2020 has been a year of unprecedented changes — including new rituals that bring joy into our everyday lives. Some are familiar old habits practiced ever since childhood. Others are new rituals we have embraced that are brightening our days.
From going on morning walks to journaling, these 9 daily rituals provide us the space for positive growth and happiness.
1. Making a cup of tea.
“My daily ritual was first introduced to me as a child when I spent time with my maternal grandmother, Pinetown Granny. My mom was a medical student and during the daytime when she was at med school, I’d hang out with my gran. Our daily ritual before we are breakfast was to have a warming cup of turmeric ginger tea with a drop of honey.
For me it was a moment of delicious and warming pause, a moment to reflect on our day ahead, before we walked in the vegetable garden and picked out fresh vegetables for breakfast and lunch. It is an inspired pause that I practice even today. As I sip my homemade golden chai today using my gran’s special recipe, I still feel the joy I did as a child. I’m able to center myself in that moment, ground myself, pause and think.” — Uma Naidoo MD, Author and Nutritional Psychiatrist
2. Deep breathing.
“There is one habit I’ve adopted this year that has brought me so much peace and joy. I set an alarm on my phone for the top of every hour. When the alarm goes off, it’s time for me to take 5 to 10 deep belly breaths.
We carry so much tension throughout the day (especially this year). Often, we don’t realize that we are simply forgetting to breathe. We are holding g tightness in our muscles. This simple habit has made a world of difference in my stress levels and general mental health.” — Tina Williamson, Founder, Mindfulmazing
3. Meditation in the morning.
“This year, I started a morning ritual that includes a short meditation and a prayer. I made a small space in my home dedicated to this ritual. It’s a wonderful and calming feeling to start a morning like this. When I don’t have time to do it, I miss it.
It’s like a sanctuary, something I do only for myself that is mindful, meaningful and calming.” — Ivana Kurilic, Blogger, Artful Haven
4. Going for a morning jog.
“The 2020 ritual that has been life changing for me is going for a jog every morning right after my meditation. It has helped me feel more confident in all areas of my life and counter imposter syndrome. I used to often tell myself I was not good enough and running daily has allowed me to prove myself the opposite.
It has also helped me get back in shape and love myself better! Only positive things and joy from this new unexpected ritual.” — Soumaya Ettouji, Personal Development Coach, Soulty Sister
“I’ve built journaling into my morning routine. After waking up, I’ll write about the previous day in an app called Youper. It’s a convenient way to get my thoughts out and show gratitude for the positive things that happened.
So far, I’m 343 days into it, and this has been a lifesaver for my mental and emotional health this year and truly brings me joy.” — Teni Hallums, Content Strategist & Writer
6. Taking a morning walk.
“No matter what the weather’s like, before I even have my first cup of coffee, I pull on my sneakers and head out the door for a short one mile walk.
I listen to the quiet sounds of the morning, dogs barking, wind blowing, cars starting, and focus on just one thing: moving. It clears my head and energizes me for the day, and it always brings me joy.” — Laura Miner, Blogger, Cook at Home Mom
7. Reconnecting with my vision.
“Before I open my eyes every morning, I reconnect with my vision. For me this is a practice of remembering what’s on my vision board and why. Connecting with the feeling of it all being done already.
I also ask myself what I need that day. I ask my body. My soul. My mind. Then just wait for the answer. I feel a lot of people may ask these questions but it’s in creating the space to receive the answer where the magic lies.” — Gina Swire, Self Love Mentor and Author
8. Having workday lunches with my kids.
“One of my new daily rituals that have brought me unexpected joy this year is having workday lunches with my kids (ages 10 and 13).
Now that everyone is working and schooling from home, I am intentional in carving moments out during the day to connect with my current co-working colleagues. At some point, we will be going back to the office and school, so I’m trying to create some fond memories during this otherwise challenging time.” — Yi-Hsian Godfrey, CEO and Co-Founder, Apiari
9. Cuddling with my dog.
“I am an ESL Teacher in South Korea. My daily ritual is cuddling with my dog after I hit the alarm each morning.
It started out as an occasional thing. I would call him over from the foot of the bed for a morning snuggle. Sometimes he would come, sometimes not.
The General, better known as Janggun in Korean, was dropped off at a kill center in a small town off Korea’s southernmost coast. He was later taken to a shelter, where I picked him up in September 2019. When I took this 14-year-old Maltese-Terrier mix home, he was shy and unsure of himself. As a first-time dog owner, so was I.
COVID-19 changed all that. Because I’ve spent more time with him distraction-free since early 2020, I now understand the loyalty and companionship a dog can give. This really shows in our morning routine.
After my alarm goes off, I hit snooze and he wobbles toward me with heavy eyes. He waits for me to lift the blankets so he can get under. Finally, he lays his head on my pillow, proceeds to take 85% of the bed, and snores on my neck until the next alarm tells me to get moving. I like to give him a good shoulder rub while he remains oblivious to my discomfort.
It’s the best part of my day.
This morning routine is one of the most important interactions I have. I’ve been very transient the last three years and this dog is the only being that’s consistent in my life. Friends, boyfriends, and even family all come and go. Not Janggun. My little Korean shelter dog is a source of joy, laughter, and tranquility through these strange times. I couldn’t be more grateful to share to share my mornings, or my pillow, with such a sweet boy.” — Monica Mencer, ESL Teacher