Join me live on the air for my next BlogTalk Radio show Wednesday, January 8th at 8:30 PM for a half hour of conversation about picking yourself up off the floor after the holidays. Call toll-free 877-497-9046 to join in the conversation with questions, comments, or ideas of your own about this timely, (universal?) topic.
It’s Fall again, the air is crisp, the leaves are glorious (all those usual notes), and once again my husband and I are sitting on the giant wraparound porch at the Eagle Mountain House in Jackson, New Hampshire. This is one of our happy rituals as a couple – to drive up into the White Mountains in the late Fall, go for walks, meander through the back roads, browse the shops, read with a glass of wine on the porch, and feast on comfort food in local eateries.
Rituals are a perfect way to create soothing predictability, comfort, and anticipation into your life, whether you’re coupled or single. When you hold a memento or picture of the location, and gaze at it, pulling up good memories, you’re ramping up “feel good” chemicals in your brain. If you’re coupled, it tends to rekindle experiences of bonding and connection. If your life feels like a dreary treadmill, a happy ritual can interrupt the depressive feeling, and remind you that life, however hard, is also filled with meaning and joy, if you allow it.
So, if there’s a special experience you’ve had with some regularity either alone or with a partner, take it off the shelf and re-enact it! If there are none in your repertoire, then create some new experiences which can be ritualized. You’ll be doing your mood and your relationship a world of good.
It’s 8:55 on a frigid Sunday morning, and I awoke to a blazing fire in the family room thoughtfully prepared by my devoted “woodsman” husband, Thom. What a way to begin a 35 degree day in November!
It made me think about all the cozy rituals my family embraces, and how centering and comforting they are. I’ll often ask therapy and coaching clients who are facing difficult circumstances if they have a repertoire of cozy comfort activities in their emotional “toolboxes.”
I’m often surprised by the scarcity they report, or by the lack of awareness people have about what comforts them besides booze or meds!
If you haven’t developed an elaborate system of ways to get cozy and give yourself comfort, then it’s time to build it before you need it. Think about activities you could ritualize, like a weekend fire, or a cup of tea in the afternoon, or a bath on a Friday night. Consider this list as your arsenal of protection against overwhelming anxiety, sadness, exhaustion or loneliness. It’s your personal (and partnered) treasure trove of self-care and self-soothing. You can do it alone or with your partner or family. Whatever the case, having benign ways to “get cozy” will help you decrease your trips to the doctor, the liquor store, and expensive shrinks, like me!