A few weeks ago, I talked about the importance of having a routine. How writers, artists, entrepreneurs, all follow unique schedules in order to keep a certain rhythm, focus and intent to their days. One thing I didn’t mention about the routine was the importance of rituals.
If routines are the rigid structures that keep our days balanced, rituals are the indulgent moments within our routines that renew and restore us. They are also what enable us to keep our routines without feeling burnt out by mid-week.
That’s because rituals counteract ego depletion – a psychological theory that states willpower or self-control are finite resources. The more willpower we use throughout the day, the less we have available later. It’s why you find it harder to go to the gym after work or why you’re more agitated and irritable in the middle of the week as opposed to the beginning.
In a study requiring participants to perform a task requiring self-regulation, participants who watched a comedy show or received a gift after the task versus the participants who did nothing were judged on how well they performed the next task requiring willpower. Those who watched the comedy video or received a gift performed better than participants who did nothing in between tasks. In fact, they self-regulated the next task as well as the non-depleted participants (participants who didn’t have to do the first task).
Indulging in moments of pleasure is not selfish, it’s restorative. In fact, knowing what can help put you in a good mood when things seem to be spiraling, or knowing how to pace yourself through the week so you don’t experience burn-out, is a sign of maturity. I believe there’d be a lot less tension and irritability in my life if I learned to treat myself more. If I took my pleasure as seriously as my pain.
But what are those things that make me happy? What puts me in a good mood when the day seems to be headed towards meltdown? This is what makes up my unique rituals.
In Gretchen Rubin’s book, The Happiness Project, she focuses an entire chapter on splurges and happiness. In it she says, “what makes me happy is to spend money on the things I value – and it takes self-knowledge and discipline to discover what I really want, instead of parroting the desires of other people.”
She went on to say, “If money is to enhance your happiness, it must be used to support aspects of life that themselves bring happiness to you.”
So what makes you happy? What tiny rituals can you add to your routines and indulging in more? Below are some ideas from famous women and their rituals:
“My one light American Spirit that I smoke once a week, on Saturday night.” —Harper’s Bazaar, May 2013
‘She had chocolate after dinner, baking chocolate. She had a finger or two of Scotch at night.’ – Audrey Hepburn’s son, Luca Dot, describing his mother, The Daily Mail
“I like to get up when the dawn comes. The dogs start talking to me and I like to make a fire and maybe some tea and then sit in bed and watch the sun come up. The morning is the best time, there are no people around. My pleasant disposition likes the world with nobody in it.”
“I need an hour alone before dinner, with a drink.”
“I only drink Champagne on two occasions, when I am in love and when I am not.”
I love going to rock concerts, I love to lose myself in that vast wave of rhythm and body heat and get on the same vibe.
She loves flowers to an unbelievable degree and every bouquet is a great event in her life. – Roloff Beny
“Warmth, perfume, rugs, soft lights, books.”