Next Monday it is — our September 23rd autumnal equinox — which interestingly may cause us to focus on rituals of self-care this time of year, the start of a new cycle when we take stock similarly to the way we do at New Year’s. The concept of rituals focusing on self-care may indeed ring a welcome bell, as it’s something almost all of us can really use right about now with this year’s fall season — especially after the wear and tear of such a hot summer.
Yes, it takes time and effort to develop (or restart) rituals for taking care of our own bodies. Since it’s difficult to find time during the day with our obligations, our early mornings or evenings usually become the best time to create and practice self-care rituals.
Where to begin? Let’s take a moment to ensure you have a successful start to your day. One way is to create a set of activities that feel really good to you yourself: physical or mental activities, something that’s “all about me — self-care!” It’s too easy over time to have lost track of those activities that make us feel our best.
So, in the spirit of a successful fall season — and in an effort to help you find your own best practices — I’ve assembled a selection of successful early morning self-care activities. It’s all too easy to lose track of those things that make us feel our best. I chose for myself a few from the list that follows:
- Wake with the sun and spend quiet time absorbing nature, either out your window or mentally. I gaze out my window at the sky, treetops, and birds flying by. Then I check the weather with Alexa, and ask her to play my grandson’s music on Amazon for the rhythm behind my “in bed” exercises.
- Jot down some notes in your gratitude journal. (Of course you have one!)
- Read for inspiration or pleasure.
- Tickle your mind with word or number puzzles — any kind of stimulating puzzles. My own choices swap between Sudoku one day and mahjong on TV the next.
- Move. Yoga, stretches, a walk, bicycle, swim, what have you. (I include my in-bed-and-out exercises here. Us retirees give ourselves leeway, just so we’re moving.)
- Play with your pets.
- Take time for art or music. (Your colored pencils and coloring book await.)
- Commune with your garden. Or potted plants.
- Soak in that bath you never seem to get to before bed.
- And fit this in wherever best for you: Find a quiet spot for that first cup of coffee — or hot tea.
Creating 15 minutes of dedicated self-care can set a better tenor for your day. And if the evening is the better time for you, many of the above work just as well then, if that’s your pleasure.
I hope we all get to enjoy a lovely fall season, especially if we get some cool, bright-sky days in which to gaze at warm–colored leaves on beautiful trees, fields that look like they’re resting after the successful crops are in … and that your life is enriched by a thing or two done for yourself — no matter how busy you are — just for yourself.
Ann Burnside Love, who writes from Frederick, thanks an anonymous friend for suggested self-care activities. Reach her at email@example.com.