What is the difference between habits, routines and rituals and how can they empower us as God’s women? Last week we talked about how to get our mornings started right, now let's talk about Afternoon rituals that make us joyful.
Habits are things that we do automatically, things like checking your email at certain times of the day or putting putting your keys in a specific spot when you get home. Routines are usually a collection of habits or actions you do on a regular basis to bring order to your day... putting your baby down for a nap, getting the lunch dishes cleaned up, checking the mail, making yourself a cup of tea and taking a quick break before you get some work done.
Rituals are like routines. The main difference is the attitude behind the actions. Taking a walk everyday at a certain time could be considered a ritual if you think of it as a way to break out of the mundane and enjoy nature...most routines could be turned into rituals with a change of perspective.
The more we do something at the same time of day, and in the same order, the quicker it becomes a habit. Habits turn into routines and as we become consistent we benefit from them and experience the rewards!
RITUALS HELP US NURTURE OURSELVES AND OTHERS -
By setting up habits, routines and rituals in the morning, afternoon and evening, you empower yourself to have better, more productive, joy filled days!
Here are a few afternoon rituals that have enriched my life. They provide the transition that I need to get me through the day!
1. MAKE LUNCH TIME MEMORABLE
Take a lunchtime interlude to release morning stress, refresh and prepare for the afternoon's work.
No matter how busy your morning is, it helps if you can look forward to a nice (yummy) lunch! Whether you are eating alone, out enjoying lunch with your husband, or at home with your children, take this time to really enjoy your food and relish each bite. You deserve it~!
When I worked in the city years ago before kids I would enjoy a delicious sandwich from a local deli and I would destress from the pressures of work by sitting outside, in the park during the summer months. Now that I work at home, I sit on the deck under the umbrella in warm weather letting the sunshine recharge me. During Maine Winters I comfort myself by sitting near a sunny window.
Lunchtime can also be a time to build relationships and meetup with a friend,sister or daughter! Make a goal of meeting with someone for lunch every week or couple of weeks. Talk about the things that are on your heart and encourage one another.
If you are at home with little ones and can’t get away, invite women to share a simple lunch with you. Take turns preparing the meal for each other. This is a fun afternoon ritual that helps you connect with other women, while your kids get to make friends.
Read and pour yourself a cup of tea. Hot or iced depending on the season or your preference. Coffee is the choice for the morning but I love my tea in the afternoon. Sit in your favorite chair and read one of the books in your pile that you are currently interested in. For me it could be something for my spiritual growth, marriage or health related or a fun topic I want to learn about like decorating. A friend of mine always recharged with a good christian novel, it was one of the ways she escaped for a short time before it was time to get back into her routine of laundry, homework and making dinner for her family.
... If you have young children, like I did, find a story CD or audio books to keep them happy so you can relax a bit. (There is a wide variety of them at your local library.) I remember MY KIDS listening to wonderful books when they were young. They enjoyed lots of great stories while resting on their beds or playing with legos on the floor.
When I had a baby and preschooler, I would time it so the baby was ready for her nap at the same time that the preschooler would go to their room for her own “quiet time” and look at picture books, story tapes and play quietly with her dolls.
2. AS YOUR GETTING WORK DONE , TAKE SMALL BREAKS!
WORK FOR 50 minutes, then take a BREAK for 10!
We all have things we want to accomplish and the afternoons can be very busy trying to get everything left to do on our to do list. It's tempting to want to work straight through without a break. I recently started a new habit of working for 50 minutes and taking a 10 minute break at the end of the hour. According to The Productive Philosopher, fifty minutes is a manageable amount of time for uninterrupted work, and a ten-minute break is enough to recharge your productivity muscles. You can paint your nails, take a stretch break or a water break, etc.
This habit gives you time to breath and helps you to pace yourself. For example: My dear mother-in-law used to start making dinner around 4, but instead of doing the whole thing at once she would start with the meat portion and get it cooking. Then she would take a break and do a word puzzle...we might check facebook or pinterest. After 10 or 15 minutes she would get up again and do the potatoes and vegetables, then she would take another break until it all got done
3. TAKE AN AFTERNOON WALK-
When my kids were young, after their naps,I put my babies and toddlers in the stroller and we would walk in the countryside. Now, after getting my work done, when I need a break, I take my little dog Teddy for walk and it refreshes me. On the way back I check the mail and then transition to the kitchen. I discard the junk mail and then might look at a few pages from a magazine or catalogue that came in if time allows.
4. SNACK TIME
To stay energized, I always have another cup of tea in the late afternoon with a little snack that helps me get through until supper. It is a great mood elevator and something I look forward to each day! I might have a little dark chocolate with almonds, trail mix or even enjoy a cupcake on especially challenging days. I feel like I deserve a treat once in a while and its a fun way to nurture my soul. Sometimes when I feel like being good, I have celery and hummus, cheese and crackers or dates and Peanut Butter waiting for my hubby. It's a nice way to reconnect after a long day.
(The English ritual of English started in the 1800’s when Anna, a Duchess and close friend of queen Victoria, complained of “having that sinking feeling” during the later part of the day.She wanted something small to satisfy her until dinner. From this want, the afternoon tea ritual was born.)
Everyone is different, what works for me might not work for you, but everyone can benefit by turning mundane everyday routines into something special. Like (Mary Poppins), when we turn habits and routines into rituals, we sprinkle a little love in everything we do…
Afternoon rituals help us enjoy life and nurture (love) ourselves and others. It helps us transition to the next part of our day...Evenings.