#41 Practice a Ritual

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#41

Practice a Ritual

Sometimes, practicing a ritual can be an extremely healthy way to manage anxiety or stress. By definition, a ritual is “a sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects, performed in a sequestered place, and performed according to a set sequence”. For the purposes of this discussion, I’d like to expand the idea of ritual a bit and allow for it to be something we do the same way each time with intention and purpose.

Focus & Intention

A Catholic Mass falls into the category of a ritual and while unless you are a priest, you won’t be in the act of practicing the mass itself… you may find that attending mass and engaging in the mass ritual offers the same benefit. Going to the gym at the same time everyday and moving through the equipment in the same way with the same motivational music in our earbuds – is a ritual as long as there focus and intention with the movements. Rituals differ from routines with that focus and intention.

Conscious Energy

A ritual allows us to engage in an action consciously. Whether we are holding our hand over our heart and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or kneeling in prayer at bedtime, they often signify meaning. Many brotherhoods, fraternities, and sororities practice rituals as a way of bringing their membership together; strengthening the sense of belonging. Some families have the ritual of a family dinner on Sundays or in our house… it’s Mimosa’s and Monkey Bread on Christmas morning. They can be those things that unite and remind us of what’s good. Mr. Fred Rogers share his ritual of putting on slippers and changing into a cardigan as a way of getting comfortable each day; allowing us to feel as though we were at home with him.

Energy & Pleasure

Engaging in a regular ritual may energize you and create space for happy feelings. The demand focus and intention which, allows you to immerse yourself in your life. Routines that are mundane can be elevated to ritual status by engaging in them differently. Being deliberately present in those things that take little thought and experiencing them completely – change them from an unconscious pattern of movement to something that serves a positive function and something from which you may experience great pleasure.

Get Started

If you don’t yet have one, think of an action that is meaningful, intentional, and can be achieved on a regular basis. Perhaps it’s sitting down with a journal every evening or meditation before you get out of bed in the morning. It could even be a Friday evening happy hour or date night with someone special. Self-care rituals may be the perfect starting point for those of you with busy lives and never enough time. A ritual can reduce anxiety by providing a period of certainty in your day or week.

No matter the details, your life can be enriched greatly with the simple act of …

Practicing a ritual.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#68 Take a Cooking Class

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#68

Take a Cooking Class

Are you looking for a last minute gift for that family gathering or birthday? Are you wondering how to change up your date nights? This suggestion may be just the thing that sparks a new passion or a shared interest.

Cooking classes are for cooks of any ability. They are not to be confused with culinary schools as they are typically range from just a couple of hours, a full day, or at most – a week. They are generally designed to introduce you to a new skill, new ingredients, and new methods.

Hometown

It’s likely that there’s a local opportunity for you to take a cooking class if you live in or near a major metropolitan area. A quick google search for a location in Baltimore returned several options. The Schola Cooking school offers technique classes ranging from butter making to bread baking and from sushi to fresh pasta. You can take classes that focus on Cuban cuisine or treats from the sea.

Destinations

If you don’t live near a major city and/or you want the options of a specific location, consider a destination getaway with the intent specifically to take a cooking class. What a great thing to do for a girls weekend, a bachelorette celebration, or a mother/daughter day out. It could be an anniversary event that you do together and carry the skills home as a shared interest.

International

Do you love Italian or French food and want to learn local favorites or from an infamous internationally acclaimed chef? A trip abroad for the purpose of learning cuisine from that region is a great reason to plan a trip. Like schools in the states, international classes are designed for all levels of knowledge and can accommodate the most uneducated beginners.

Even if all you really want to do is eat well, consider grabbing a friend and …

Take a cooking class.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#81 Attend a Mystery Night Out

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#81

Attend a Mystery Night Out

Are you a mystery lover? Do you like to solve problems? Are you seeking a new idea or an alternative for your next ‘date night’? While murder mystery ‘game night’ boxes have been around for decades, the idea has taken on a very different vibe with museums, galleries, restaurants, and others getting in on the fun.

Host at Home

If you want to invite a few people over for a fun night at home, consider a box game – readily available from a variety of places. You’ll get everything you need to invite a few friends over and role play a real life game of Clue. You don’t need the box though – you can download a game and all the necessary information to play.

Get Out

Not into hosting? Want to be a partygoer? Keep an eye out for a Murder Mystery night in your community. Local theaters, tourist train companies, galleries, libraries, and even small townships have hosted murder mystery nights with themes ranging from Casablanca style nights to Old West Gold Rush motifs.

Finding Fun

A simple Google search for “Murder Mystery Night in YourTown” will hopefully return a number of options in your community or nearby. Sites like Eventbrite and Yelp also returned local options and Yelp of course, offered some reviews and comments about the events themselves but word of warning for those comments: The fun is often determined by the people involved in the experience and as such – will be different for each group.

Social

Just a few days ago I touted the benefits of a game night and this is just a twist on that suggestion. It’s yet another way for couples to enhance time together in a unique way. It’s a great opportunity for families to get disconnected from electronics and do something fun. It’s an entertaining way to spend time getting to know new friends or building comradery with business associates or team members.

Do a quick search for opportunities in your area, gather one or more peeps, and …

Attend a Mystery Night out.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#122 Go To a High School Play

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#122

Go to a high school play

I suspect that the timing of this post may be apropos as the first half of most high school’s academic year is more than half way past. There’s a good chance that a high school in your community is – right now – preparing for its first theatrical production of the year.

I was a ‘drama geek’ in high school as were several of my children and what I know for sure is that everyone involved in these productions – no matter how elaborate it may or may not be – works their fanny off and gives great heart to the project.

The community support of these endeavors is paramount to the performers on stage and the hardworking teams that keep them there. This is where young stars are born and others confirm their lack of passion for the commitment necessary to build careers. It’s where self-esteem is cemented and friendships are fostered. It’s where confidence is built and where for a few minutes, getting lost in fantasy is healthy.

These high school kids may not be seasoned actors, they may not have acutely tuned voices, or the best comedic timing but they have heart. Their courage, spunk, and energy is generally undeniable.

Making the effort to fill the auditorium of these local high school productions makes the statement that not only are ‘they’ important, but support of the Arts is also a priority. We’re telling our local school boards and elected officials that being a well-rounded student is more than grades and sports. We both proactive and passively encouraging.

If you don’t have a high school student, gathering information about the productions in your community are only a phone call or a web visit away. Take some time to find out what productions are scheduled this year and put it on your calendar. It makes a great night out and it’s usually very affordable. Do yourself – and your community – a favor and…

Go to a High School Play

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

#254 Go on a Date

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#254

Go on a Date

This advice is particularly focused on those of you in a relationship of some nature although I’ll mention single folks too. As a marriage counselor, perhaps the single most common reason that people end up in my office is because they loose connection with one another due to lack of energy directed to their relationship.

Dating is how many of us got to know one another. It is how we built emotional intimacy, how we discovered our interests and commonalities. After a few years, we assume that we have nothing left to say and our conversations center on work, bills, and perhaps kids. Novelty, excitement, and interest begins to wain.

I recently discussed self care and it’s importance to our mental and ultimately, physical health. It’s message pertains to relationships as well. What is starved – hungers; what is not watered – dies.

What is a good date?

First and foremost, do something you consider fun. If we’re not enjoying ourselves, it will be challenging to engage positively.

Consider also to do something active. Engaging body and mind doubles our personal interaction and creates a broader dimension for conversation. From bowling, kayaking, a ropes course, or rock climbing… an active date will offer opportunities for conversation that goes beyond your day to day life.

Don’t use this time together to resolve issues. Step back from the struggles or challenges in your life and allow the date to be a mental vacation.

Find time to physically connect. Some people use a date night for an exclusive opportunity to spend time connecting sexually. While this is definitely an important element in any solid relationship – it is not the end all. Sex without an emotional connection is available anywhere. To keep a connection with your partner, it is imperative that both the emotional and physical are combined. It doesn’t matter which element comes first as long as both are present. To clarify, physical connection doesn’t ‘have’ to be sex… holding hands while strolling through a festival and staring into one another’s eyes for a few minutes can intensify a couple’s connection nicely.

Are you single?

Most of the same advice applies. I’m hearing more and more from clients and family how single people are dating less and ‘hanging’ more. The ‘Netflix and chill’ mentality has infiltrated the tradition of getting to know one another by getting out and ‘doing’. I see people who developed a relationship over movies and sex but are now wondering what they actually have in common outside those parameters.

When you’ve moved past the ‘swipe right’ stage, step out and do something fun! Find common interests and activities that you can get passionate about together. There’s a lot of truth to the old adage… “the family that plays together, stays together.

Do your relationship a favor and make it a point to…

Go on a date.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below.

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