunity to bring in the transformation they are truly capable of bringing about. It is the apprehension that they are too simple to change anything that keeps us from even attempting. Even if we attempt sometimes, it is our lack of trust that stops anything from working out.
We need to remember at all times that it is very essential to understand the underlying intent of following any ritual or routine and that is when we can reap its benefits fully. Following them blindly and mindlessly would not serve any purpose!!
So I strongly recommend that you try out setting a small routine for yourself consisting of tasks that you enjoy doing however small they may be and you would see for yourself how liberating they can make you feel.
And finally, you know why routines are good for us. It’s not the routine itself but the fact that we do not pay sufficient attention to the tasks that make them boring. But I understand that it is not always possible to do these things at our own pace given how we are always rushing from one thing to the other in a day.
I hope this helps you out in some way or the other and that you experience the real liberating feeling these routines are capable of giving us.
Thank you so much for reading through this and I will see you next week with another article like this one.
Until then… Toodles!!