Rituals for vitality in 2023
This year came to the most beautiful close with a day of rituals, a cozy house party with friends and a cold plunge up at the lake on New Year’s Day. The rituals around New Year’s Eve and the weeks to follow have become super special to me… Every year I feel like I’m that much closer to becoming my most authentic self, to letting go of the things I used to worry about, to living the life I dream of. My rituals are a big part of chasing those dreams. But the real dream has been moving to a house in the mountains with chickens and a cider tree (oops I mean an apple tree) and having Adeline. A lot has changed this year, in big and beautiful ways but through it all, these are the rituals I held onto. They grounded me, kept me feeling like myself, and brought me energy when I needed it most.
Here are some of my favorite rituals I’m bringing into 2023, where they came from, and how they’ve changed as I’ve become a mom.
1. Daily sweat
The biggest ritual 2022 brought me was my yoga practice. I fell in love with this studio near my house, both for the workouts and for the people. Getting on my mat everyday became something I craved. Before last year, I don’t think I ever realized how much exercise affected my stress levels, but throughout my pregnancy I went to class at least 3 or 4 times a week and it gave me such an endorphin high. There’s the energy boost but there’s also a release of hormones which is huge. My goal now is to get a good sweat in or at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, and I feel so much better for it.
2. Pages and pages of journaling
A close second is my journaling practice - spurred on by a sunrise journaling group every Wednesday at my studio. I‘ve been writing nonstop and now it’s such a sacred record of my pregnancy and the last summer as just the two of us. Entries include our time in Florida helping my grandmother close up her house and move, a week in wine country with my sister-in-law, our babymoon on Whidbey island, a trip to Montana and RI for Christmas.
I’ve also been dream journaling… There’s this book about lucid dreaming and its potential to change your brain and your inner voice. The idea is if you can change the course of a dream, especially a stressful one, you can rewire your subconscious. You’re building new neural networks that say you’re capable of things your waking self never thought possible. It helps you move through mental blocks, self doubt and fear. You’re literally changing your mind. If you don’t often remember your dreams, they say to try dream journaling. It’s so fun too - sometimes when I look back on what I’ve written I’ve already forgotten the dream. I’ve had two lucid dreams in the last month. Maybe it’s because baby Addie naturally wakes me up between deep sleep and REM! Lol. I like to do my dream journaling with pen and paper so that I’m not using blue light first thing in the morning. On my nightstand, I keep a leather bound journal, my fountain pen and a couple of candles so I can wake up slowly.
3. Taking self care really seriously
Taking a little time aside for myself is probably the most important thing I do for my family every day. Whether that’s yoga, a walk or drinks with my girlfriends… my favorite way to wind down is to put on my reusable eye masks, get in our hot tub and call my sister. Triple self care! Doing something to clear my head and improve my mental health is what has gotten me through the hormone swings, the long nights and the exhaustion of becoming a new mom - and made the highs that much sweeter! Doing a mask is a gesture of taking care of myself but it also makes me look I got a a little more sleep than I did. 😂
4. Planners & lists
Mom brain is such a real thing. For my own sanity, I’m resorting to a system of to do lists and iPhone reminders. It’s helping me keep distractions at bay and not forget things as often so I can continue my bigger goal of being more present. This recycled paper notepad is so cute and it’s my favorite way to stay on track because it’s literally right in front of me.
For a long time now I’ve been planning my days and my work around my hormone cycle. It has been absolutely life changing! Honoring my inner rhythms of rest and productivity, following the path of when my brain is optimized for different tasks… It allows me to do my best work in each phase and not get as burned out. More on this another day!
I read 20 books last year! More than the previous year’s total (12) and more than I’ve read in a long time. Many of these pages were thanks to the overnight feeds in Addie’s first few months - being up half the night lead to lots and lots of reading. Lately she’s sleeping longer through the night but I still love to fit in a good book around the corners. A lot of nights, I’ll do my skincare routine in two parts and read a book during the first half. First I wash my face with the Fresh Face soap and apply the alum stone as a facial toner, and then I’ll go read my book and feed baby while the alum dries. Once I put her down again I’ll rinse off the salt from the alum stone and seal everything with an oil (coming soon to our shelves!). It’s the perfect amount of time, about half an hour for the alum stone to work it’s magic.
So those are my favorite rituals of late. New Year’s Eve was a perfect sunny day filled with journaling, walks in the cold mountain air, and assembling a lighthouse puzzle with my hubby. We had a handful of friends over for a house party and I whipped up some espresso martinis to keep us awake just long enough to see the fireworks from our back deck. It’s actually a cute recipe - you reuse your coffee grounds by soaking them in vodka for 24 hours to make a coffee liqueur! Strain, mix with Baileys’s and Kahlua and voila. So good. A little too good… The next day we rallied and hit “refresh” with an ice-cold cold plunge up at the lake. We had a beautiful blue sky day and a water temperature of about 38 degrees. SO exhilarating. I managed to stay in almost two minutes which my yoga teacher says is enough for the health benefits to kick in - "any more is just ego" she says. It was an incredible fresh start to do something so invigorating on New Year’s Day. I might just make this a monthly ritual! Thanks for reading. Cheers to a year of presence and vitality in 2023!