Relationships

Do You Have a Personal Ritual?

Do You Have a Personal Ritual?

When I was a child, I heard a story I’ll never forget…

My mom’s friend had a personal ritual. Every Thursday night, she would come home after a long day of teaching dance classes. Then she’d climb into bed with a carton of vanilla ice cream. The end.

This story stuck with me not because of the ice-cream-in-bed part, though to my child self that did sound pretty good. For me, the real hero of this story was the solitude. Because a ritual feels extra special when it is just for you.

On Sex and the City, Carrie Bradshaw references her “secret single behavior” — eating Saltines with grape jelly, while standing up in her kitchen, reading fashion magazines. “It’s weird, but it just feels great,” she says, causing TV watchers the world over to nod their heads in recognition. But the enjoyment of such behaviors isn’t only for single people — it is simply about being alone.

Personal rituals run the gamut from mundane to offbeat:

My friend Krystal draws a bath twice a week. “I burn a candle in the dark,” she says. More than anything, she relishes the fact that, because she is afraid of dropping her phone in the tub, it is a pocket of enforced screen-free time.

Says Mo: “On summer Fridays, I paint my nails and then take a hot nap (without the AC on), with my still-wet nails resting on my stomach. It’s my thing.”

On Sunday evenings, to combat the dread of the impending week, my friend Sarah watches HGTV home shows while eating Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar paired with a glass of red wine. “There is something about the sameness of it that really calms me,” she explains. “Like how Starbucks always tastes the same, no matter where you are.”

Commutes count, too. “Every day, on my subway ride home from work, I listen to the Homecoming album,” says Kim. “It makes me feel empowered and reminds me of how hard I’ve worked to get where I am. The healing powers of Beyoncé.”

After over a decade living alone, I’ve developed an array of personal rituals (applying face masks! baking brownies! listening to music while lying on a yoga mat!) but the easiest to point to is reading tarot cards, which I’ve done since I was 10. I’ll pull a few cards each day, which gives me time to reflect and to check in with myself. And while this definitely isn’t a secret (hello, internet), it’s not something I usually talk or write about. Because in the end, a personal ritual is exactly that: personal. And that is all that matters.

Do you have a personal ritual? And if so, will you tell us about it?

P.S. A list of simple pleasures, and do you have a hobby?

(Photo of Liberace.)

  1. Jamie says...

    When I first read this, I couldn’t think of any rituals I have. But now I realize I do have them! Every night before bed, I like to unwind by watching asian cooking/homemaking videos. They are kind of like ASMR videos, very soothing, with focus on the sounds and beauty of everyday tasks. Here are a couple I follow:

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvQPUPoMK0Smj-OHeUe9SEw

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCazay-C-shtEEUO78ObKGJg

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIhVx5EV_B9qJT8AiBBaoIA

    Also, when I am able to work from home and could use a refresh, I like to turn on the headspace app and meditate after lunch. It always puts me straight to sleep for a nice quick power nap :)

  2. M says...

    Every Sunday, I read the NYT wedding announcements. Then I read PostSecret.

  3. Vanessa says...

    Once each weekend, I take myself to a solo brunch at Watty and Meg where I read Royals Roundup, eat Huevos Rancheros and drink a cocktail of my choosing. I call this “running errands” and it usually precedes shopping for something yummy to cook for dinner.

  4. My special ritual usually has to happen rather quickly (it’s contingent on whether or not I can occupy my preschooler and my almost-toddler while I do it) — but I find that the mornings I manage it I tend to then go on to have happier days.
    The ritual is this:
    After breakfast, I get the kids occupied in the living room.
    I pour myself an iced latte (doesn’t have to be fancy, just a premade coldbrew/cold coffee and almond milk.
    I sit down in the kitchen with my gratitude journal (I actually made this exact kind because it’s the kind I wanted to write in – https://www.amazon.com/dp/1076201709/ – but I’m certain a simple notebook would work too) and a black gel pen.
    (If the kids seem particularly engaged in whatever I’ve set them up with, I might even light a candle in the kitchen.)
    I write as much as I can for about 10 minutes or as long as it takes to finish my latte.
    Then I take a few deep breaths (inhale 1,2,3… Hold 1,2,3… Exhale 1,2,3).
    …And then I close my journal, put it away, load my coffee glass into the dishwasher, and go play with my babies.

  5. alexandra says...

    my weekly ritual is a simple one.
    wednesday night,
    (my husband works late wednesdays)
    panang curry level 6 from my favorite Thai spot
    chilled white wine
    Wonderful podcast

    (a few weeks ago, the owner of the Thai spot slipped me a $50 gift card with my receipt “because you’re nice, we like you” -favorite Thai spot for life!)

    • rach says...

      ILOVETHIS. Panang is our fav too!

  6. Katie says...

    I had a ritual for 3 years with my cat. He was sick and needed a shot of IV fluid each night. I would call him and he’d run to me and we’d lock ourselves in the upstairs bathroom together. It’d give him a fancy treat, stick him with the needle, then smother him with pets and kisses telling him I loved him for 5 minutes while the fluid dripped in. More treats, I’d do 50 squats, and then we’d leave the bathroom. When he died a few months back my nights felt so chaotic and unfinished. I found myself just wandering around each night wondering what I was forgetting. Especially since I’m a night owl, the shot routine was a way to say it’s time for bed. After 14 years with my cat, it was that weird routine I missed the most. 5 minutes of one on one love every night without fail. It made me appreciate how the routine of illness can be a good thing.

    • Meg says...

      I’m so sorry you lost your kitty. The way you describe your dedication and how you were woven into each other’s lives moved me and reminded me of my former life with my old, medicated tuxedo who died in January. <3

  7. J says...

    Every Friday that I’m in town, after work I take my dog and walk around the “colonial” part of town. I live in a super touristy area and people always want to see a dog when they’re traveling away from their own pets. I walk him every day but usually more rushed around the neighborhood, not a fun adventure like Friday nights :) My “family” is just myself and my dog (everyone else lives FAR away) but it makes me feel like our family matters and rituals are important to establish, even if just for the two of us.

  8. Suzanne says...

    I’ve gone through and read all of these rituals and it’s been so soothing. It’s such a reminder of how rituals can be self-care and a necessary part of the time and space that we claim for ourselves.

    I’ve so needed and appreciated this reminder.

    A million x thank you.

    • Alee says...

      Just thinking the same! Something about knowing all of these little moments of delight are happening around us is so soothing.

  9. Rosa says...

    I wake up extra early so I can savour two cups of coffee and read blogs or look at Pinterest in the morning before work. I like being up in the morning before everyone else because it’s so peaceful.

  10. Emily says...

    Lately I’ve had a Saturday morning ritual of going for a run first thing while it’s still cool out, then getting back and taking the dog on a walk to the local doughnut shop. I’ll get a doughnut and cold brew and take the dog to the park and sip my coffee while I play fetch with her. It’s been a lovely way to start the weekend!

  11. Jenn says...

    I leave early for appointments, and then sit in the car reading a book until I have to go in for the appointment. I love “stealing” this time to myself to sit and read — and if the car gets a little hot and stuffy sitting in the sun I can trick myself into pretending I’m near a body of water on a hot summer day.

  12. Erica says...

    When my (vegetarian) hubby is out of town and I’ve put my daughter to bed, I put on the Hamilton soundtrack, pour a glass of “expensive for me” red wine, and cook myself the perfect filet mignon, which I pair with a bright, lemony arugula salad with fresh parm. I eat it while catching up on Housewives. A perfect evening!

    • Fiona says...

      I do something similar – hubby is also veggie, and I make Keema (a beautiful stew with cilantro and lemon and all the fragrant spices) and a big glass of wine – I’ll also make a big batch of keema-inspired meatballs to freeze for sneaky lunches, when I can’t take over the full kitchen, but the mood still strikes!

  13. Mary Scully says...

    I’m a teacher in New England. When we have a snow day, I wake up, get dressed, drive to Starbucks if I can trudge through the snow, and go for a long walk on the trails while sipping my coffee and enjoying the snow falling down. It’s magical!

  14. C says...

    I’m an opera singer, and I’m SO superstitious when it comes to pre-performance rituals. I have to: read a fashion magazine while listening to a chill playlist of downtempo/club/vintage beats and drinking a whiskey. I usually follow that up with a drive-through chicken sandwich on the way to the venue. Ha.

    • rachel says...

      i need your playlist/suggestions!

  15. Christina Copp says...

    Weekend mornings, cup of coffee, sit on my balcony and read home decor magazines. If I don’t have a magazine, perusing Pinterest, My Scaninavian Home, Apartment Therapy blogs also works!

  16. Suzie says...

    I have jazz music set to automatically turn on at 5 pm. When the music starts, I stop whatever I’m doing, walk to the bar, and mix a perfect old fashioned. A moment of civilization amidst a very hectic life.

    • Emily says...

      This sounds like my dream life, when I grow up ;)

    • Jen Collins says...

      spectacular!

    • Kacie says...

      What a goddess. I’m stealing this idea.

  17. Christine says...

    I have a one year old so self care is less of a ritual and more of a squeeze-it-in-while-I-can type thing, at the moment. However, one thing I do for myself at least once per month is buy a nice bottle of wine or champagne, make lemon pasta, and sit outside and eat/drink… ALONE. I always make my plate look extra fancy too, because I deserve it (ha!)

  18. Nicole K says...

    Did this make anyone else think of Francie Nolan from “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” and her Saturday ritual of getting a book at the library and sitting to read it on the fire escape with a small dish of peppermint candies and a glass of water with ice chips in it? It’s my favorite book and that scene is so vivid for me… I don’t even like peppermint candies, but I do love “setting up” for a good sit-and-read with something to snack on and anything else I might need so that I don’t have to get up later!

    • b says...

      THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR REMINDING ME ABOUT THIS RITUAL. I used to read this book over and over as a child, savoring every description of their food habits, rolling them over my tongue. The savory bread fry up, the peppermint candies. It was all so beautifully written that I could feel the sharp intake of breath when you’ve popped that peppermint.

  19. So interesting to read about every else’s rituals! I have a few…

    – Before I check-in at the airport, but right after I arrive, I pull off the luggage stickers from my previous trip. For whatever reason, pulling them off at any other time except for ~right before~ I check-in makes me think it’s bad luck. I even have my husband and son doing it now.

    – I have to have a glass of cold water (with ice) on my nightstand. Sipping a bit of the water is the very last thing I do before turning the lights off.

    – Friday nights are chore-free nights. We sit down as a family to watch a movie, order in dinner and just relax. It’s my favorite time of the week.

  20. Nel says...

    I love a good ritual. My first started as a pre teen. During the summer, to break up the monotony of a no-cable tv household and a library volunteer gig, I’d bike around the corner to the local coffee shop and buy a $1.34 soda with strawberry syrup. It felt so exotic, fun, and grown up. I did it every day! No clue where I got the money.

  21. garneteyes says...

    I love rituals! I have a bunch:
    -Make almond + oat milk every 2 weeks or so, and make these cookies with the leftover pulp (https://blog.kingarthurflour.com/2014/12/14/gluten-free-almond-flour-shortbread-cookies/)
    -In the summer time, do free yoga in the park at the farmer’s market. Sometimes get a fresh squeezed juice afterwards
    -my “mental health” time on one morning over the weekend, I write in my journal, read self-help books or save articles online, and compile these
    or write things for a project I’m working on.
    -go to an evening workout class one evening a week, usually with coworkers and friends
    -cook myself a nice breakfast at home, or go to a coffeeshop for a bagel and mocha with my husband
    -read some articles from the “Sunday Long Read” or other email newsletters like Ann Friedman’s

  22. Kimberley says...

    I watch make-up tutorials on YouTube. In life I wear almost no make-up, but during the stressful times of my PhD, watching these videos was therapeutic and took me away from my worries for 20 minutes. Bliss.

  23. Bea says...

    I eat icecream in bath. As simple as that:) it doesn’t happen often but when I need it I go for it!

    • A says...

      Seriously wondering why in the world I haven’t tried this before….

  24. Christa says...

    I love to read a People magazine over coffee on the weekends!

  25. kelbol says...

    Haha. I never read cupofjo until Saturday! It’s like a present I give to myself at the end of my week. :)

    • Annelise says...

      Me too!

    • my day is sunday! haha

    • Natalie says...

      I do it on Mondays :-)

  26. Whitney says...

    Every night when I get in bed I do 30 leg lifts on each leg. Slightly absurd…but I always force myself to do it even when I am about to fall asleep. Then if I didn’t actually exercise that day, it’s like…well I sort of did…and I think that thought helps me sleep.
    Also, I cherish organizing snacks. Empty the pretzel bag into the food container, label the almonds jars with washi tape, organize the granola bars, etc etc. I secretly love it when my daughter’s friends come over and are like “OMG look at the snacks” :)

  27. Jeasica says...

    When I was a medical resident doing 24 or 32 hour shifts, I’d get home and have a shower-beer and then go to sleep. Even at 8am. Glorious.

    • Jenn Dreier says...

      Shower beers are THE BEST.

    • When I lived alone in my twenties I used to get off work and go for a run every Friday, then come home and have a shower beer before getting ready. The cold beer + warm water + a little leg soreness = perfection.

  28. Elisa Pavanello says...

    I know I’m late to this but my ritual is, whenever I don’t believe in myself and in what I’m capable of achieving (especially study-related things) I would watch legally blonde and feel highly motivated again.

    • Ophelie says...

      Yes! I do this too! Devil Wears Prada is my other go-to for this.

    • Gala says...

      You’re my twin soul !! I do the same. And no matter how many times I’ve watched this movie, the montage ”I’ll show you how valuable Elle Woods can be” always gets me pumped ! Haha

    • Bethany says...

      YES!

      “What, like it’s hard?”

  29. Krista says...

    I’ve struggled with insomnia since I was in college. I say ‘struggle’ because that’s what nighttime became- me versus the clock- which only exacerbates the problem. Throughout the years I’ve tried many different things to help, but it wasn’t until I began listening to a mindfulness app each night as I fall asleep that I’ve not only begun sleeping better, but actually enjoying nighttime. And when I wake up in the middle of the night, I can listen to ones suggested specifically for that time. Game changer! I highly suggest the Simple Habit app!

  30. Amanda says...

    I certainly home every day and lay down for 30 min. I listen to music, read blogs, sometimes I nap; either way it’s 30 min to let go of work (I teach 8th history) and reset for the rest of the evening.

  31. Sophie says...

    In summer I get up early on weekend days, out on my swimmers, walk down the hill and order an iced coffee to go in my keep cup and make my way to the Ladies Ocean Baths in Coogee. Once I’m there I swim float for at least twenty minutes before drying off in the sun, finishing my coffee and reading my book for a bit. I’m usually home before 9:30am. It’s truly heaven – I dream of it all winter.

    • Kellie P says...

      This sounds amazing!!

    • Sara says...

      Dreamy!

    • Angela says...

      Ladies Ocean baths at Coogee are my happy place….
      Throwing a coin into that bucket…..it ignites the happiness :)

  32. Curious says...

    Everyone, I love these descriptions — but have to say I am stunned that in this post-Seinfeld world and given that this very blog has so wonderfully highlighted self-pleasure, that no one has mentioned that as a ritual! Are people inhibited from doing so?!

    • Tasha says...

      I think everyone is sharing rituals that are unique to them. Masturbating is something everyone does and it’s a given to me at least.

  33. Katie Phillips says...

    My husband works shifts and so every week there are 2 nights that I’m home by myself from 5pm. After I put my toddler to bed I retreat to the kitchen to do any little jobs and prep and cook myself some dinner. I stick on a podcast, pour myself a drink (a glass of wine occasionally when i’m treating myself – or a sparkling water pimped up with fruit and ice if not) and I really enjoy the alone time. I used to hate cooking for one on those nights, but since this accidentally became my little ritual I enjoy it. I enjoy the process of making myself something nice rather than just whipping up beans on toast. And when I know there’s a new episode of my favourite podcast waiting to be listened to I almost can’t wait for that first night shift so I can have my little ritual!

    • sadie says...

      “Pimped up”… Love. :)

  34. CEW says...

    Whenever health anxiety creeps up on me, I make some golden milk and chug it (haha), then take a hot bath and say my (always irrational) fears out loud, which allows me to release them. then I hop out and moisturize. :) sounds silly but it really has stopped me from constant symptoms googling and scheduling doctors appts every few weeks.

    • Andrea says...

      Ooooh I like this. I’ve heard of the warm beverage and bath to calm before but have never tried pairing with saying ALWAYS irrational fears out loud. Trying it next time. Thank you!!

    • shell says...

      what is golden milk?

    • Michelle says...

      Haha! You are a kindred spirit. You must be a cancer survivor?! I am too and it is turmeric in all of the things all of the time!
      Still in search of a ritual that will keep me from googling and making doctor appts! ❤️

  35. Katherine says...

    I love baking cookies while it rains.

    and whenever things don’t work out with a guy I’ve started to like, I lay on the floor, cry, and listen to “make it without you” by Andrew Belle on repeat until I can get back up.

  36. My ritual is reading the Cup of Jo links post with a French press coffee on a Saturday morning. I live in New Zealand so the timing is wonderful.

    • Saya says...

      This is my ritual and my best friend’s too (we are also in NZ)!

    • Imogen says...

      I have the same ritual! But in Australia.

    • Margot says...

      ME TOO!! All of it!

    • CEW says...

      Yes!!! Cup of Jo is my Friday evening ritual, after the baby goes to sleep. :)

    • Emi says...

      I do the exact same thing! I live in the Netherlands and save all the posts for Saturday (sometimes Sunday) morning coffee.

    • Whitney says...

      Me too! I’m doing it this second. Except, I’m in DC.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      These notes make me so happy!!!! :) :) :)

    • Andrea says...

      Doing it right now in MN! Good morning/afternoon/evening wherever you are, lovely kindreds. :)

    • Marie says...

      Mine too (in Minneapolis)! 💜

    • sadie says...

      Saturday mornings. :)

    • Ophelie says...

      Oh ha, same here (in Australia)!

    • Jenn Dreier says...

      Same but Sunday morning!

    • Laura Coulter says...

      I’m in Singapore and save it for the weekend with a coffee and breakfast chocolate. If I looked at it during the week, I’d never get to work on time (or at all?). A great, quiet start to the weekend with things to think about after.

  37. Diana says...

    A few times a week I enjoy 1 spoonful of raw cookie dough while laying in bed.

  38. Emma Lucchi says...

    I have to fall asleep watching the movie “Emma” every single night. I used to suffer from some pretty severe anxiety that would always surface at night, and it was such a comfort to have something to pleasant to focus on other than my thoughts. Besides Mr. Elton having a little hissy fit and Harriett getting briefly knocked over by a gypsy, basically nothing bad happens in this movie. It’s just pretty dresses and sunshine and a gorgeous score. I don’t struggle with anxiety the way that I used to, but this has been my nighttime routine for so long that now it just feels wrong not to. (And yes, I can recite the first 15 minutes word for word. “In a time when one’s town was one’s world, and the actions at a dance excited greater interest than the movement of armies, there lived a young woman who knew how this world should be run…”)

    • Diana McNeill says...

      Due to my anxiety I watch episodes of Gilmore Girls every night before I go to sleep. I put it on my phone, with the volume really low, so low that it’s almost a whisper and I just imagine the scenes in my mind and it gently lulls me to sleep.

    • Charlotte K says...

      Which version!!??

    • Hannah says...

      Omg I listen to gossip girl too! My husband jokingly tells me that one day I’ll get a call from Netflix telling me I can’t watch it too much ha ha

    • Britney says...

      Gilmore Girls has saved me over and over again from loneliness. They’re my family!

    • Rachel says...

      Gilmore girls for me. The sound down so I can barely hear it. Sleep timer set on my tv. I’ve watched all the episodes so many times that this just feels so calming. Glad to know I’m not the only one :)

    • Annie says...

      Yes!!! Emma! ❤️❤️❤️

    • STACY L. OREFICE says...

      I do this with Gilmore girls !

    • Alex says...

      In high school, before DVR and streaming, my cousin actually recorded a few episodes of friends on a handheld voice recorder, so it was just the sound, and would play it at night before bed. I remember listening to it together once in the dark with my eyes closed and thinking, I don’t even need the screen because I’ve seen this one so many times.

    • Hannah says...

      I do the same thing with Friends! <3

    • Diana McNeill says...

      Just came back here to say that I’m overwhelmed with joy to know that there are other people out there obsessively watching/listening to Gilmore Girls just like me! <3

  39. Nina says...

    Sundays are my “take care of me” day. I apply cuticle remover to hands and toes. Take a long shower – cleansing, conditioning, shaving…however long as it takes. I trim nails and cuticles. I paint nails or apply diva gloss strips (these awesome plastic strips that totally help my nails to look gorgeous and be strong even though they destroy my nails underneath). I trim any body hair not shaved with an electric razor. And I do a mask if I’m going to.

  40. Tamara says...

    Reading the op/ed page at my desk during lunch as a teacher/mom were my only child-free, truly alone minutes when my kids were young. Now, I appreciate the camaraderie & adult conversation of eating lunch with my colleagues though it was initially hard giving up that alone time. The connection with the only other people who can relate to my work day leaves me refreshed & ready for the rest of my classes.

  41. Lynn says...

    I love to shower in the dark with a candle lit. I’ve noticed it has become a Friday night habit. A way to wash the week away and reset for the weekend. I also love to order sushi in, have a glass of natural wine, and watch a movie or catch up on a guilty pleasure TV show on Friday nights. Might I also add, a ritual is staying in on Friday nights and having a “me” night. It’s great because I know I can stay up a little later and sleep in the next morning. I rarely make plans with friends or with my husband on this night. It’s a way to decompress.

    • Our Friday nights are basically identical!

      Whenever I have a long day or am feeling just “over ‘it'” I turn the bathroom light off, light a candle, and play music really loud, something like Fleetwood Mac, or Léon,or Maggie Rogers. Followed by a luxurious lather of body butter and good scrub to my teeth. There’s something comforting about knowing that a few simple actions can make me feel so rejuvenated.

  42. Anna Vitale says...

    We have two toddler girls who are in daycare full time during the week while I and my husband work.

    But on Saturday morning, I transition out of working mom mode and put on my Mom Uniform: black leggings, gray teeshirt and….a fanny pack. Yes. What goes in the fanny pack? Phone, AirPods, lipgloss, the garage door opener and whatever small treasures my daughters hand me throughout the day (tiny sequins, a twig, chives from the garden).

    Then, on Sunday evening, I take off the fanny back, empty all the leftover treasures, and begin my transition back to working mom mode.

    The fanny pack has become a very helpful symbol / Pavlovian trigger to snap into zoning in and mothering small children (much different than my day job as a consultant / investment banker!).

    • Sarah says...

      Ohmygod I love this so much. My kids aren’t tiny anymore (7 and 9), but they still collect treasures. Combine that with my current weekend habit of losing my phone appx 567 times, and all the random crap I pick up on weekends, and I may have to incorporate a fanny pack with my similar yoga pants/hoodie mom weekend uniform. Thank you!

    • J says...

      Wow! How did you come up with this? So great. Thanks for sharing :)

    • Andrea says...

      I’ve been feeling an oddly deep desire to add a fanny pack to my life and this just multiplied it.

    • megs283 says...

      I’m also a mom of two young girls (pre-preschool and toddler) and now I NEED a fanny pack!

  43. Lynne says...

    I have a few rituals!

    –Friday evening with a glass of wine and Cup of Jo Weekend Links. I love this–sets the tone for the weekend.

    –Each morning I tidy my desk before I start work and make sure I have either a luxe, seasonally appropriate candle lit or some flowers. My job is high-stress and this helps keep the calm.

    –Every time I go to Trader Joe’s I buy myself flowers. And not just one bunch! I buy 2 or 3. They are super reasonable and make me happy.

    • I used to buy myself flowers from Costco all the time! Forgot about it until I read your comment. It’s such a simple, but great, pleasure! Next time I’m in the store, I’m going to grab some and think of you. Thanks for the inspiration!

  44. Sally says...

    Every Saturday morning, I walk up to the end of my street, in time for the coffee shop there to open at 8:30.
    Then I spend about an hour reading, with a mocha and a tuna and cheese panini.

    • rachl says...

      this is really so lovely….i really would LOVE to live in walking distance to ANYTHING decent! I live in the suburbs and my closest stores are liquor stores and gas stations….auto body shops and fast food joints. depressing as all get out…

  45. Meg says...

    I did this exact same thing in Kindergarten, with The Sound Of Music too! I would lay out my Aladdin towel on the floor in front of the TV, lay down on it and press play. Despite having siblings close in age to me, I recall doing this alone, every school day. It is still my favorite movie, and my husband knows not to plan anything if it’s airing on TV as it does around the holidays. At the lake with my in-laws last week, I found out that when it first came out, my father-in-law’s dad was stationed in France, and his mother was overwhelmed with caring for four young children so she would take them to the french cinema every day to see it for most of that summer while her husband worked. So, the movie has special memories for both of us!

  46. N says...

    My boyfriend and I were planning to get engaged this year and married next. On Monday, he broke up with me out of the blue. There weren’t any red flags or even small signs that this was coming. He’s a resident doctor who works really long hours, on his feet, and recently a patient of his died, and for months I’ve thought he might be depressed (though he hides it well). So I find myself in familiar territory (my ex boyfriend was also depressed after losing his brother to a car accident and we broke up as a result).

    So, my heartbroken ritual that worked before and will hopefully work this time is this:
    Walking my dog in the morning, just me and him. Laying on the floor with him when I feel anxious. Spending time on a hard puzzle in the mornings and evenings. Seeing my therapist weekly. Seeing my acupuncturist weekly, but not on the same day as my therapist.

    Cupofjo friends, please say a prayer for me and for this guy I love who is going through some really hard things.

    I walked him back from a breakup to a break. He’s going to go see a therapist for 2 months while I move to my parents house during that time. We’ll get back together in October to either end it well, with couples counseling, or work it out through counseling as well.

    I sound put together in this comment. But my heart is shattered. He is the love of my life, and a wonderful human being. I’m devastated that I might not be able to be a part of his life.

    • Kelly says...

      You are living my life. My boyfriend and I were also planning to be engaged and married within the next year or so.
      My relationship was recently ended due to my boyfriend’s feelings of anxiety/overwhelm related to a trauma.
      It is the most awful kind of heartbreak. It feels out of my control, reconciliation is predicated on his healing process and also both OUT OF NOWHERE and somewhat predictable.
      I have returned to this post to get some inspiration for rituals, as I feel adrift and in deep pain. Your post comforts me- even just to know someone else out there is going through something similar.

      And it reminds me to schedule an appointment with my acupuncturist. Thank you.

    • Cindy says...

      Hugs and love to you N. Also to Kelly. And to the men you love. Healing prayers for all of you.

    • Laura says...

      I am saying a prayer for both of you and to all else who need it, or as my cousin and I like to say “send the force.”
      I am in the opposite situation from you both (recently engaged and to be married in the fall) but know the perils of heartbreak so well– even in my current relationship which has gone through a LOT and certainly still will. I hope your rituals bring you gentle comfort through these (very) confusing days, and when things get particularly hairy, I hope you can turn to these words and those form others and know you are being thought of. <3 <3 <3
      The comment section at CoJ can really be the warmest hug.
      Sending love (and the force!) from Nova Scotia
      XOXOXOXO

    • A says...

      Thank you N and Kelly for your comments! I feel so much less alone now. Sending you both love.

    • S says...

      N, I’m so sorry to hear about this crappy time in your life.

      Things that have helped me stay the most centered I can be:
      Journaling/meditating in the morning or evening. Basically a designated quiet time moment with a hot beverage and quiet escape from the day.

      I have an app on my phone called Day One that’s a nice journaling app. If I don’t feel like journaling or didn’t have time- I either write three things I’m grateful for, or 3 things that made me smile, or 3 things that were beautiful from that day. On struggle days it’s that the half and half was still good, that I awoke to a text from a good friend, a kid on the street waving pedestrians going by, or a flower that had bloomed outside. It doesn’t matter how deep they are, just recognizing that there’s good stuff still out there to see.

      My sister once asked me the question: what makes you feel rejuvenated? My first reaction was coffee?? But then I really thought about it and realized that a hot steamy shower before bed makes me feel more relaxed, and calmed down from the day. Maybe ask yourself the same question and see if you come up with something new you can be more conscious of doing.

      I hope things pan out for you and I’ll say a prayer for you also. Sending an internet hug.

    • H says...

      My heart goes out to you, as I have been sailing through a similar storm these past few months. Trying to stay focused on the positive and just keep going. Sending lots of support your way! You are not alone.

    • Susan says...

      N.,

      I am so sorry you are going through this. Hugs to you and prayers for your broken heart.

      And please disregard the following if it doesn’t help you: You sound wonderful – kind and empathetic. You deserve a guy who feels lucky to be with you. To have a great relationship, all parties should feel lucky to be with the other(s). In the above message, it sounds like you understand and are trying to help him with his pain. But how is he helping you shoulder yours? He’s actually causing you pain and prolonging it by making you feel like you extracted a concession by characterizing this as a break instead of break up.

      Please be kind to yourself. If he wants to be with you, it’s on him to do the work of showing you that.

    • K says...

      N, I’m sorry you’re going through this.

      I’ve been there, and it wasn’t until I read your comment that I remembered how truly gut-wrenching this kind of break can feel, especially when it seems like a large part of the problem doesn’t have much to do with you or with the relationship, but more with the circumstances surrounding it or your partner’s struggles with an outside force (in this case, work, depression, etc.). My boyfriend (now husband – see, there is hope) wanted a “break” from our relationship during a particularly tough time during his med school training. He was under a lot of pressure, and ultimately he felt he was letting everyone around him down, including me, and so his solution was to “let me go”.

      It’s tough dating a resident doctor, and being married to one is tough too. No matter how much empathy you give, sometimes it isn’t enough to cut through the grueling schedule and the weight of all the terrible, heartbreaking things they see and news they have to deliver. It requires a very understanding partner who knows when to give a little space and when to step in to lend some strength.

      Throughout this time apart, remember this – whatever the outcome, you will be ok. You will.

      And keep developing your rituals – they will keep you grounded and connected to what’s really important. I hope that your boyfriend experiences some healing and will come back to your relationship feeling brighter.

      Wishing you strength <3

    • Kelly says...

      Thanks to all who responded (and even if you responded to just N., I took your advice for myself!)

      I appreciate the kindness of strangers and I am taking it in.

    • N says...

      Thank you guys so so much. Thank you for seeing me and sending me strength and letting me know I’m not alone in this. Kelly, I’m walking through this with you.
      Joanna, thanks for making a place for me to turn to when my heart is shattered knowing that someone will send me comfort.

      <3

    • Emma says...

      N! My heart goes out to you. I am about 15 months down the track from this situation – depressed fiance who called it quits on us out of the blue. We did the limbo break, i moved to my parents – the whole thing. It is truly hell on earth and i wish you (both!) all the luck in the world. I am so, so glad you are in therapy and that you have a dog – both are life rafts.
      Small things that helped me was the Nora Ephron book Heartburn, the TV series The Good Wife, everything from Maya Angelou, red wine (let’s be honest), getting massages and regular yoga. I once interviewed a woman whose 4-year-old son was killed in a hit and run and her biggest tip for grief was to have regular massages and go to yoga, because she said it’s so important to move grief through the body to help you process it. Also, I mainlined Oprah Super Soul Sundays podcasts – very good for rage and sorry days. There is also a thing called The Box Breath (i think Brene Brown talks about this?) where you inhale for four counts, hold for four, exhale for four counts, hold for four. It sounds simple but it’s really good for helping calm your body when you think you’re about to lose it and scream cry in public.
      Also, a final thing: you sound like a fantastic partner to have. You should be really proud of how you have managed this and no matter what happens, to have approached something as devastating as this with generosity, patience and love is all any of us can hope for. Good luck. If things work out in October and beyond and you stay together, then that is wonderful and a tribute to both of you. If it doesn’t, it will also be okay. I really thought my situation would drown me, and it didn’t. It just took time. As Winston Churchill said: if you’re going through hell, keep going. Much love to you (and to everyone else who has been in this situation.)

    • L says...

      Hi N. I was struck by your comment as my husband and I are both physicians and I felt the need to respond. First off, I am so sorry you are going through this difficult time. Keep taking good care of yourself and keep reaching out to others if it helps. I am imagining that your beloved is in a field in which patients do not die very frequently given that this event was so jarring to him. Next comes my cautionary words and please disregard them if you see fit: this is (very unfortunately) unlikely to be the worst or most stressful thing that will ever happen to him. Patients will die, other people he loves will become sick or die, financial stressors can occur, on and on…if this is throwing him into such a state, then yes, I agree with your thought that something else such as depression may be going on. You are very right to expect him to take time to do what he needs to do to start feeling better. He also needs to gain tools to be able to cope when things get tough, as they inevitably do throughout the course of a relationship and life. I completely agree with Susan that you deserve to be with someone who feels lucky to be with you and is willing to put in the work to feel better himself. It can be tough, but it is, imo, necessary for a relationship that is fulfilling to both of you. You’ve got this and good on you for reaching out. Big, big, hugs.

    • Hagen Carmichael says...

      <3 my heart goes out to you!

    • Sara says...

      Stay strong, sister! xoxo

    • Lynda says...

      Love and strength to you.

    • rachel says...

      oh hun, my heart goes out to you and your guy. prayers and love from Fresno.
      <3

  47. Ll says...

    On sundays I do laundry, face masks, take a long shower and deep condition my hair/shave/scrub etc. I usually also make food for the coming week and drink a glass of red wine while I do it. I also water my plants on sundays. Sunday’s are my thing :)

  48. Marcela says...

    When I was a kid my family was a member of this sports club that had a heated pool open-24/7, so my parents used to take me and my 2 sisters there Friday nights after they came home from work. It’s one of the best memories of my childhood and it was such a nice relaxing time. Now I’m 30 and live across the world from my entire family but every Friday evening, after working out, I spend some time at the heated pool at my gym before heading off to a Friday night dinner or drinks as a happy relaxed woman. It makes the biggest difference when living in a crazy Asian city where I’m based :)

    • A says...

      This makes me smile so much. ❤️

  49. Deidre says...

    i read a cup of jo while having a cup of joe in the morning :)

  50. caitlin says...

    There was a stretch of time where I had a very inconsistent schedule and my days off were scattered, often on a Tuesday here and a Friday there. But that meant I got a whole glorious day to myself, with my boyfriend at work, and most of my friends also. No pressure to do anything at all.

    One of my favorite rituals during that time was to make an elaborate, long, lunch, then sitting down with said lunch, a glass of sparkling water on ice with lemon, and a magazine.

  51. Leslie says...

    Whenever I shower – even if it’s during the daytime- I light a candle. It’s such a small ritual but I feel like I’m taking the time to make showering (really, the only alone time!!!) nice + indulgent. I love it! Makes me smile every time I hope back out of the shower : )

    • Annie says...

      I love this! Totally stealing this idea. :)

  52. Nikki says...

    My favorite morning ritual is taking my dog Jasper on a walk while the mornings are still pretty quiet. I love it and he does too!

  53. Allie says...

    This is so helpful for me to read. I used to always read a half hour before falling asleep but with a 1 yo at home that hasn’t been happening a lot lately. I JUST got a new book today so I am thankful for this reminder about the importance of personal self care rituals

    • SarahN says...

      Yep, there’s a moment when I lay down, put lip balm on, put in my ear plugs and pick up my book. The day is done. Sleep it to come. Bliss

  54. Tea time with a treat between 4-5 pm every day (if I can). It’s my time to be alone, stop whatever I’m doing, and reset. I could be at home or out and about, but the ritual of giving myself the time to slow down and quiet my busy mind is essential. And it’s the perfect way to ensure a little before-dinner indulgence each and every day :)

  55. Kristen says...

    Our family has recently moved into the woods—not really, we are about 10 minutes from a shopping center and society—however, it does seem like we are in the middle of nowhere and I LOVE it. My new ritual of late has been to enjoy my morning coffee out on the deck and watch the hummingbirds, deer, (and today a coyote?!?!) and start my day as the nature around me is starting theirs.

    • Mel says...

      This is my dream. I’m a woodsy girl but like the convenience of a city. I’m in a first tier burb outside of a city and currently house hunting for my woodsy house with a deck so I too can drink coffee on a deck every morning. *cheers*

  56. Sheila Mary says...

    I joined a subscription to my area newspaper about 7 months ago. Since then, EVERY morning I sit with my coffee and oatmeal breakfast and read the Sunday paper. I spread it out for the whole week, getting through the hard news on Sunday/Monday and the arts sections later in the week. I never miss the comics either :)

    I never really had a ritual before this one, just some things I’d do occasionally, or every few months. But this, reading solo with coffee in the very early morning hours, is absolute bliss for me.

  57. Anna says...

    Every Sunday morning, I write down three things that I am grateful for that week in a paper journal. I’ve been doing this since January and it’s been great to look back at these weekly lists.

  58. MarlaD says...

    When I was growing up, my mom had a ritual that we laugh about today: around once a week in the evening, she’d say “I’m going to go meditate” and head out to the front steps with a can of Coors and a pack of cigarettes and just chill for an hour or so. It had nothing to do with actual meditation, was always after dark and we knew not to bug her. Our front steps were on the side of the porch and hidden from the street and it was a pretty cozy spot. All these years later she recalls that it felt so luxurious and relaxing. I don’t have anything that comes even close.

    • Aideen says...

      That’s brilliant!
      I’m picturing you in your late teens signing up for a Buddhist retreat with this as your image of meditation!
      (and it is a meditation of sorts)

    • L says...

      Marlad, your mother is my spirit animal. Seriously, smart, smart woman.

    • M says...

      Oh my gosh I love your mom!!! 💛

    • Vanessa says...

      AMEN MOM! I call this walking the dog and do it with a sippy cup of weak vodka soda and lime and a vape :) So freeeeee!

  59. Danielle says...

    I really love reading all of these. It’s interesting how rituals seem to play an especially important part during times of transition. Several years ago I had just gone through a divorce and was living by myself for the first time in my life. I worked at a bakery. It was a job I adored that my ex had wanted me to leave but now I got to keep. He got to keep the car. It was the middle of summer and I would walk home to my little apartment in the mid-western summer heat having spent the day in the heat of a kitchen.

    The first thing I would do when I got home was take off my flour and butter covered pants. I would lay on the bed with the fan on high pointing directly at me. Once I had cooled off I would make a little gin & tonic and run a bath. I would read in the tub with my drink for as long as I wanted.

    My life has changed a lot since then but as soon as the weather warms up I think of that summer ritual and how the pleasure of all those things made a difficult time so much easier.

    • Yulia says...

      Hi Danielle–that is so lovely.

    • Andrea says...

      This makes me smile. ❤️ (And crave some time to just lay on a bed with a fan on me, and a gin & tonic in a bath.)

  60. Sam says...

    So many!! At least once a week, I’ll make myself a really nice dinner. About once a month or two, I’ll take myself out for as nice a meal as I can afford. I go for nightly walks alone. Sundays are my admin day: I do what needs to get done and don’t talk to anyone.

  61. Emily Rose says...

    I’m generally a talkative person, but in the morning I am slow to wake and do NOT want to talk. I get such peace from my sleepy ritual of putting the kettle on, and making a cup of steaming black tea with a touch of honey while listening to the Song of the Sea soundtrack, or really any Celtic instrumental album.

    • rachel says...

      lovely. and i completely agree. no talkie until i have my cup of coffee! and i love the idea of listening to music! it realllly is all about the simple things <3

  62. Caroline says...

    Does hiding in the pantry sneaking chocolate when my kids aren’t looking count?

    • Allison says...

      yes it does! or hiding in the bathroom with your phone to scroll instagram.

  63. angela says...

    Oh I love ritual! I am looooving these comments. Swimming in them.

    Swimming in them as I drink my hot, sweet, milky coffee in the dark of morning, after my daily yoga and meditation. I look forward to reading CoJ every morning, for 10 mins, before I venture out into the world as a midwife. It sets me up, ignites joy.

    As always, thank you.

  64. Moni says...

    I have enjoyed reading all the posts so much! Rituals create lasting memories that nurture your soul! I will share my favorite rituals throughout my life and they all involve food/drink :)

    As a young child, my family and I spent most vacation breaks in Madrid – I remember being 6 or 7 and each morning for breakfast I would go by myself to a bakery next to our apartment and order a croissant and a hot chocolate. I would eat it at a counter facing the outside and watch the people going by.

    Later, in my teens, my weekends would start off with early long runs near the ocean. In my college years, I did the same and added yoga. After these intense workouts I would treat myself with a AC’s frozen Lemonade.

    After college where my fiance and I could afford to splurge a little more, we would visit a Houston’s restaturant every Friday. We would get arrive at the restaurant right before closing because we both had mulitple jobs. The staff knew us so well that the staff would bring us our favorite treats without asking – Spinach dip with bacon on the side and to drink a mojito and either a cosmo/margarita.

    Later when our daughter was born, I came to love the frozen margaritas at Lime Fresh Mexican Grill. My daughter was not such a fan of the food there but over much of my persistence she is finally a fan – so frequently on Tuesdays, we have dinner at Lime… kids eat free and I can get the happy hour special on the margarita ;)

    These rituals have brought great joy to me and there’s comfort in reliability! I wonder what will we be the next future rituals

  65. J. says...

    I abhor being alone and rarely am (seriously, even a 5-hour plane ride has me drained from being ‘alone’… in a metal tube with 300 people), am alone but know I need it. So every Monday, without fail: walk a mile to my favorite restaurant along a flower-filled street, listening to music and thinking + cold glass of champagne and dinner alone + two hours of reading. I sit for a couple of hours and float home feeling so peaceful and soul-filled.

    • rach says...

      proud of you

  66. Lindsay says...

    I meal prep breakfast sandwiches and freeze them for my days when I am in the office. We have a lovely cafe in our building with outside seating. I go down to the cafe at 9am, heat up my breakfast sandwich, and eat by myself on the patio while looking at my phone for the first time that day. I am usually the only person out there, and it only takes me about 5 minutes to eat, but it’s a nice break in the morning after i’ve checked my emails and addressed any urgent issues. Today I ate my sandwich at my desk and it just wasn’t the same. Just now realizing how much I have come to enjoy those few minutes of solitude while at work.

  67. Kristina says...

    This sounds absolutely dreamy.

  68. Moriah says...

    This is a bit of an odd one. I always drink chocolate milk before I travel, and never any other time. I always buy it in the airport or at a gas station. I think traveling makes me a bit anxious, so having something that reminds me of childhood is comforting. It’s become almost superstitious to me now. I would never board a flight without drinking it first.

    • Allie says...

      I do the same with apple juice on the plane!

    • Loesie says...

      I used to have a travel-necklace that I would wear every time when flying. Now, years later, I always ‘have to’ wear my pretzel-socks which bring me luck when flying…
      Maybe it makes no sense but it sure gives me a sense of empowerment haha.

  69. Scallywag says...

    Sunday night baths. It’s the reset point. It also works in tandem with the Sunday long run!

  70. Simone says...

    My routine in the evening is watering my garden. I follow the same route every night, right before dusk. It’s so peaceful with no screens or distractions; learning the calls of the birds as they settle down just as the frogs start bellowing, watching the garden evolve slowly over the season, taking in the sunset…

    • Katherine says...

      I have the same routine! It’s one of my favorite parts of summer/early fall

  71. AmberLeigh says...

    Just started one! I am 4 1/2 months pregnant with my fourth child and very sadly divorcing. The only day or time I have off to myself with kiddos at daycare, is my OBGYN appointments that I take off work for. Rather than feel isolated, on those days, I treat myself to lunch at an Indian buffet for an hour and a half! I just read my book and let my pallet get excited by different flavors and consume as much as I would like with no one to judge.

    • Rebecca says...

      I am so sorry for what you’re going through. Thank you for sharing and good for you for making time for yourself.

    • j. says...

      I love this, Amberleigh, and sending you big hugs and wishes for a blessedly easy pregnancy. What a fun ritual and a beautiful sunbeam through a cloud. xx

    • Erin says...

      I went through a divorce last year. It is a very hard process! Good for you for building something that is just for you into your routines. My ritual for when I was feeling cruddy during my divorce was reading trashy magazines in a bubble bath, preferably while also eating candy. I can recommend it. :)

      And I’m sending hugs your way. It gets better.

    • Fernanda Abreu says...

      Congratulations for this little piece of joy. God bless you and your children, giving you sweeter days. I hope your pregnancy is being smooth as far as possible. Praying that you can reinvent yourself and your plans for a happy future. <3

    • Elizabeth says...

      I always ate burritos on midwife appointment days with my third child. Even after my last appointment where she told me not to go home because I was already 5 cm. (Dumb move)
      You’ve got the right attitude! Sending you good karma!

  72. In my early twenties friends would celebrate–and playfully tease–me for how full of ritual my life was. Back then, I was in graduate school and worked in a fine dining restaurant at night and so my mornings were typically, deliciously, all for me. I would write three pages (a la Julia Cameron of “The Artist’s Way”) and then head straight to my favorite Seattle coffee shop, order the same thing, say hi to all the baristas I’d become close with, and sit down to do some more writing, reveling in the alone-time to explore the corners of all my experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Seasons were full of walks around the same lake, drinks and dinners at places I was considered “a regular.” I loved it. (I even wrote a poem a bit a go about the deliciousness of being alone, shared here, if you’d like to see: https://www.carterumhau.com/blog-coming-soon/2018/3/6/being-alone-and-finding-it-the-most-delicious-thing-in-the-world) But, as graduate school ended and life became increasingly filled to each edge by increasingly longer work days and nonstop work stress outside of the office, my rituals disappeared and I watched myself float further and further away from myself. Long story short, I am now three months into self-employment and find myself so quickly returning to the art of ritual. I think for some people self-employment can be entrepreneurial in spirit, but for me I know that it’s a lifestyle choice (which I feel so privileged to make) that will keep my spirit intact in ways the regular 9-5 never could for me and–as a therapist and artist–I feel like I’m pursuing a rhythm that gives back all the energy I’ve expended in my week on others’ behalves. I am back into the ritual of writing morning pages, which I begin after making coffee. The gestures of making coffee have become a sort of choreography in which I relish–the mis en place, the sounds, the smell–slowing me down before I begin writing. I also now end my writing ritual with another ritual: I brush my hands over the surface of my couch (clearing any lint I guess, but mostly I think this serves as a gesture to set aside whatever worldly things I was writing about and set the stage for more spiritual insights) and I pull a tarot card and read its meaning aloud to myself. From there a rush to get ready ensues but I am anchored for the rest of the day by my rituals.

    • Becca says...

      I’m from Seattle and … were your walks around Greenlake? I’ve definitely had many inner dialogues around that lake ❤️

    • Sheila Mary says...

      Loving this Seattle reference ❤️
      Also, I feel so strongly in-touch with you about making the commitment to self-employment and the pleasure of old habits. I’m hoping to be self-employed within the next year and one reason is the lifestyle!

    • Your poem was gorgeous!!!!

    • Britt says...

      Love this Seattle reference! You’re making me miss home. Still haven’t found a replacement for my old coffee shops and the people who run them in Cali.
      And your writing is lovely! Thank you for sharing.

  73. Sarah says...

    On most Friday evenings after work I go to my neighborhood pub by myself with a book. I always sit at the bar and have two glasses of wine and a delicious roasted salmon dinner while I read my book. Luckily it’s a decidedly non-sketchy bar, and I think the book makes me look unavailable, so I’m not often approached by anyone — which is just how I like it. :)

  74. Hannah says...

    I’ve been single for awhile, and when my flings or “almosts” have run their course, eating a donut has become my favorite grieving ritual. (Typically, when that feeling of just *knowing it isn’t right* comes during a morning after.) Beyond the sugar rush and comfort of carbs, picking a donut up on the way home feels almost celebratory and gives me a simple sense of comfort that life is good and everything is going to work out.

    • Andrea says...

      It really is going to!!! You do you. Love that this ritual is part out of comfort and part celebratory. 👏🏼✨✨

  75. Erin Andrews says...

    hot naps are such a specific, simple pleasure.

  76. Gigi says...

    I work as a consultant, traveling 2 weeks out of each month. My ritual when I’m on the road is to take a bubble bath, do a face mask, and afterwards put on a big cozy bathrobe and order room service. It makes the sacrifice of not being at home a little easier.

    • Vanessa says...

      100% co-sign this. My mom give me sheet masks and eye patch thingies because I told her about this, and I only stay in hotels where Expedia has shown me a viable bathtub :)

  77. Your mom was fabulous.

  78. Maywyn says...

    I am exploring a new ritual to replace cola and cheeze puffs on Friday nights. No arguing during December. A glass of Earth’s wine/water midnight New Year (when awake).

  79. Cynthia says...

    I love the comments and want to paint a picture for all the younger, frazzled moms out there. I grew up in the 60s, in a quintessential suburban tract filled with stay-at-home moms, oodles of kids, and dads taking the train into the city for work each day. My mother took her job as homemaker very seriously and started the day in a work outfit of pedal pushers and blouse while she cared for three girls and kept our home meticulously clean. She baked most afternoons. She did not drive so we never left the neighborhood during the week. Our elementary school was so close we actually came home for lunch. Around 4 pm every afternoon, Mom would take a shower or leisurely bath and start primping for my dad’s arrival. She would sit at her vanity and apply makeup while she smoked, then get dressed in a full-on dress with heels, pearls, and perfume. Every day. When Dad waltzed in at 5:30 (train schedule completely predictable), she would sit down with him and enjoy a martini and some canned nuts and they would smoke and chat about their day while we three played quietly out of sight. Then we would all sit down for a fully home-cooked dinner complete with dessert and milk.

    • Hillary F. says...

      It is so amazing how much life has changed in such a short time.

    • Jennifer Park Cox says...

      I love this!

    • Rebekka says...

      This is how I picture that entire era wrapped into a one comment! Thank you for painting such a vivid story. I hope your mom found so much pleasure in the care she provided for her family and herself. Also, if you can remember how she got you and your siblings for more than 2 mins, please help a girl out, I’m all ears!

    • Cynthie says...

      Rebekka, it was an era characterized by a wider separation between children and adults than we see today. My recollection is we spent a great deal of time outdoors and had free reign to go to the park, play with our neighbors, and ride bikes/roller skate throughout the hood. Once we knew how to swim (2nd grade for me), we also biked to the community pool and often spent the entire day there. I have fond memories of going back outside after dinner and catching fireflies and being so dirty by day’s end my mother would hose me off before letting me come in the house for bed.

    • Betty Draper, Don Draper flashback, with you being Sally Draper :)

  80. Ivy says...

    One of my very favorite rituals is quite honestly reading this blog. It doesn’t always happen at the same time of day and I even miss a day or two here and there, but I’ve pulled this website nearly every single day for the past six years.

    I also get a little thrill out of filling out my planner for the upcoming events in the week/weeks ahead. PaperMate Flair Felt pens are my ABSOLUTE favorite and I color code like a lunatic.

    • J says...

      Same. This website is it! :D Mondays are for a doughnut after drop-off, to eat at home at my desk, with the newest Armchair Expert podcast. I casually google things they’re talking about… love my Monday ritual. Plus the fact that it’s on Mondays is the best. Another one, I have thick curly hair, so when it’s finally time to do the whole circus of washing, that hour and a half of showering and tending to my hair and skin is the best. Fresh pair of jams, and wallah!

  81. Julia says...

    SSB- “Get your life together Mondays”. The weekends can get hectic and MESSY at my place. I take time every Monday to wash my sheets, go to hot yoga (even if I do not want to, which I usually don’t), and clean up whatever mess appeared in my place over the weekend. I used to be a messy person in my 20s,started this a few years ago, and it has made my week so much easier, CLEANER, and makes my brain less fuzzy. THREE CHEERS FOR “GET YOUR LIFE TOGETHER MONDAYS”!

    • Jess says...

      Whoop whoop!! Monday nights must be the best!

  82. Rachel says...

    One of my favorite things to do is not set an alarm and let my body naturally wake up. Sunday mornings, I enjoy waking up and just lying in bed, reflecting on how my body feels. It is so nice not to be jolted awake by the ring tone alarm and just take my time getting up.

  83. MelTown says...

    I recently (and unexpectedly) became a stay at home mom to three kids when my career took a turn. The transition from working full-time to being home was SO HARD, but it’s also been surprisingly great now that I’ve gotten used to it. Even now though, the afternoons are really rough. I’ve started sneaking off every day to eat a small spoonful of peanut butter dipped in chocolate chips with a large cup of coffee. It’s only a few minutes but the sugar/protein/caffeine/alone time combo helps get me through the hardest part of my day.

    • Danielle says...

      Years ago I was a nanny to a family with 6 children and the spoonful of peanut butter with chocolate chips was my go-to afternoon distraction/indulgence/pick-me -up too!

    • Kristy says...

      One of my favorite snacks!

  84. pink says...

    my morning ritual is getting ready for the day with GMA. my mom used to have morning news on when we woke and now I do it too. :)

  85. I leave 20 mins early for work, so that I can stop at a cafe and have a cappuccino by myself. Sometimes I read a book, sometimes I stare into space, sometimes I converse with other early birds. It always sets a great tone for the day – much better than rushing.