It’s my opinion that by the time we are thirty, we need two hours a day of self care; if that isn’t in place, we will be feeling it somewhere, either emotionally, or physically, or both.
A daily self care ritual has so many benefits for psychological and bodily wellness, and we’ll assume here that you’ve already bought into the idea, and want some practical tips on getting started.
The physical benefits all come from the fact that this practice enhances circadian rhythms, and helps to turn off the sympathetic nervous system.
Here is my LA Yoga article, which outlines more of the psychospiritual benefits of a daily self care ritual.
Tip 1 - do YOU.
A morning ritual is varied and individual. For example, mine includes a hot cup of chai, watching the sunrise, taking customized herbs, intention-setting at my altar, chanting, meditation, and sometimes a morning stretch. That’s a lot for some and an easy routine for others. What matters is that it’s my best fit now.
As long as your self-care ritual cultivates pleasant feelings and includes an opportunity to examine your thoughts, decisions and feelings, you’re golden. This could look like journaling, sun salutes, staring at the clouds over a hot tea, or an austere ashtanga practice; it just has to feel nourishing to you, on that morning or evening.
Tip 2 - at least 30 minutes
I’d recommend setting aside 30 minutes at minimum, for at least one of your morning or evening self-care times. An hour is best to not feel rushed (and not feeling rushed is important for your mind and body).
Morning is the most fertile time of day for all spiritual and subtle energetic body shifts. Your morning routine allows you to set the tone of the day, as opposed to the day’s events setting your tone.
Tip 3 - have a “Plan B” version
We all have variations in our day-to-day lives necessitate adjustments. However, when you get out of your routine, it’s easy to landslide into not showing up for it. I have a five-minute version of my morning routine (chai, altar) that allows me to be flexible but still feel like I showed up, allowing me to anchor my rhythms.