A quick google search of “the importance of daily rituals” brings up everything from Huffington Post articles to self-help book suggestions to 10/20/25 steps to a happier you. These publications are all different, but the premise is the same: daily rituals are proven to keep us happier and healthier. And by ‘healthier’ I, and these articles, mean physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Daily rituals are thus important all the time, but especially when we are travelling. Why? For two key reasons:
1 – Travelling sets us in new environments where we are more prone to be unhealthy, and
2 – If we are happy and healthy, we are better travellers and travel partners. Ergo, we can get the best out of trip AND ensure our travel partners get the best out of theirs as well.
So here’s what you need to do…
YOU need to figure out your daily travel ritual. And then you need to do it. So, first, figure out what daily ritual makes you happier and healthier. Because mine aren’t yours.
- Decide if you’re a morning/afternoon/evening person. Chances are, that’s where your daily ritual needs to fall. I am a HUGE morning person. If my morning is a little ‘off’ (i.e. I don’t have my tea, don’t do yoga, don’t do my devotions) then my entire day isn’t as satisfying and productive as it would have been otherwise. So pick the time of day that is most important to you, where you work the best.
2. Think about what you need to happen in your everyday life (i.e. while not travelling) to keep that day and time functioning optimally. Are you a coffee addict? Are you lost without a little quiet time? Do you need to go for that mid-afternoon run? Are you a drag without a siesta? Note it.
3. Ask your spouse/roommate/best friend/parent what they notice about you. If I’m feeling anxious, it is KEN who reminds me that doing yoga will make me feel better. Ask the person closest to you and your daily routines to ask you what you need for a happy, healthy day. You might have forgotten something.
4. Now here’s where we move from the awareness to the strategy. I love self-help books because they teach you lots of fancy tidbits about living life optimally. You know what else is great about self-help books? They’re fantastically easy to read! Yes, unless you actually IMPLEMENT these ideas all you have is a little awareness of yourself.
So…how are you going to actually ensure that you FOLLOW THIS ROUTINE WHILE TRAVELLING?
Because here’s the thing: if you are able to recreate your daily routines in a new environment, you will feel more comfortable, more settled, and more relaxed faster. In turn, you will sleep better, feel more energized, and maintain the health and happiness that you had back home.
So the fourth and final step is the longest and most important. It’s where you look at your daily ritual needs and figure out what you will need to apply them in your new setting. For example, I always travel with my yoga mat. Then there are no excuses not to do yoga. I will probably make up an excuse anyways, like when I’m tired and jet-lagged, and then Ken will lovingly remind me that I always feel better after doing yoga. I may or may not whine anyway and continue napping rather than doing yoga…but I digress…
The point is that you need to articulate these personal needs and then do everything in your power to make sure that you can fulfill them. Because if I don’t have a yoga mat, it’s going to be much harder for me to do yoga. If I bring it, I’m far more likely to do it, if only because I know that I used precious baggage weight on lugging it here!
I will also travel with green tea if it is questionable if where I’m staying will have some. Or I’ll buy it in the grocery store upon arrival. I also must bring a journal so that I can jot down reflections at the day’s end. Or when I have the opportunity to sit on the beach or in a little cafe.
So…what do you need to get you through the day? Reflect on it. Note it. And figure out how to implement this into your daily routine while travelling. Bring what you need, do what you can, and stay focussed.