A lot of self-help gurus talk about creating habits. That’s good, but the terminology is kind of cold and flat. You make a habit of doing things that you have to do. And some things should be habits, because they make you productive or healthy. When it comes to self-care, especially for managing my mental health, I prefer to create joyful rituals instead. It gives it a ring of spirituality, or fun, of doing something because you want to, not because you need to.
Yeah, the phrase “joyful rituals” is kind of twee. It works, it’s accurate, but it’s also the term that I pulled straight off of whatever list of self-care advice I was mining. Maybe I shouldn’t be cynical. Perhaps there’s some value to adopting this sort of verbiage. It certainly couldn’t hurt to have a little more Adam West – Batman ‘66 cheesy optimism, some Mr. Rogers gentility, and a touch of Bob Ross calm.
Create Joyful Rituals to Make Your Life Less Stressful
There are steps that I take to transition in and out of work mode. I’ve made it a ritual to change the music and the lighting, to get comfortable, and to meditate before and after chunks of time dedicated to specific projects. It helps me to get into a proper frame of mind. I get excited about what I’m about to work on. It’s joyful.
Ultimately, I think the habit I need to cultivate right now is a positive and optimistic outlook. It’s difficult. I can make excuses and justify my grumpiness. That’s the path of least resistance. People are suffering, things are terrible, I’m in physical pain, and most days I feel like I’m barely hanging on to my mental health.
But there’s a reason why we refer to a superior moral stance as “taking the high ground”. It’s not because you’re looking down on others. It’s because you need to climb up that steep fncking hill, in spite of your aches and pains. The climb is the ritual. Make it joyful. Then enjoy the peace and quiet while you admire the view.
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