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. Abigail Allwein says...

    If I had a nickel for every time I sat and cried reading the comments/posts on Cup of Jo in public I’d be a rich woman. This comment section is no different.

    Blue Cheese on the most beautiful tiny marble antique cheeseboard with a toothpick and a glass of fresh green juice is a favorite as of late.

    I find my rituals change a time or two a year. I’ve never been a person who struggled with finding little special moments to do. I will always do them, but will I slow my mind and actually ENJOY them, or just check them off of my ToDo List? This is my struggle as of late.

    Another is taking my boys (pups) to the dog beach. There’s nothing the sea salt air, sand, and exuberance of 50 dogs who are really LIVING can’t fix.

  2. Christina says...

    I think I read here once in an interview with a mother who spoke about using her kids bath time as a time to take care of herself. Genius! Every night when I put my daughters in the bathtub I do the following: floss my teeth, wash my face, file and or paint my nails while I talk to them about their day. Sounds like a no-brainer but its been a total game changer in making sure that i’m doing all those small self care things that are easy to forget.

    • Caitlin says...

      Woah, this just changed my entire life. Thank you thank you thank you!

    • diana says...

      I also am committed to kiddie bath time flossing! My like, #1 life hack. You’re trapped in the bathroom so your kid won’t drown, might as well do the thing you’ve been nagged to do by your dentist your entire effing life.

    • Amy K says...

      I read this blog while my kiddo is in the bath!

  3. Laura says...

    I just developed one, which I hadn’t really thought about in terms of a ritual until now, but I really like it. I made the executive decision that I would go into late on Tuesday mornings (I haven’t exactly told my boss or gotten permission for this, but I think it’s okay…)

    I have started going to a pilates class in my neighborhood that starts at 7:15. I walk there, and when it’s over, I walk to a coffee shop, get an iced coffee and go home to shower/get ready for work. It’s such a nice treat in the middle of the week to have a leisurely morning!

  4. Martha says...

    I recently became a mom (although not so recently as she turns 1 next month!) and, quite unexpectedly, it’s forced me into becoming a morning person. I recently took advantage of it by getting an 8:00 am pedicure before work after dropping my daughter off at daycare.

    I was one of the first appointments and sprung for the extended time foot massage. It was so peaceful. I already have an appointment booked for next month.

    • Magda says...

      Motherhood forced me into becoming a morning person too! When my 5yo was an infant, he liked to get up at 3:53a. I remember longing to sleep in until the clock showed 4 rather than 3. Now he’s a great sleeper, and if I get up with enough time to spare, I make coffee in a little French press, then read and write for 1-2 hours before he wakes up. If I get up later, I make coffee while listening to NPR and drink that first cup in blissful quiet while feeling my brainfog clear.

  5. J says...

    Our kids are still very little, so our daily ritual is making and eating dinner after they go to bed. I know eating at 10:00 p.m. is late but I really love dinner and I always like to make a nice one. I don’t want to rush making it, or eating it, so we wait until late to be able to enjoy it. One day we’ll do family dinners and I know I’ll love them but right now, while it’s still chaotic with diapers and noise machines and lying down with a little one in a toddler bed until they fall asleep, this evening ritual is important.

    Loved the comments section on this one. So good.

    • Elizabeth Baddeley says...

      This makes me feel better. I was stressing about not starting “family dinners” when my son started solids. But he eats at 5:00 as soon as he gets home from daycare! My husband and I do feed him together (which is usually pretty fun), but have our real meal after he goes down.

  6. J. says...

    Mine mostly seem to revolve around food and things I listen to…

    -Post-work ritual when I’m home alone…standing in my kitchen and eating very thin slices of sharp cheddar cheese while I think about what to have for dinner
    -Watching an old familiar show while cooking dinner — currently finishing Mad Men
    -Listening to a podcast while doing my bathroom routine at night…no less than 15 minutes of me time to wash my face, exfoliate, etc.
    -Playing Spotify’s Peaceful Guitar playlist on weekend mornings while making coffee

    • TSA says...

      Yes–Cabot Extra Sharp sliced THIN!

  7. Heather says...

    My body churns into operation in the morning at about the same pace as an old desktop computer rebooting. No matter how much sleep I get, I’m always going to need a minute. My three children are the opposite. They BURST out of bed at TOP FEELING. They need breakfast, and drinks, and KidzBop on the Sonos, and someone to play kitty family. I hit a mental wall of overwhelm at dawn.

    Lately, based on a recommendation from a friend, I’ve been giving them pouches. They are 4 and 6. They are probably way too old to be slurping down baby food. But who cares? It seems to be just enough calories to keep them stable while I sit on the couch and sip my coffee and zombie stare out at the street. Then I stretch, and I’m ready for the hard work of toaster waffles.

    • Heather says...

      Also, washing my face with this lemon cleanser:

      https://www.dermstore.com/product_Lemon+Cleanser_8529.htm

      I love that you brought up rituals today, because I just bought another bottle of this creamy, deliciously scented, (overpriced) cleanser *just because* it is the key to a favorite daily ritual, marking the transition between day and night. If it brings you joy every day, it is a good investment.

    • Kelly says...

      How. Do. You. Know. My. Life.

      Why do the kids always wake up ON TEN?!?

    • Courtney says...

      “Then I stretch, and I’m ready for the hard work of toaster waffles.” YAS. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve said, “give Mommy 5 more minutes.” And all because I didn’t want to make the toaster waffles :)

    • Natalie says...

      I love all of this !!

    • Tori says...

      Team toaster waffle. And though I’m a morning person, still no match to to intensity of children waking.

    • Jo says...

      Oh my gosh, yes! Far and away, the hardest part of parenting is the mornings before a cup or two of coffee. I like morning, but I also like to wake up slowly and my kids like to wake up like BATS OUT OF HELL.

    • Mims says...

      you, heather, are a genius. never change. Zombie staring has been shown to improve the IQ. its a fact. especially when combined with coffee.

  8. Jessica says...

    What a good reminder to make time for myself. I have a 2 year old and currently live in a teeny nyc apartment with toddler and partner, and it is TOUGH to find/make the time. But it is glorious when it happens, and important. I’ll definitely be bookmarking to get inspiration from the comments!

  9. Meg says...

    My favorite ritual is the Friday afternoon garden walk in the summertime. I usually grab a glass of wine or a tasty beer, and take a walk around my property to check in on my plant babies. I have a pollinator garden, a showy flower potted garden, a rose garden, and a food garden. It brings me such joy to really bask in the hard work that is maintaining all that greenery, but it’s sort of my version of forest bathing. Of course I’ll end up doing some spot-weeding, but having a drink in one hand ensures that it’s mostly enjoyable and not a full-on weed session. Sometimes I let my husband and dogs join me :)

    • Fellow gardener here and I am so taking on Meg’s routine. This sounds like a perfect way to welcome in the weekend.

  10. Kimberly says...

    “Ritual” isn’t a term I actually use when I do this, but yesterday evening, I realized I sing Disney princess songs whenever I walk my dog.

    I’m an introvert, not a very good singer, and more on the melancholy or dark side-type of person, but my maltipoo is super outgoing, super loving, and super excited to greet the world, and I realized that her excitement to see and sniff the world around her makes me happy–happy enough to softly believe I’m a singing Disney princess. (“Part of Your World,” “I Can Show You the World,” “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” … )

    • Mariana says...

      I love this :)

    • Molly says...

      Love your description of yourself…. describes me too! I bet I would love your dog, a perfect complement to our personalities!

  11. Maranda says...

    I have a few rituals! Every morning I will wake up and do whatever I need to that morning (workout, feed animals, etc), but I always make time to read in my bed for at least 15 minutes before I start to get dressed (sometimes I’ll even eat my breakfast in bed while reading if I’m not eating something too messy haha!) When it’s time to get up and get dressed I’ll pop on a podcast as well, to make the prospect of getting up and out of bed less painful.

    I also have a Sunday morning ritual. I will get up earlier than my husband, take care of our animals, make myself a smoothie for breakfast and put on an at home yoga video to do in my living room. It is so peaceful to have time to myself in the house before anyone else is up and the morning light is shining through the windows.

    This post also reminded me of something I used to do every Friday morning that I have fallen out of habit with doing and want to start again. Every Friday I used to put on a face mask and scroll mindlessly through Instagram or YouTube videos. I think I might have to start doing that again. I have so many face masks and I can’t remember the last time I used one!

  12. Hilary says...

    These are all so diverse and wonderful! Wine, however, seems like a universal theme :)

    I try to fit my “Me Time” in during my regular day or else I don’t get any! Lately, that has looked like using my daughter’s bath time as self-care time. I put on a face mask (and sometimes she gets a little Origins mud on her nose, too, just for fun!) and drink wine; she has a water cup nearby so we can cheers. We laugh and chat about the day while she splashes in the bubbles. Sometimes we take turns using the jade roller cold from the fridge.

    It’s like a little glimpse into the future of what it will be like to have a teenager and I always say a little prayer that she’ll be as happy to hang out with her mama then as she is now. I also hope I’m showing her from the earliest days how important it is to slow down and take care.

    • Emma says...

      I’ve never been into ‘beauty’ stuff at all, but I love this so much! Last year before my best friend from high school’s wedding when I was going to be a bridesmaid, I asked my boyfriend’s sister to hang out and have “girl time” (not really a thing for me, but she loves that stuff, and I’m a farmer so I wanted to put effort into cleaning up before the big day!). Initially we were going to go out to a spa or something but I chickened out and we ended up soaking our feet in her tub with her toddler and then all three of us did “mud masks” except the toddler got to do it all over her body (haha). It was such a sweet bonding experience for all of us and I found a new appreciation for beauty rituals in doing them with other humans I love.

  13. valerie says...

    hi from France, I have many actually, probably have been living alone for too long ha!
    – every moning taking 15 minutes to do nothing else but to enjoy my cup of tea watching TV
    – every sunday, waking up early and go to the park to walk ( um actually to watch the swans – babies at the moment/ and flowers), calling my mom on the way to the park. than I ll go home, shower, scrub, oil and go to the farmers market to buy fresh fruits and veggies.
    In the evening, scrub and mask in order to have a good start for the week ahead.
    I really love my sundays :)

  14. Julie says...

    When my husband is out of town and I have house hotel I always order Thai food, grab a bottle of a good sauvignon blanc, put on a face mask, and settle down with a horror movie. He can’t stand them and I love the thrill of being scared while also being alone. It’s an adrenaline rush, basically my version of sky-diving but without the threat of real bodily harm.

    • Jorden says...

      House hotel! Sounds like a perfect night!

    • Also Julie says...

      Samsies! When mine is gone for the weekend I always order Thai food, get a nice bottle of wine for myself and watch any movie that I have suggested recently that got turned down. Sometimes scary, usually sappy.
      It’s always so relaxing and the night feels so much longer :)

  15. Brittni says...

    Thursday nights used to be my laundry nights – I’d put on a facemask, and pour a glass of wine and watch TV while folding the laundry. I’d decline invitations if they were for Thursdays. My husband would just leave me be. I’m an introvert and it was the one night I allowed myself to fully embrace a little self-care and reset after the workweek and before the weekend. Since having kids, Thursday nights are spaghetti night (an idea I actually got from CoJ) – we make spaghetti and anyone is welcome to stop by for dinner. It often turns into a big, loud, fun, casual night. Now that I think about it, though, I think I’ll have to reintroduce laundry nights on a new day – I miss those.

  16. Every morning I get up before my husband, make a big pot of coffee, feed the dogs, and sit and sip my coffee on the porch while the dog run around the yard. Sometimes I just sit. Sometimes I read my Bible or another book I happen to read.

    Also lately, when I have a good pocket of free time, I’ll read the Harry Potter books. I have them all downloaded on my iPad, so I carry it around and that’s what I’ll read on my lunch break, waiting in the Dr’s office, hair salon, etc. Even though I’ve read them several times – I can’t resist!

  17. Tara says...

    I eat two cbd gummies and mow the grass with GUSTO. After, I have a Stella beer and sit in awe of my work. I am terrible at mowing the grass and each time at least 2 people each time ask if I need help because I’m mowing in zig-zags. THIS IS MY SELF CARE- I’M GOOD. Sometimes I use scissors to cut the long pieces of grass and I feel like someone should hire me, look how diligent I am. I sip my cold Stella on my porch in awe of my uneven grass. Important to note my mower is gas and I have to get a running start.

    I have created so many new rituals post divorce. Walking my dog to the farmers market, ballet on Weds with my bff, church and churros on sunday but we never went to church. Long baths with lavender bath salts and anthropologie candles that I cannot afford.

    • Cece says...

      Tara, you are the coolest

    • Alison says...

      Tara I love you.

    • This is amazing.

    • Colleen says...

      This is GOLD. You do you, girl.

    • Carol says...

      I literally laughed out loud at work at this. You do you!

    • Janna says...

      LOVE this. You sound so cool and like you really did the work of figuring out what is fun for you. I‘m jealous and in awe :)

    • mim says...

      Tara, I want to be your friend. Cold stella for the win! and churchless churros is a tradition I want to start…..

    • Heather says...

      This made me snort laugh.

    • Anne says...

      THIS is awesome.

    • Welp, we’re best friends now. Sorry!

    • Jen says...

      Could Tara write a guest blog post, please. This was too funny and right on the money.

    • Michelle says...

      You’re so awesome! This painted a perfect picture and makes me so happy.

    • Hillary F. says...

      I could not love this more….

    • Hilary says...

      Tara! You are a queen! Can we all join you for Weds night ballet??

    • Kate says...

      THIS IS MY SELF CARE – I’M GOOD, is now my life mantra. Thank you so much.

    • Laura C. says...

      In awe of your uneven grass- you’re the best Tara!

    • Tara says...

      Love y’all! YES to being bff, dance is on weds and we pre game. It’s fine we are in our 30’s. I just cut my grass, I wish I could attach a photo. Be well wonderful ladies of cup a jo, feliz friday. xoxo

      tara

    • Stephanie says...

      Cry laughing— I Love this. Thank you, Tara.

  18. Wendy says...

    Some early mornings when I feel particularly tired, I take what I call a “sprath”. I get in my tub, turn on the shower, turn the temperature of the water up a couple more notches– then lay down in my tub, close my eyes, and let the hot water hit my chest for a minute. Then I get up and continue on with my very very speedy morning shower :)

    It’s like a mini-bath/ jacuzzi without the setup, and I truly savor this particularly luxurious moment to myself on those mornings when I. just. can’t.

    P.S. I’m very aware that this isn’t the best for the environment– but I only shower every three days and maybe sprath once a month! :)

    • Amanda says...

      I’m so pleased to know that I’m not the only one who sprathes. I do it in evenings after a stressful day when I don’t want to commit to a full on bath.

  19. Genevieve says...

    My bus ride from home to office every morning is my personal ritual…. time where i can have a little snooze or to self reflect! Zero disturbance…. :)

    After that the madness of work begins….

  20. Marie says...

    I always sit down and have a cup of coffee before work. My work is the kind of job where the earlier you get there, the earlier you get to leave, so I used to rush around in the morning to leave as early as possible so I could have more time in the evening. But I was feeling so frazzled and stressed so I made myself start doing this ritual and now I love it.

    I get up, feed the dog, get mostly ready (besides getting dressed – I save the worst for last), then I sit down and drink my coffee for at least 30 minutes. Sometimes I write, sometimes I look at Pinterest (or Cup of Jo, like now!), and sometimes I just sit and stare out at the garden. It’s so simple, but it’s super peaceful and has made my mornings so much more enjoyable.

  21. Amanda W. says...

    Every Saturday morning, I grab a cup of coffee, head downstairs to the computer, and read Cup of Jo’s “Have a Great Weekend” post. After I finish with that, I do the free NYTimes crossword puzzle, and go over our budget. Then I feel ready for the weekend!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      this makes me so happy! :)

    • Cyn says...

      OMG me too! (minus the budget)
      Add to that each morning doing the free NYTimes mini crossword puzzle while having my coffee.
      It plays a happy little tune when you complete it.
      Start my day with an “atta girl” :)

    • Amanda W. says...

      That’s too funny, Cyn! Every time I complete it and the tune sounds, my husband (from somewhere in our small house) answers with “Good job, honey!”

    • Caitlin says...

      Also same (minus the budget… but maybe I should??)! I save Friday’s puzzle for Saturday morning just for this reason. Otherwise I do the puzzle every night before I put my phone down for the night. I guess that’s its own little ritual too!

  22. Shayla says...

    Full-time professor, mom of 3 little boys (including an infant). Every year as the chaos grows, my need for time to still my soul intensifies. Days are busy, and my mornings begin early as I get myself & kids ready for our days. My ‘me’ time starts after the kids are in bed. My husband retreats to the living room with ice cream and junk TV. After a day of people, I need less stimulation & more quiet. I have two sacred rocking chairs on my porch, so I grab a beer & some popcorn/pretzels and retreat to the stillness that is my porch. Most evenings I do nothing in that chair but relax, and rock. That’s my time to reflect on the day, what I did well, what I can do better. I think about why I lost my patience, or how to teach a concept better than I did in lecture that day. I watch the neighbors on their walks, I stare into nowhere and just appreciate the nothingness. Being still, reflecting, and just being is what I need to center my soul.

  23. AJ says...

    I have the same ritual as Kim in the post except I listen to the Homecoming album on my morning subway commute. Bookend twins!

    • Kim Rhodes says...

      Aah! Amazing!! I was just listening to it at work, just now! :)

  24. Holly says...

    Every time something amazing / monumental in my life happens I ride home blasting “Midnight City” by M83. That song reminds me of all the great things I’ve accomplished and the bumps I had to get over to get there!

    • Laura says...

      Ahh I love this song! And it’s absolutely required to blast it!

    • Veronica says...

      That’s unbelievably crazy, I do this EXACT same thing!

    • SarahN says...

      A previous comment had me on Sound of the Sea, but you got me to switch. Oh so glad

  25. Megan says...

    I’ve started something that I’ve dubbed “park morning” each weekend. On either Saturday or Sunday morning (usually Saturday), I get up early (especially in this heat!), pack up a tote of books and notebooks, grab a coffee and head to a local park. My favorite ones have a lake or pond I can look out over while I relax, read, write lists and think about the future. The only rule is no work or school stuff. It gets me feeling centered and ready to take on life!

  26. Maire says...

    On nights when I have the house to myself, I always have a Red Baron cheese pizza in the freezer ready to go. I bake it, let it cool a bit and then consume it whole, without cutting it into slices. Pizza straight to the face is my secret single behaviour.

    • Lily says...

      This is amazing and I love it. It sounds so indulgent and satisfying.

    • Katrina says...

      You are my hero.

    • Lizzie says...

      PIZZA STRAIGHT TO THE FACE! I bow down to you. Do you go straight for the crust? Fold it in the middle? Roll it up like a burrito? I need an instructional diagram for this.

  27. Paula says...

    This might make some people cringe, but the closest thing I have to a ritual is not brushing my teeth on Friday nights. I’m VERY diligent about my dental hygiene otherwise (brush and floss and tongue scrape, visit the dentist regularly, limit my sugar/caffeine, etc.) so it feels really nice to totally skip out on this supermundane but necessary part of adulting one night a week. On those nights, I remember my mom chasing after a younger me to get through the full bed time routine and just how dangerous and naughty it felt to get away with it.

    • Susan Y. says...

      This is my occasional small act of rebellion and it feels so good.

  28. Misti says...

    I have “morning classical” and “evening classical” music playlists. The morning one is lively and spirited, and it plays while I’m scurrying around making breakfast, dressing kids, getting work bag organized, etc. The evening one is serene and soothing and pairs perfectly with a glass of wine while cooking or a soak in the tub. It’s not every day, but it’s my thing. My kids enjoy it too.

    • Sophia says...

      Do share your playlist!

    • AK says...

      That sounds wonderful, please do share.

    • Katie Larissa says...

      Misti, we need your playlist!

    • Em says...

      Another share request! These sound like just what I need in my life :)

    • Rachel says...

      Misty.
      Please post your playlist!!

    • Sims says...

      Please do share – these sound wonderful!

  29. Anna says...

    Laughing gently that Sarah’s ritual is all about sameness with with a cheese that promises the Unexpected. Haha.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Hahaha, you’re right. That is too good.

  30. I have far less time than I used to between having a baby, working full time, pumping & nursing, and trying to become a published author (I just realized I haven’t watched a single TV show in the 2 months since returning to work!) But I do read myself to sleep every night (been doing that since I learned how) and once a week I skip the nighttime writing session to take a bath. And when I have time, no set time but whenever, I will take 15 minutes or whatever is afforded to me to listen to a favorite rewatch podcast (usually a Buffy one) while playing Sudoku. Probably the only unproductive thing I do, and I love it.

  31. LIZ says...

    ashtanga every morning except saturdays. every saturday has its own ritual though: sleep in, make breakfast tacos, take the dog to the dog park and grab a “fancy coffee” somewhere

  32. Gina says...

    I LOVE TJs cauliflower stiry-fry! I eat it a few times a week. I usually add a head of broccoli, a couple dashes of soy sauce, and a fried egg in the middle.

  33. marylouise says...

    I tuck my dog Lucy into bed at night. Sometimes I read her a story or sing a song. Then I say “night-night close your eyes and sleep tight.” She does and so do I!

    • I kind of do the same for my pet bird. Animal people are so weird ;)

    • Lizzie says...

      That’s the cutest thing I’ve ever heard.

  34. Anna says...

    SOLO movie matinees…keep me sane :) I don’t have to search in the dark for napkins, lost gummy bears, spilled water and avoid the presence of very adorable loud chewers (my kids)

  35. K says...

    in the age of the internet it’s hard for me to think of an actual secret ritual habit because I’m always secretly romanticizing myself to my fictional audience! Eating a jar of kimchi for lunch (aside from the fermented breath) or taking a nap in the clean laundry instead of folding it? Kinda endearing?

    Kinda boring which I actually do more often? Search hours on the internet for the perfect pair of espadrilles that last forever and are comfortable, hopping from net-a-porter to matches fashion to my theresa and shop bop and so on and so forth and back again to live that aforementioned romanticised life.. Watch hours of clickbaity algorithmically selected beauty videos on youtube. Stare too long at pimple stickers freshly peeled from my chin.

    • Anna says...

      OMG! we must live parallel lives…best days: Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays ;) (Net-a-Porter) and I just have to add 24Sevres and Farfecth

    • Sequoia says...

      “… because I’m always secretly romanticizing myself to my fictional audience!”

      This! I thinks because I read too many profiles, I’m constantly writing mine or narrating my life in my head.

  36. Taylor says...

    If I don’t have plans I have pizza night every Friday and the joy of being single means I can have as many slices as I want. :) I have the pizza and afterwards I read or watch a movie. I feel so relaxed ending my work week/starting my weekend that way.

    • Taylor says...

      I have to add that the minute I saw the article on here about reheating pizza with a skillet on the stove I started doing it that way and my life is forever changed so thank you!

  37. Katie says...

    For the last, idk, nine years, my Sunday morning ritual is to start the day early with a trip walking to and from the grocery store and on the way home stopping at a local coffee shop for a coffee and a delicious, buttery pastry.

    Whether it’s from travel or a late or one too many glasses of wine on a Saturday night out with friends, I feel completely out of sorts starting the week if I miss my early Sundays.

    My ritual may sound more like a chore, but my love for food, cooking and walking and my special treat makes this something I truly enjoy.

  38. Elizabeth says...

    My husband goes to bed early so the nights are mine. After he’s asleep I walk through the house and tidy it up, and then sit down in my sunroom at my desk, crack open my bible, and read a chapter along side a commentary. As I read, I “journal” in my bible as I read it, use fancy colorful pens, practice hand lettering, add quotes from the commentary that stick out, and pray as I encounter things in the text. After that, I pull out the book 52 Lists for Happiness and add a few things to the week’s list.

    And then I go to bed reminded of all the good in the world.

    • Madeline says...

      I love this! ❤️

  39. Jilly says...

    I love ALL of these comments so much. Reading CoJ (at work!) with my morning cup of coffee is one of my favourite rituals. I also try to get up early each day so I can have some time with our dog, a book, and a coffee, before my husband and kiddos get up. If it’s a warm morning, we (the dog and I) head out to the deck to stare at the ocean and sit quietly (one of us usually falls asleep again – hint: it’s not me). My favourite ritual, though, is in the winter when my husband is out refereeing hockey, and my kids are in bed. I snuggle up by the woodstove, with snacks and a blanket, and watch something that only I enjoy, like Call the Midwife, or a home reno show. It’s so relaxing and enjoyable, and every time my mother-in-law worries that my husband is out a lot reffing, I remind her that I get some serious “me” time and I love it :)

    • Nicole says...

      I’d love to know where you live-between the walk to the ocean and the wood stove it sounds delightful!

  40. Meg B says...

    Every morning I come out of my bedroom to the hallway where my dog, Dave likes to sleep. He opens his tired brown eyes halfway, and wags his tail wags vigorously. I get into his bed with him and we cuddle and hug before we walk down the stairs together to get our breakfast. This morning ritual makes my heart sing.

    • Alyssa says...

      This is probably my favorite comment ever. Mostly because you have a dog named Dave.

  41. Beth says...

    When my husband travels for work, I plan stay-at-home “dates” with myself. I will spend time choosing a meal for one and a book or show to watch. After putting our two boys to bed, I pop a bottle of wine, turn on some tunes and cook with myself. It’s lovely and I look forward to it each time I learn my husband will be traveling.

    My most recent “date-night-with-myself” meals have been Ina Garten’s Roasted Salmon Tacos: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/roasted-salmon-tacos-3742574
    … and Smitten Kitchen’s simplest spaghetti al limone that I learned about from A Cup of Jo! https://smittenkitchen.com/2019/06/simplest-spaghetti-al-limone/

    • Hilary says...

      Beth, this is such a lovely ritual! My husband consistently leaves Monday morning and comes home Thursday night. Your comment has me rethinking how I can better use those three nights for myself :)

    • Sarah says...

      Oh I love this Beth! When my husband is on night shift I’ll put the boys down and make food I love but he hates….especially anything with mushrooms….but you’ve definitely inspired me to up my single date game!

    • Beth says...

      Sarah, my husband dislikes mushrooms, as well! I adore them.

    • Beth says...

      Hilary, sometimes I’ll throw a single-use face mask in my grocery cart and save it for a future date night with myself. :o)

  42. Kimberly Ann Collins says...

    Every morning, when my boyfriend leaves for work, I pretend I am asleep. I go into the kitchen and make a caramel macchiato coffee and eat a snack I have hidden. I have been doing this way before him.

  43. Gaby says...

    Early every morning before I get ready for work, I sit outside for at least an hour. I call it “tree bathing”. I look at the trees, listen to the birds and crickets, sip coffee, do the NYT mini crossword, read new headlines, scroll through insta, catch up on blogs, and do a 10min meditation on Headspace. Love it. When the sun reaches the patio, it’s time to get ready for work.

    • Britt says...

      I learned about a Japanese word for this recently – Shinrin-yoku. Translates as forest bathing. Former Seattlite here, so totally makes sense :).
      And sounds pretty similar. Although for me, it would be the NYT Sudoku puzzles rather than the crossword.

  44. SFord says...

    After my weekly yoga class, I drive back home without the radio on in silence, make myself a hot water with a slice of lemon, kiss the husband goodnight (hes usually watching TV), have a warm bath (and drink my hot lemon in the bath) and go to bed – no TV, no music, no phone – bliss.

  45. Chivonne Dorgan says...

    Before Baby Girl…
    My once a week ritual used to be eating Chilled sweetened condensed milk in a hot steaming bath. I used to buy a few cans and stash them in the fridge just for this… I will get there again one day ;-)

  46. Julie says...

    For as long as anyone in my family can remember, my abuela started her day the exact same way. She’d wake before the sun, pray the rosary in bed, then make a breakfast of one perfectly boiled egg, a piece of bacon with all the fat picked off, and a small bowl of corn flakes with just a touch of instant coffee mixed into the milk. As a child, I was perplexed by this ritual because, why would anyone wake up THAT early to pray and how on earth did she not grow tired of the same meal? Despite my confusion, the consistency of her ritual was like a warm, reliable hug and when the grip of dementia took hold, I mourned the loss of her whispered Spanish prayers and sound of her spoon hitting the top of the egg.

    So what’s my ritual? Each night before I go work an unpredictable 12.5 hour shift at the hospital, I slowly savor a strong cup of green tea, two perfectly boiled eggs, and two pieces of toast slathered in French butter and indulgent jam. It evolved a bit, but something tells me this is a ritual I’ll keep because I always feel the warmth of the abuela I treasured every time my spoon taps against the shell of the egg.

    Also, when I come home from work, I revel in the joy/freedom of immediately kicking my clogs aside and pulling my scrub pants and compression sock off because I’m a grown woman and I do what I want!

    • Blythe says...

      Julie this is so beautiful and what a lovely way to honor and remember your abuela daily!

    • rachel says...

      indulgent jam!? i must know more!

  47. Angela says...

    I’m a wife and mother to 2 children – 6 and 2 years old. Every Thursday night my sister and I went out to tea and browsed around shopping centres (UK!) and called it Sister Thursday. Since she has had her baby a year ago she doesn’t join me anymore because she wants to spend time with her baby after work. Maybe she is a better mother than me, because I still want to go out! So, now I go alone and sometimes I take a book to a hotel restaurant, sometimes go to the cinema and sometimes just sit in the car after a McDonald’s drivethru and make scrapbook pages on my phone on the Project Life app. It doesn’t matter what I do, I just keep the commitment that my husband cooks tea and puts the children to bed on Thursdays and I have my alone time. My mum friends can’t believe I do this but that makes me want to do it even more!

    • Janna says...

      I think this is fantastic and makes you a great role model for other parents and for your kids! It definitely will pay off long and short term for everyone involved. Your activities sound really fun, too.

  48. Laurel says...

    I adopted this from my mother in law: every Friday night I take a hot bath. And beginning every Thursday, I look forward to it for a full 24 hours. Each workweek feels grueling lately, plus there’s kiddos and bills and etc etc, so this is a time to soak all that residual stress out. It sets the tone for the whole weekend.

  49. Em says...

    At first I didn’t think l had a ritual and then realized reading Cup of Jo is mine! I’ve been reading Cup of Jo almost every morning (so sad when I can’t) since 2015 when I was in graduate school. Cup of Jo has seen me through moves, relationships, break-ups, new jobs, etc. This is my go to place for advice! Thank you Cup of Jo xoxo

  50. Joy says...

    I have two small children, and my favorite rituals are painting my nails once ever 1-2 weeks (my 3 yo daughter loves discovering which color I have on my toes when she wakes up).
    Another ritual is getting ready for work. When I am at home I am a casual dresser because I do not want to stress about getting dirty when playing with the kids which will inevatably happen. When I prepare myself for work however I get tow wear all the clothes / make up (lipstick!) / accessoires that are not convenient when being with my children.
    I really enjoy baths in the evening, but my youngest is often ill and wakes up a lot and I am not relaxed in the bath anymore because I am ready to jump up and run to him whenever necessary the whole time.
    Rituals change I guess, and I am sure my beloved bath time will become a regular occurence once again as my little boy grows up!

  51. Katie says...

    Came here only to comment on the superb photo that was chosen for this article. 10/10 🙌

  52. Kristina says...

    I always listen to the same album when I travel by train or plane, have done probably the last 15 years. Always on my headset, never “out loud”. And I never listen to it when I’m not traveling, that would feel weird by now! I’m not really a nervous traveler, but it makes me fall asleep instantly and it’s just so comforting.

    • Blythe says...

      Am secretly dying to know what you’re travel album is Kristina!

    • Kristina says...

      It’s Give up by The Postal Service!

    • Kristina says...

      I also realized my other ritual is making myself pasta carbonara with tons of parmesan, pepper and egg when my partner is traveling. He’s vegan and I’m vegetarian so we mostly eat vegan, and I always indulge when I’m alone:)

    • rach says...

      i LOVE Postal Service!! And recently listened to them after forgetting about them for prob close to 5 years…and i re listened to them and was so blissfully happy

  53. Sarah says...

    And how Starbucks hand soap smells the same no matter where you are. And smells pretty good, too!

  54. Britt says...

    Every morning before work, I do the Calm mediation app for 10 to 15 minutes, choosing whatever theme I feel that I need most for the day. Next is coffee :). At night, I try to read for at least 20 minutes before bed. Working my way through the Heart’s Invisible Furies and the Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao. Prepping for grad school right now, so every day that I take a practice test, in the morning hours before, I walk to a coffee shop and enjoy a latte.

  55. Rose says...

    Waking up at 4am every morning to sit in lotus in the dark, meditating alongside a thermos of sweetened green tea (I’ve learned to reach for sips from the teacup without breaking my flow). I’ve always awakened pre-dawn for as long as I can remember, mostly because it’s the BEST time of the day – pure silence, nearly everyone asleep and therefore far less electro-magnetic buzz – I just love it!

  56. Eva says...

    As the a mom of a fourth-month-old, I was about to say all rituals are out the window, but it’s more like they’re just ever-changing. In those early weeks postpartum, my ritual was to do one teeny-tiny thing for myself each day: trim and file my nails one day, tweeze my eyebrows the next, use lotion the next—all those little tasks I’d previously taken for granted. While nursing, i plowed through a few seasons of the Great British Baking Show. In the past few weeks, it’s been sitting on the porch each day for 10 minutes or so, baby on my lap, watching the cars and people pass. Happily, she enjoys that ritual too.

    • Ruth says...

      I have a 3 month old and a 3.5 year old and I work full time so my me time is pretty limited. I also like to do these little things for myself! I sometimes miss the longer stretches of time that I had to myself but I know I’ll get those back someday and for now I try to just enjoy the chaos :-)

  57. Maggie says...

    When my health-conscious husband travels for work, I eat like a pig. My very favorite is getting the Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies with pecans and eating them like cereal in a large mug of milk. There is a 5-second window of perfect sogginess. Divine.

  58. tea says...

    Ahhh……Sabbath lunch + nap + vespers.
    Please tell me you has pecan loaf 😍 or rediburgers !

    • Jo says...

      Tea, this was my heritage:) Curious if you are SDA? I no longer practice, but do light a candle and lentil loaf is always welcome.

    • Lisl Sukachevin says...

      Same, except I love Special K loaf + grillers :)

  59. Becky says...

    A hot bath (nearly) every night after my toddler is in bed. Sometimes I’ll just zone out, others I’ll watch a tv show or movie, but often I’ll scroll through the news and blogs I read.

    A (second) cup of strong black tea, sweetened with honey while my toddler naps.

    A ritual I would like to have: wake up before my kid and do ten minutes of yoga. (I wish he’d walk up later than 5:30am!)

    Love all the comments!

    • Becky says...

      Ugh: *wake*
      Dang autocorrect!

  60. Katie says...

    Cup of Jo is the only website I visit where I read the comments regularly, and I especially loved the comments on this post. As I read, I realized that I need some personal rituals – as the mom of a three year old, my rituals are all family-based! Our two key rituals happen on Friday and Sunday. On Friday night, my daughter and I go to the library to read books for an hour after I pick her up from daycare. Then we pick up pizza and bring it home, where we meet my husband for dinner. We finish the evening with Friday night family movie night, during which I usually fall asleep on the couch next to my kiddo. :-) I’m suddenly thinking about adding a relaxing bath after she goes to bed, which also will give my husband some individual time for his favorite way to decompress: video games! But It’s a perfect night for everyone.

    On Sunday mornings, we go to the farmer’s market and then the grocery store to get food for the week. Iced coffee, soft pretzels, loads of samples… I really enjoy that time.

  61. BCL says...

    On Fridays, my husband handles kid bed time, and I go outside to smoke a joint and let my imagination unwind. It is pure bliss! It’s the only time I smoke pot (or smoke anything at all, really), which is legal where I live, and it is incredibly special to me. I’m a stay at home mom and student and my husband works long hours, so by Friday night, I’m ready to take some time off. I write down my ideas or doodle in a notebook and enjoy reading those thoughts later, even if most of them are totally silly :)
    I’m really fascinated by tarot cards and love the idea of learning about the, and building those into a routine as some have mentioned here.

    • Blythe says...

      BCL you’re ritual sounds DIVINE! If you’re interested in tarot cards, I’d also suggest checking out Oracle decks. Oracle decks are kind of like tarot light. There are a TON available and you can chose one (or two) that speaks to you. Personally I have a Goddess deck, Sacred Symbols deck, Mother’s Deck, and a Work Your Light deck.

  62. Emily says...

    How funny – I just enjoyed a cool foot bath this evening for the FIRST time in my adult life! When I would stay over at my grandma’s as a child, she would have my brothers and I wash our feet in the evening. Not only did it cool us down on a hot summer night, but it would clean off the dirt that accumulated after a long day of playing.

    My foot bath tonight was so refreshing and brought me back to childhood :) I think this needs to become a ritual ASAP.

  63. Chelsea says...

    Mother of 2 rambunctious boys.

    5.30-7.30am is mummy’s time for herself. I read, go to the gym, and watch brainless sitcoms.

    Ever since I discovered Korean make-up Youtubers, my routine of make-up has completed changed. Instead of slapping on make up in 10 mins, I treat my face as if it were a canvas and I’m the artist. I get to create something everyday and that makes me happy.

    • Amy says...

      Please can you share your favorite Youtubers?

    • Laura C. says...

      How do you do it?! I can’t even get my body our ot the bed ten minutes before my daughters do!

    • Alicia says...

      I love that. Do you have any you recommend?

  64. tali says...

    waking up before my 3 kids and hubs, printing out the LA Times crossword and using a very specific .38mm pen to complete it. to go with it, a french press of coffee + cream + 3 drops of almond extract (just me with the almond?).

    current evening ritual, reading cup of jo as i nurse my baby to sleep (and no peaking earlier in the day!), like i’m doing right now :)

    • Steph says...

      Almond extract is a brilliant idea! I’m going to try that. Thank you.

    • Sarah says...

      Almond extract is perfection. I get you.

  65. Abbiemirand says...

    Each morning, I open all of the blinds, with my baby on my hip.
    After the espresso bubbles up, I sip it hot from its little cup and we watch the morning regulars:
    The girl across the street that always has a long goodbye kiss with her new boyfriend.
    The old man and young man (couple?) that walk their dogs without leashes, early in the morning.
    The runners
    The anxious driver that always speeds out of his driveway with a screech.
    The workmen that come, unhitching tools and turning on their radios.
    Maybe it’s witnessing the rituals of others that makes my own so calming.
    Also… Cup of Jo!!!!

    • MM says...

      I want this view!!

    • Heather says...

      I love that! The start of your morning ritual reminds me of my evening ritual, in which I close all of the blinds with my 1-year-old on my hip. We (I) say goodnight to something at each window – “Goodnight garden, goodnight neighbors, goodnight birds, goodnight street.” Then we turn off the light and turn on the white noise machine, creating a cozy bedtime cocoon. And hopefully my daughter takes the hint and goes to sleep so that I can go take a bath.

  66. Erin says...

    Back before I had kids, my dog, Stella, and I would have a “Decadent Ladies Night” every Wednesday. My husband had a class on Wednesdays so it meant I had the apartment to myself! We’d turn on some tv, eat pirates booty, and I’d have a glass (or 2) of wine. Stella and I miss those nights…..

  67. Sarah says...

    I don’t have a lot of personal time now as a working mom of a toddler and a wife of a husband who works alternate hours (fire fighter shift work) but i always get my workout in, i get up early to take on line photography classes, and listen to audio books while i wait for my daughter to fall asleep. BUT i love rituals and have a few that she and I do together. Right now because of her age they are all oriented around days: taco Tuesdays. She goes to daycare Wednesday – Friday and those mornings we do a dance party together before we leave the house. Friday mornings we race outside in our pajamas to wave to the garbage man and that night is the only night she gets screen time and we watch a Disney movie together and eat popcorn. I look forward to expounding on all these things as she gets older.

    Also am i the only person who that that was going to be a throwback photo of Donald Trump and was wondering what the heck was going on? Haha. Blame the tiny phone screen 😂

    • Jeannie says...

      Busted out laughing re: throwback of Trump LOLOL

    • Sarah says...

      Totally thought that was Trump, too 😂 Is it Liberace??

    • Kate says...

      I totally saw Donald Trump at first, too! Lol.

    • Sasha L says...

      Your last comment made me spit out my coffee 😂
      No, it’s Liberace, right? But now trump is all I can see, so thank you!!! How much do I wish he knew he was being mistaken for Liberace!!!!!!

    • laura lennon says...

      omg, i had the same thought!

  68. I love this and am so sad that I have a million rituals for our family (Valentine’s = making waffles and brainstorming how to spend our evening together as a family and taking a vote; Birthdays = writing a letter about the year and reading it to the person we are celebrating; Anniversary = one of us writes a letter about our year while the other plans an experience, etc.) and yet I can’t think of any personal rituals!?! That’s so messed up! Thank you for the inspiration, Caroline. I must fix this immediately. And thank you to everyone else for the inspiration!

    • julie says...

      But what beautiful family rituals!

  69. Anonymous says...

    My husband gets up at 4 am to go to the gym. Although he tries to be quiet I usually wake up too, but I never tell him that I am awake. When he leaves, I get out whatever book I am reading with my little book light and lie in my cozy bed, reading in the quiet dark for an hour before I have to be up at 5 am to get ready for work. That is my one hour in the whole day that is mine, when nothing is expected of me.

    • Tali says...

      Beautiful!

  70. Eunice says...

    This is the first time I have ever read every single comment on a blog post and loved each of em! These rituals are beautiful because they are individual and real. This would make a great art gallery topic.

    I have toddler and infant which you can imagine takes up most of my time outside work. my favorite part of my week is when I go to therapy which happens to be at my therapist’s house and am greeted by her little dog Moby and we play a little fetch while I settle in the armchair in her living room for a session. It is a solid hour of me time where I talk about whatever I want to the most empathetic listener.

  71. Hilary says...

    ‘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.”’
    I only paint my toenails, so I was briefly astounded! :-)

    • Charlotte says...

      I Had the same hahaha

    • E says...

      Same here… haha!

  72. Deanna says...

    Cheetos are my very favorite chip in the entire world, and are super expensive in New Zealand, so on Friday’s I open an expensive snack size bag and have it with a glass of red wine. I’ve officially turned into my mother, but I’ve known it was coming since I started getting excited about buying compost.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Hahaha love this!

    • Suzanne P Quinn says...

      Deanna – love this! If you send me your address, I’ll send you a box of Cheetos! : )
      If you’re on FB, you could private message?

    • Andrea says...

      Are we identical-but-opposite soul twins?!
      One summer in my early 20s, in a cheap apartment without AC, I survived on *hot* Cheetos and dry, chilled *white* wine! I’d walk home from my job at the coffee shop down the street, stopping for Cheetos on the way :), put on a sundress or something airy, point the fan right at me, and watch old episodes of the OC.
      The Cheetos + wine combo is so unexpected and so perfect. I haven’t had it in years and am now CRAVING it!

  73. My longtime ritual has been reading before bed, even if it’s just a page or two before I fall asleep. I try to choose a good piece of fiction to give myself ‘story time’ like when I was little–I miss having someone read to me! I’ve also tried to read nonfiction/self-help books at night and I just can’t follow. My brain is too tired and I end up rereading the same sentence a dozen times.

    My morning ritual is usually to make lemon “tea” (hot water with lemon since I can’t stomach coffee) and sit in my kitchen nook and meditate, chant/pray, journal, or maybe pull a Tarot card. I try to do something calming and creative first thing, as a way to gently wake up my body and mind. I resist checking my phone or email until I get to work (some days I cave) but usually I can have at least an hour of quiet, screen-free time to myself just after waking up.

    And ever since my husband and I rescued a Bluetick hound earlier this year, an addition to my morning routine is a nice 30-45 minute walk with him after he gets fed and I get my quiet time!

    • Caroline says...

      After my daughter was born, my husband and I hardly saw each other. We couldn’t afford childcare so we had to work opposite shifts at work. Our only time as a family was 6am while he was getting ready for work and 10pm when I came home from work.

      For the first year of my daughters life I never washed my face before bed. For some reason, it felt So incredibly selfish to take those ten minutes away from my family. One day, after a seriously breakout and my husbands urging, I bought (a super expensive to me) 10 step Korean skin care kit. Now I had to spend 20 minutes every night cleaning my skin or I had wasted valuable money.

      Four years later, I still spend 20 minutes every night cleaning my face. Our work schedules are now normal 9-5 and our weekends are free but my face cleansing ritual remains.

      Sometimes I listen to a podcast or music while I cleanse, sometimes it’s in blissful silence. But it’s my time alone. And it’s made me Such a better mother and wife.

      Sacred alone time is a necessity for everyone.

    • Sasha L says...

      Yay for hound dog rescues!! They are *special* aren’t they lol? We’ve got a 9 yo catahoula mix. She is the sunshine in our lives! Watching hound dog noses at work is one of the wonders of the world. As is listening to their beautiful singing.

    • SUSAN YOUNG says...

      Kyla if you enjoy podcasts there is one called Nothing Much Happens; Bedtime Stories for Adults which has become a nighttime ritual for me. The storyteller has an amazingly soothing voice and all the stories are of commonplace everyday events which provoke calm prior to dozing off to sleep. I highly recommend.

  74. The only website where the comments are as interesting as the content!!! Love!

    • Emma says...

      Agree!!

    • Eszter says...

      Totally agree! I love reading them, there’s so much inspiring stuff hidden :)

    • Sara says...

      Abso-freaking-lutely. I love the CoJ comments section!!
      It’s my virtual girlfriend group – smart, funny, sane, and full of wisdom.

  75. Kamina says...

    I’m a PhD student and usually make the effort to dress semi-professionally at college in case I have to teach a class or run into somebody important in the hall, but on Fridays I unashamedly wear leggings, sneakers and a cropped-off sweater. At 5pm I leave my desk, put a favourite podcast in my ears and walk to the gym for my Friday night class (a combo of yoga/pilates/tai chi/meditation). Afterwards I walk home and me and my husband have “Fun Food Friday” – we have to cook something we’ve never made before, it has to be special and delicious, and we’re not allowed to worry about the calorie content/nutrition.

    • Lisl Sukachevin says...

      “Fun Food Friday” — love this idea!!

  76. Amanda says...

    I don’t have this regularly scheduled, but when I know I’ll have alone time in the evening, I microwave a pita filled with Swiss cheese (the lazy girl’s cheese crêpe), take off my contacts, put my phone on silent, and watch some TV with a fluffy blanket and a heating pad. If I’m feeling extra wild, I’ll pick up a can of ginger ale on my way home and drink it with ice. I used to do a variation of this every few days during my undergrad, and how I wish I didn’t take those moments for granted!

  77. Rebecca says...

    I am a mom to four little boys so it is go go go during the day. Once I manage to get all the boys in bed, I cozy up on the couch with my dog and catch up on my favourite blogs like cupofjo (I miss the blog when it is an American long weekend…I am Canadian!). I eat the same snack every night (pretzels…always Rold Gold brand) and enjoy that I don’t have to share!

  78. elly says...

    My husband is in a part-time MBA program and has class two evenings a week. On one of them, I make nachos, drink beer, and do the Sunday crossword. On the other, I eat riced cauliflower stir-fry (what’s up TJs) and go to yoga. I am a creature of habit and relish my solitude!

    • Colleen S says...

      Maybe I ought to have a nachos night. I do love them a lot. Thanks for this!

  79. Kristen says...

    On Wednesdays, I work late, go straight to my favorite pizza place for a Sofia slice and a fresh mozz & mushroom slice, and then sing for 2.5 hours with my community chorus. Some seasons, I meet fellow singer friends for a glass of wine and catch up after pizza and before rehearsal. It’s all my mid-week magic.

    (That taking-myself-for-pizza ritual is so my happy place that I served it at my rehearsal dinner!)

    • emily says...

      This made me smile- I’m a pizza and singing girl too!! :)

  80. Anna says...

    In the morning, I raise all our blinds halfway and crack open the windows and patio door to let the air in throughout the day. I don’t fully make the bed, but I do fluff the pillows and shake out the sheet and duvet so they’re not all balled up. Then once it’s nighttime, I close everything up again.

    It’s a little thing, but it is a nice bookend on either side of the day.

  81. Kristin says...

    The middle school where I teach is at the top of a steep, quarter mile hill. Each morning as I approach the hill I turn on a song, like Pink’s I Am Here, full-blast. By the time I pull into the parking lot I am fired up & ready for the day.

    • Lindsey says...

      Every night I take a bath. It’s not all about fancy – there are no candles etc. but it’s what I need to unwind. I do the first part of my skincare routine in there, a double cleanse and then I slather my face with oil (I’m super dry) and leave it on until I’m just about to get out. After I get out I put on the comfiest and cutest house dress ever (Dwell and Slumber dress – ladies don’t be afraid to get this even if you are not pregnant. It’s DELIGHTFUL!) and then chug a glass of water. After a day working with kids, it’s what I need to recharge.

    • Lindsey says...

      I don’t know how or why my comment posted under another comment. I guess I’m 44 now, I’d better get used to be a tool about technology. 😂😂😂😂

  82. Suzanna says...

    I work 24 hour call shifts as a midwife, and sometimes after I wake up late in the morning after a long night, I take a shower and go thrifting. I put my headphones in and listen to a podcast and get absorbed in all the magical treasures around me. Sorting through sweaters and listening to Nora McInerny cleanses my mind of whatever happened the past 24 hours. When I arrive home to my husband and kid, I am not carrying the intense emotions of the births with me, and I usually have a cool bowl or jumpsuit too.

    • Amanda says...

      Love this!

    • Antonia says...

      I too find thrift stores so relaxing. I don’t even need to buy something. But I also love to wander through huge supermarkets just to look at things.

  83. Lisa says...

    Before every vacation, I take a long shower/bath where I’ll do a hair mask, face mask, take off all my nail polish and clean up my mani/pedi, shave and scrub everything. It’s my little way of ensuring the vacation gets off a squeaky clean start.

    • LW says...

      I love this! I’m stealing this idea before we go on vacation this Saturday (where I’m likely to have zero alone time, lol!)!
      Similarly I avoid washing my hair on vacation (I don’t want to haul all my products, the water is different, the hairdryer is different, it’s just a hassle generally) so I try to do that before I leave whenever I can, and make it last as long as possible. Your idea of adding masks, etc. is a fun bonus :)

  84. GoBlueMom says...

    Years ago, I bought a journal called “One Line a Day.” Each night, as I lay in bed with drowsy eyes, I reflect on one magical moment of the day and write it down. It’s often something my children did or said. It’s given me an opportunity to pause and appreciate these moments throughout the day (thinking, ‘ah, I need to write that down!’) and now, having written one line a day for a few years, it’s also a great way to reflect on all the magical moments of years past. It’s my favorite daily ritual which I do right before going to sleep.

    • Erika says...

      I do this too! Love that journal.

    • Alex says...

      I am absolutely going to do this! I used to journal all the time, but now with two kids, I have dropped the habit. This is so lovely and totally doable. I keep a journal for each babe to have when they are older, but it’s not the same for me. Thanks!

    • Maggie says...

      Just ordered one!

    • Christina says...

      GoBlueMom, I have been wanting to do this. My grandma Dot had an entire set of one-line-a-day journals that we found when cleaning out her house (cue the tears) and it was so sweet to flip back through and see a few things. (She would have been PISSED if she knew, haha!) I saw “SOS” pretty frequently and wasn’t sure what that meant, but then once she wrote it out, “Same Old Sh*t,” and that made my heart sing.

  85. Emma says...

    My phone was slowly loading this article, but just from that picture I knew it was Caroline’s article :)

  86. LKB says...

    This makes me long for the days when I had time of my own to fill. Yoga? Art classes? Sitting around with a book or magazine in the middle of the afternoon? Hah.

    Two kids and another on the way… the extent of my personal ritual is going running every other day and reading every night before bed. Slight bits of me-time, but man, I don’t know what I’d do without them. Preserving those runs is the thing that stresses me out the most about this 3rd kid…

    • Rebecca says...

      I have four little boys and I manage to get my runs in…Even if it means I have to wake up even earlier ! All the best on #3!

    • Meghan says...

      I’m here. 2 kids, one being a new baby. I’m having a hard time finding a ritual. Washing my face and applying moisturizer, and then possibly reading a bit before bed is not feeling like enough of a “ritual”- more just like a routine. I’m needing some suggestions for rituals for once again new mamas!

    • Nicki says...

      I felt the same longing! Two kids under five and working full-time, so my personal rituals have become a lot more curtailed than they used to be.

      That said, I derive an embarrassing amount of pleasure from preparing and drinking a perfect cup of Earl Grey tea after putting the kids to bed. With warm, foamed milk. And a piece of chocolate. Every single night, even when I’m traveling.

  87. My summer work ritual is indulging in a crushed ice soda (typically root beer) on one of my long weekly drives from OC (we live in Los Angeles). Perfect compliment to a podcast while sitting in traffic. It is pure HEAVEN.

    • Maggie says...

      yes! crushed ice!

  88. I have an daily ritual thanks to my darling dog, Sunny!
    Every morning I wake up and am out the door by 6:30ish head over to a trail or the ocean, and the two of us walk for an hour while I listen to two 15 minute Abraham-Hicks meditations, When they are over I listen to nature, look up/down/around. Smile at fellow travelers, take deep breaths and truly, every single day, I feel appreciation for the freedom to do this.

  89. Reg says...

    Right after my kids go to sleep, I do 10 minutes of meditation using the insight timer app. Most days, I’ll just use the timer and other times, when I need some motivation, I’ll use a guided meditation. For days when I need some parenting inspiration, there’s this loving kindness for our children one that helps me A LOT: https://insig.ht/Ut3zFSM0AY

  90. Abra says...

    My husband died in February and in the first weeks and months I became the sort of extrovert that I never expected of myself, spending little time alone because being around our community felt like a way to be close to Keith. But in the past week I’ve noticed that time by myself feels delicious in the way it did before my world exploded with the loss of him. I found myself out on the patio this week in the still-hot summer night. I put on the song “This Year” by the Mountain Goats which had circled though my head in the early days and danced my brains out. Hot, sweaty, singing. Alone. Terribly sad. Achingly full of joy too.

    Being able to touch down on something within myself that gave me joy felt a lot like being loved by Keith, which turns out to be something I can still give to myself without him here.

    Nighttime patio dancing will without a doubt become a personal ritual.

    • Clare says...

      Sending a million hugs your way, Abra. This is beautiful.

    • Alissa M says...

      This is beautiful and sad at the same time. Thank you for sharing.

    • Tammy H says...

      This is beautiful, Abra. So sorry for your loss.

    • Wink says...

      Abra, I am so sorry for the loss of your husband. I just want to say that I was moved by your post and I hope that nighttime patio dancing continues to bring you joy and strength.

    • KM says...

      Thank you for sharing that. Brought tears to my eyes…both for your loss and because of your amazing spirit.

    • Hayley says...

      So beautiful, Abra, that you were able to find a joy that was new and familiar all at once. Sending you a lot of love. Dance your heart out.

    • rachel says...

      so sorry for your loss <3

    • Patricia says...

      This touched me so much. So happy you are finding joy and finding ways to connect with Keith. The human spirit is a beautiful, tender, triumphant thing. Thanks for sharing this Abra.

    • Alexa says...

      I am so sorry about Keith, Abra. You are such a light. You are taking the pieces of your broken heart and spinning pure gold.

    • Emily M says...

      Abra- Finding you in the comments of CoJ feels like finding you in a giant crowd (and giving you a huge hug, obviously). Love, Emily

    • Brittany says...

      This is so beautiful.

    • Christine collins says...

      I’m sorry Abra

    • Sarah says...

      Abra – you’re a beautiful soul. Thank you for sharing your heart. Much love to you

    • Dearest, Abra. I am listening to the song now, with tears in my eyes, thinking about your journey. And then I picture your sweaty patio dancing and I am so encouraged by your spirit. Thank you for sharing yourself with all of us.

    • M says...

      Beautiful, touching

    • Abra says...

      This place! Thank you all so much for making me feel seen. Thank you CoJ for giving us a place to feel seen.

      Ok, it’s dance time. <3

    • Laura C. says...

      Sending you a big hug, Abra. So sorry for your loss.

    • Julia says...

      This. Bless you and keep dancing x

    • MM says...

      Listening to the song and crying, thinking about your incredible spirit.

    • Julie says...

      I am so sorry for your loss, thank you for sharing this beautiful insight. “This Year” is *my* go-to song when I need my spirits lifted and I expect it will work better than ever because now I’ll have the image of you being strong, resilient, and full of life as you danced to it. I’ll be sure to send thoughts of warmth and joy your way whenever I hear it. :)

    • Annalisa says...

      Abra, I’m so sorry for your loss. As soon as I saw “This Year” by Mountain Goats… I choked up. It’s my husband’s favorite band. He and you would have many conversations about the power of their music. If you lived near we would love to have you over for some wine to talk about their lyrics. All our love.

    • A says...

      Sending you so much love and happiness.

    • MB says...

      Thank you so much for sharing this, Abra. I lost my mom suddenly 3 weeks ago and I’m so in over my head with grief that I’ve been wondering if I’ll ever feel joy again. This gives me a bit of hope that although our relationship will never be the same, I’ll hopefully still find a way to connect with her. Sending you love for your courage and journey xo

    • Ruth says...

      Sending love and light. You are brave and magical — clearly! Thank you for reminding us all how strong we can be.

    • Caitlin says...

      Sending love to you virtually, Abra. “This Year” is one of my favorite songs. I just put it on :)

    • Abra says...

      Annalisa (& everyone!) such kindness!

      MB. I’m so so sorry you lost your mom. I imagine you’re so very much in the heart of the shock. My loss was also completely unexpected… that fact does make a difference. The best thing I heard in the early days (and still) is to allow myself to feel whatever I’m feeling. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. And to trust that my body knows what to do.

      As a fellow CoJ reader I feel it’s pretty safe to assume you’re a bookworm so here are the books that have been a lifeline for me in the past months… with no rush to get to a place where you’re reading. Grief changes our cognitive functioning massively.

      1. It’s Ok That You’re Not Ok by Megan Devine
      2. Bearing the Unbearable by Joanne Cacciatore

      Sending you love

  91. Calla says...

    I shower in the evenings and almost every day when I get out I sit on my bed with my hair wrapped up and file all the dead skin off my feet into a trash can. It’s incredibly satisfying and puts me in a very mindful/zen-like state of mind.

    I also live alone and when I got into a relationship with a partner who frequently spends the night, I started really missing it and not feeling as settled by the time we went to bed. I finally had to fess up and said something along the lines of “Hey, I have this thing I usually do when you’re not here, and I need you to just sit quietly and not talk to me while I do it…”

    • Paige says...

      I am fascinated: how do you file the dead skin off your feet?? I want to do this!!

    • Calla says...

      I use this foot file https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000YD47JS/
      usually the softer side is enough unless I haven’t used it in a long time. The skin is so soft after the shower it just sloughs off. It’s satisfying in the same way that popping a pimple is haha

    • Meghan says...

      Ordered! TY- this sounds ridiculously satisfying and I’m combining it with another commenter’s ritual to wash her feet each night before she climbs into bed. Love!

  92. Denise says...

    I love a cool foot bath in the summer, and a hot one in winter. I can’t say I’ve elevated it to be routine enough for a ritual but I aspire to a weekly ritual of refreshing foot baths.

  93. Kailyn says...

    I have two personal rituals related to big work moments (a big presentation, speaking engagement, interviewing for a new job, first day etc.): I get my nails painted a dusty lavender shade the day before the big event, and then I blast Taylor Swift’s old song “Fearless” as I’m getting ready the morning of my big day. I can’t even remember where the nail polish came from, but I now consider it my lucky color. But the song was popular when I was in college and I listened to it each morning before a summer internship in the US Senate that I was SO nervous for, and that ritual has stuck with me for 10+ years since.

    • Jo says...

      Love this! What is the name of the nail shade?

    • Calla says...

      That’s a good one! My song I use for similar purposes is Sinnerman by Nina Simone. Sometimes I try to time it so that I am walking through the entrance right as she belts out “Powerrrrrrrrr” and I feel like I am starring in my own movie

  94. Lauren says...

    I’ve been enjoying a new ritual at least one morning each weekend of programming the coffee pot the night before, waking up and creeping downstairs to pour a cup, and then bringing my coffee & a book back up to bed. I’ll read in bed and drink coffee until I have somewhere to be, usually for at an hour! It feels so luxurious yet is actually very simple.

  95. Marisa says...

    When I was in the Peace Corps, my sandal-clad feet would always get so dirty by the end of the day. So, every night before getting in bed, I’d wash my feet. Not only did this cool me down, but it also signaled to me that it was the end of my day and I could relax. I still have that ritual every night 10 years later and relish that feeling.

    • rachel says...

      yes! I love cleaning my feet!

    • Annie says...

      I do the same thing every summer night!

  96. Ana says...

    In the mornings as I ‘m getting ready and during my commute I almost always listen to a podcast and it’s definitely very sacred to me. I listen to a lot of different ones, but early in the morning it’s almost always The Daily. Lately my roomie and I have been watching new SVU or Big Little Lies episodes together and I love this ritual too :)

    • ana says...

      Actually totally forgot to say that reading Cup of Jo everyday is most definitely one of my favorite rituals!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that makes me so happy! :)

  97. Jill says...

    So nice! I love a good ritual. Every morning I start my day with a shower and the BBC World Service radio blaring out full volume on my iPhone. Needs to be full volume to hear it over my shower. I’ve realised it’s become a full-blown ritual because I’ll do it even when we have guests staying over or if when I’m staying (in a quieter wing) at someone else’s house. Bit kooky but such a good way to slowly wake up to the day.

    • Calla Martyn says...

      Yes! I do the exact same thing! I love that podcast because it’s just enough information to feel like I am keeping up without being overwhelming. Also there is something about playing it in first thing in the morning that prevents me from thinking too much about myself and fretting about my upcoming day.

  98. Mika says...

    My skincare routine is my ritual! I recently realized how INCREDIBLE oil cleansing is after years of being too afraid to put oils near my face. The first and only one I’ve tried is Marie Veronique’s Replenishing Oil (10/10 recommend). Massaging it onto my face makes me feel like I stepped into a luxurious spa and the glow afterward is also spa-worthy. I’m really passionate about skincare so although it’s a bit time consuming (and my boyfriend will forever be bewildered), it’s so relaxing and peaceful.

  99. Jessica Camerata says...

    I love to paint my nails either at my desk (I work from home) or on my coffee table. It’s so enjoyable and I love having fresh nails every week. I also love to eat cheese and crackers while standing in my kitchen.

    xo Jessica

  100. P.P. says...

    I am someone who thrives on structure so I’m always trying to add rituals to my life. I’m loving reading everyone else’s wonderful ideas!

  101. Jamie says...

    I want to know more about this tarot card ritual!

    • Talia says...

      Me too!

  102. hali says...

    In a perfect world I’d be allowed a full hour after every shower to do very literally *nothing* but sit on my bed in my towel. It’s like a slice of clean, calm, quiet, heaven. My mind never seems to be as calm as it is directly out of the shower, padding around barefoot wrapped in a towel. Not a robe, a towel. Not naked, a towel.

    • Britney says...

      Yes! Same here! Has to be a towel. When my husband and I got married he laughed at me wondering if I was ever going to get dressed. I can so easily fall asleep in bed in a towel!

    • T says...

      My old roommate had the exact same ritual! She called it her Bed, Bath & Beyonce time x

    • Stella says...

      This used to be my ritual every day until I had a baby. Now I’m lucky to even shower in solitude or without having someone knocking on the door yelling, “Mommy! Mommy!”
      This post has inspired me to think more about a ritual that is just for me.

    • Calla says...

      So true! I take super hot showers and wonder if there is something about that that makes it feel so extra peaceful afterwards. Also @T I’m totally going to co-opt that phrase, so perfect!

    • Angela says...

      My husband lovingly refers to this as my “towel time.” It never had a name but I have always been notorious for wanting to spend as much time as possible chilling in my towel before the chore of getting ready to go somewhere. I don’t get this luxury nearly enough now as the mom of twin 4 year olds, but I hope it makes a come back,

  103. CC says...

    This is a good reminder I need to treat myself to some much-needed solo time soon :) thanks Caroline!

  104. Anna says...

    On Sunday mornings I’ll get up, wash the floor of my whole apartment, and then read in the same café for an hour or two before my weekly chakra yoga class. Living alone, rituals like this help give my week structure.

    • Yulia says...

      Your life sounds lovely.

  105. Anonygirl says...

    I watch Frasier every single night before I go to sleep. I have tried other shows and I have tried to break the habit, all to no avail.

    • Okay, so i’m not the only one. So comforting right??

    • Eunice says...

      Love doing this too!!!

    • Joey says...

      Yes!! Greatest show ever for an easy, clever laugh. They feel like a warm blanket to me now, after years of watching them every day.

    • Ellen says...

      me too! Niles is the best!

  106. Ceridwen says...

    Before work, which is insanely early, I shower and get ready (sometimes do yoga or go for a run first) I like to make coffee in my stove top coffee pot, enjoy it while reading CoJ and then gently say goodbye to everyone without waking them and go. I love having this quiet, alone time before the day starts. I always get coffee at little cafe near work and enjoy watch the people coming in and noticing their clothes as well as thinking about what their days have install (sounds bit weird!). At work, I’m an Assistant Principal, I open the school and play music while getting checking emails and getting things ready before the school comes to life. That first creak of the door signals the beginning. Anything can happen in a school day. It’s a peaceful way to start and helps me smile into it.

  107. Carrie says...

    On Friday I strip the bed and wash the sheets. A clean bed to sleep in over the weekend is one of my favorite little luxuries in life. And then on Saturdays I like to get up early and light my favorite hazelnut coffee scented candle and then go back to bed. A few hours later I wake up to the house filled with that delicious, cozy scent.

    • Priscilla says...

      This is amazing! I’m definitely going to do both of those things.

    • Morgan says...

      I also have a routine that involves clean sheets. Having a clean bed to snuggle into on Sunday nights feels like a small consolation for the end of the weekend, and I’d move mountains to make sure it happens. But even better is the make-the-cat-into-the-bed routine that happens without fail every Sunday – cat owners will understand! It’s a nice “family bonding” moment for me, my husband, and our cat and I feel very content when I snuggle into the sheets.

  108. Himali says...

    My best girl friend is in the US and I am in the UK. I call her every Friday, on my walk back home from office and we share the week that was! Appreciate that this isn’t a ‘alone’ ritual but it works for both us – her – a career driven lady now a stay-at-home mom for her two young boys and me – a lady obsessed about everything marriage, family and home now single, childless & in a very demanding but awarding job. We fill each other in on how the other side of the grass is doing ;) it’s weirdly amazing!

    • Alissa M says...

      My bestie and I used to be apart like that and we had a Saturday morning call that we called Saturdate. You and your bestie have Fridate. :-)

  109. R says...

    I don’t have any now, but we had the best one growing up. Friday nights we would get fast food and watch TGIF. It was such a fun thing to look forward to.

    • rachel says...

      i love this!!

    • Natalie says...

      We used to do the same!

    • As a child of the ’90s, we did the same thing. Friday night was pizza and then we would gather together to watch TGIF. I wish there was something similar now.

    • pink says...

      ditto! i used to TGIF (without fast food) and then do my homework so i didn’t have to worry about it over the weekend :)

      now i love staying in on Friday nights after a long week of events/dinners out, etc. and cooking something with the husband and eating it with netflix.

    • Claire says...

      I miss my Friday TGIF ritual so much! Then I would wake up early on Saturday to watch One Saturday Morning. #ILoveThe90s

    • Carrie Jones says...

      Same!! I LOVE TGIF!

    • Caitlin says...

      TGIF on Friday nights and SNICK on Saturday! Ahhh, the good old days.

  110. MMR says...

    Great article – inspiring me to reflect on my own routines and realize a new ritual or two would be beneficial these days!

    One of my favourite rituals, for years, was calling my dad after work on my walk home. The time change worked perfectly and he was nearly always available for a chat. Sometimes the calls lasted 5 minutes, sometimes 25 minutes, as we debriefed on the day. It was lighthearted and subconsciously transitioned me from my ‘work self’ to my ‘life self’. My dad passed away quite a few years ago. I’ve since changed careers and moved to a new city but every so often as I’m leaving work, I still get this urge to call him, like a reflex. While that may sound sad, it always makes me smile (sometimes with watery-eyes) and I’m so thankful we had that ritual which became so ingrained in me! I may not remember specific conversations we had, but I remember the feeling they gave me.

    • Sarah says...

      How’s lovely that you had that relationship with your dad. I hope that’s how life turns out for my daughter and her dad.

    • Lucia says...

      I had this same ritual, I would call my mom while I waited for the bus after work, sometimes it was 10 minutes, sometimes 20, but it always felt good to check in my best friend. My mom died unexpectedly this past April and it’s currently the hardest time of the day for me, all I want is to hear her say, “hi, baby, what’s up?”
      You give me hope that one day, these conversations will be a comfort to me and not reduce me to tears at the end of every work day. Thank you

  111. Honestly this makes me long for the good ol’ pre-motherhood days. I didn’t know I was an introvert until a couple years ago (in my thirties!) when I realized that throughout my high school, college, and post-grad years I had always built in rituals of solitude in my life. In college, the worst dinners in the cafeteria were on Sunday nights (I’m looking at you, chicken Nantucket), so I would go to Subway and eat my sandwich cross-legged on the floor of my dorm room, watching that week’s episode of Gilmore Girls that I had pre-recorded on my TV/VCR combo. Then, in my 20s when I lived in Norway for a year, every Saturday morning I’d take my tea and toast down to the “living rooms” of the large house I lived in and sit by the window for literally 2-3 hours, looking out at the countryside and listening to music, reading, journaling, and recovering from the week of non-stop peopling. As a mom of a 3-year-old working full-time outside the home, I have not yet found a ritual as soothing and satisfying as either of those!

    • jaclyn webb says...

      I feel you. I have 2 young kids and after reading all these comments I too long for my pre-motherhood days when I always saved space for solitude.

    • I lived in Norway too in my twenties (and did a lot of non-stop “peopling” also)! How fun to hear of someone else who’s done that (since outside of Norway, it’s uncommon for me to even *meet* anyone who’s visited…).

    • Calla says...

      Ok, I legitimately worry about this a lot when I am thinking about if I ever want to have kids. As an introvert who lives alone, I feel like I have gotten so used to plenty of alone time for recovery that the idea of having a little human around me all the time interacting with me is kind of scary. Do you have a partner that you parent with that can help arrange for your alone time? How do you manage?

    • Calla, I’m not going to lie to you, this has been the hardest part about my transition to motherhood (I keep thinking I’ll get used to it, but here I am, almost 4 years in). I do have an incredibly supportive partner and I’d say we truly are 50/50 when it comes to our parenting responsibilities, and he’s incredibly supportive about my wanting time to myself. Working full-time outside the home is in some ways a lifesaver for my introversion (I stayed home with the babe till she was a little over a year old), because that’s “my time” and I have the commute + many hours in my office where I get to choose how much I talk to people, for the most part (I’m an editor so my work tends to be fairly solitary). BUT working outside the home also means there are just so many fewer hours in the day with my child, so there’s guilt for wanting to be away from her to do my own rituals. A lot of it is internalized crap that’s going to take women generations to undo. Alas, alack!

    • Calla says...

      Joy that sounds difficult. I’m glad you have a supportive partner to help out! And I can totally imagine what you are saying about the guilt, although you absolutely should not feel that way. I’m sure you are a very loving mother to your child, and you are also a person with your own needs. If anything, as your child grows up it will probably be good for them to have a role model who demonstrates the importance of solitude.

  112. First, I can totally relate to Sarah. I love staying up a little late on Sunday night to watch whatever show I’m watching (usually something on Bravo), eat a late night snack and do a face mask. Thats my thing to get ready for the week ahead.

    Stephanie

  113. Lara says...

    On Monday evenings, I work out (yay for Orange Theory) and then come home and take a bath while eating dinner. Yes, in the bath tub. Summer is too hot for the bath and while I never want summer to end, I am excited for the return of my bath!

  114. Heather says...

    My most important ritual happens while I commute to work. I take the train from the Maryland suburbs into DC every work day. The commute is mostly below ground, but there is one particular spot that goes above ground. When the train reaches this area I always stop what I am doing and look up. I can clearly see the US Capitol and the Washington Monument and it takes my breath away every time. I worked really hard to work in DC and that moment reminds me every day what I fought for and what I continue to fight for.

    I also watch dirty dancing every year on my birthday :)

    • SarahN says...

      I used to do the same whenever my train crossed Sydney Harbour. People travel so far to see this, and I got to see it for the time I commuted north. And it is just breathtaking in the early mornings.

  115. Britt says...

    Every so often after finishing a night shift at the hospital, I stop at our local greasy spoon for bacon and eggs (and a cup of tea!) before heading home to bed. Bonus points if I have a good book.

    • Britt says...

      That sounds delightful. Breakfast for a late dinner was always my favorite. Fellow Britt here too :)

  116. kiki says...

    My weekday morning ritual is sacred. Coffee + Yogurt with seasonal fruit and honey + at least an hour of reading something interesting. I do this at my desk, so i guess it’s not a secret. But it sets up my day.

  117. Danielle says...

    I start (almost) every day with a cup of coffee: freshly ground beans, french press, my giant green mug with the chip in the rim. I drink it in bed or in the sunny spot in my home office. Due to shifting schedules, my “day” can start any time from morning to evening (hello, night shift)- but it always starts with coffee.

    When I was working 70-80 hours a week in training, it felt like an act of rebellion to claim this half hour for myself when the rest of my time was so consumed with work. Even with a way less grueling schedule it still feels nice to check in with myself and intentionally slow down for a bit.

  118. Mary says...

    Every Monday evening, I watch Jeopardy! in my bed after dinner. Only on Mondays, & if I miss it for some reason, I have to wait until the next week. It’s just a silly way that to make the start of a work week better for me :)

  119. Abby says...

    I grew up Seventh-Day Adventist, an every Saturday after lunch everyone in my family would take a looooong nap, until it was time to go back to church for the evening service. When I moved away from home and in with my husband, it was so hard to not take that nap! I don’t crave that nap time as much anymore but sometimes I get jealous when I think of my parents just sleeping the day away on Saturday afternoons :).

    • Annalsia says...

      This sounds amazing! And how interested that it was tied to the structure of a religious practice. What a gentle way to acknowledge the demands of that. Your napping trick is shared by many… my Nonna’s house was always so quiet after we would eat lunch at noon that a nap felt not only natural, but appropriate and encouraged. I always sleep so well there.

  120. Sarah A says...

    I just want to say that reading about all these personal rituals and me time is calming by itself.

    • I totally agree, Sarah! I’m enjoying this post and comments so much.

    • Natalie says...

      Agreed! Fav comments in a long time and inspiring me to establish some regular rituals

  121. Sara says...

    Every day I do yoga first thing when I wake up and read in bed before falling asleep. I’m 38 and have just solidified this morning and evening ritual within the past year. It’s the best thing I’ve done just for me in as long as I can remember.

  122. Susannah says...

    The disintegration of my constellation of personal rituals has been one of the most difficult things about the transition into motherhood for me. I try (try try) to carve out the time (yes, yes, I know, put the air mask on first etc etc) but it’s literally a question of time. Gone are hours-long bath and facemask indulgences, gone are afternoons spent gloriously alone in the company of a good book…The only one I can consistently commit to keeping is “chip o’clock”. I fill a small enamel bowl with chips every night and eat them after my daughter goes to sleep. It’s always chip o’clock somewhere.

    • J says...

      Hahaha. Oh man, I hear you girl. I hear every word of this.

    • Mary says...

      I’m also a mother, and I know EXACTLY what you mean about the air mask.

      Enjoy your bowl of chips, girl.

    • jane says...

      Is it possible to get a babysitter once a week? One that will take your kids to the park or a movie? There’s got to be a way to claim space for your self!

    • Susannah this is fantastic. I also believe in the ministry of crunching. Give me some sweet plantain chips from Trader Joe’s (SO CRUNCHY) and a fizzy drink…it’s so soothing for some reason!

    • Amy says...

      I can’t jigsaw puzzle in my head how and when to get a sitter for an hour every week. A sitter would ask for at least 2 hours to make it worth his or her time which is WAY too much time away on the weekends or evenings.

      Weeknights are a wash. After the kids go to bed and you get to make and eat your dinner and clean up, it’s a reasonable bedtime. You likely still need to do some work – whether it’s work work or life work – and get ready for bed and the next day. So, no, no time during the week.

      On the weekends you have maybe 24 hours (12 hours over 2 days) with your children. And none of this is uninterrupted. At best, you get a focused hour or two here or there with your kids due to transit, activities, errands, meals, getting them dressed or undressed, bathed, naps etc. I’d say maybe 6 focused hours for your children on the weekend (again, this is very optimistic) and add some divisor to that if you have multiple children. So one hour away from them on the weekend is precious, precious time. This doesn’t even account for awake time spent with your husband, any work work you need to do, or feeding your family.

      I get resentful when people act like it’s easy to choose self care. My children fill me up and I miss them desperately during the week. One hour away from them on the weekends is like cutting down my time with them by 20%. It’s just not worth it.

  123. Sonja says...

    I have coffee in that sweet limbo part of the morning when my husband is off to work and my son is still asleep. I work from home and have a lot of solitude but there is something so precious about those minutes when I can climb back into bed with coffee, barefeet, and no expectations. I think that’s what’s so precious – no one needs anything from me! I cherish how needed I am but damn if it isn’t exhausting.

  124. Hannah says...

    That photo is EVERYTHING.

    • Jess says...

      I know! I love it!

  125. Hannah says...

    This has got me thinking! I’m a couple years into motherhood and mourning the freedom of my single and pre-kid days- the “by-myselfness” of them- and I’m looking foward to reading throught the comments on this one :)

  126. E says...

    Caroline, please do a tarot column! What are your favorite decks?

  127. Silver says...

    I wake up super early and I make my coffee on the stove top. I heat the milk over the stove top. My cat runs out to make sure I am safe, gives me a few cuddles then returns to bed with my husband until a more reasonable hour. I love sitting in my lounge room all alone just waiting for the sun to rise, the darkness into the golden air. I listen for the waking birds. I can’t turn on lights, or make any noise – just sitting there with my cup of coffee.

    Then, my family get up and the day begins.

  128. Taylor says...

    I have a couple that fall probably more into habit than ritual!
    –baking on sundays and giving any successful baking project to my fiance to bring into his work
    –calling my mom on my drive home from work
    –reading the various columnists on the lifestyle wapo page (hax, sietsema, ask amy, miss manners) every morning with my coffee before diving into work

    We also have a variety of rituals that are weekly but change in nature: date nights on Wednesdays (always able to snag a reservation), watching food network or HGTV while we cook dinner and then switching to something more cerebral while actually eating

    So many of my rituals involve rewarding myself with food (or alcohol) and I’ve been trying to stop viewing food as a reward but it’s hard! Trying to get better about feel-good rituals that come from other places…now if only I actually made reading the stack of books on my nightstand a ritual!!

  129. Meg says...

    My dad used to come home from a long day of work and head straight to his beloved garden. He’d sneak directly from the car to the garden – like some kind of suburban ninja – without hellos, bathroom breaks, or changing of shoes. I have vivid memories of peeking out the house window to see my dad had made it home and was in his fancy black suit and dress shoes meticulously placing a plant tendril, picking a weed, checking for water in the soil and then sitting for a moment in silence in a shaded Adirondack chair. It was such a funny vision as he seemed so out of place. As a kid we always wanted to run out and mob him once he was spotted. I’ll never forget how my mother honored his ritual and would explain that he needed that minute of calm to rest the burdens on his shoulders and transition from boss to dad. And sure enough, after a just a couple minutes, he’d come in the house with a warm smile and open arms – seemingly rejuvenated and ready to give us his whole self.

    Thanks for the reminder of why self-care (and the support of others’ self-care) is so important. Maybe I’ll head to my backyard after work today… :)

    • Kyla says...

      This is such a beautiful memory! I don’t know if I ever saw my parents actively make time for self-care or personal rituals for themselves and I think they were worse off for it. I hope I can demonstrate to my future children just how important it is to take these quiet moments to fill my cup, like your mom and dad showed you :)

    • Anna says...

      My husband does this! In the summer months he goes to the garden and putters around right after work in his fancy work clothes. What’s funny is that our daughters wait for him inside, while our son goes out to help him (maybe he’ll have the same ritual when he has a family of his own?).

  130. When I’m feeling particularly stressed out, my most comforting ritual is to eat a bag of Trader Joe’s white cheddar popcorn with a spoon (I don’t like the cheese dust sticking to my fingers!). When we first moved in together, my boyfriend walked in, saw me, and started laughing. I told him he could make comments or ask questions just that once, but from that point forward, he had to ignore me (a la Carrie Bradshaw telling Aidan to pretend she wasn’t there) and let me indulge in my “secret single behavior.”

    • Mallory says...

      Hot tip: use chopsticks! Way easier to pick up individual kernels than with a spoon. Learned this trick from a friend with a similar hot cheeto ritual ;)

  131. Karissa says...

    I have a few rituals (podcasts while commuting to work, music based on the day while coming home – always!) but I’ve worked to keep them from being associated with any particular day. I realized that if something came up when I would normally do the ritual, I’d resent that activity. Even if it was something I was excited about (dinner with a friend, work events)! So, basically, I try to develop freestanding rituals.

    • Amanda says...

      Karissa, I recently started doing the same thing!! Although it’s NPR news in the morning and a podcast coming home :)

  132. Laura C. says...

    What happens with tarot cards lately? Seems that it is a trend now.
    My personal ritual is having breakfast on my own, in the kitchen and listening to the radio. I just need it.

  133. Rachel says...

    I watch reality shows with a glass of red wine while colouring adult connect the dot books. It’s my adult version of a baby blanket and a sucked thumb.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Awww yes xoxo

    • Emma says...

      These comments are amazing. After having kids I have noticed my ability to wake up 30 mins earlier after each kid. I wake up at 6 now and recently switched from looking at Instagram for 30 mins to reading. It has been the best change and I can read so many more books now that I have carved out that time.
      Also, my secret single behaviour is popcorn for dinner in a giant bowl. I feel like if that’s all I’m eating I can eat as much as I want. My husband has seen me do it but my kids have no clue ;)

    • Kylee says...

      I was a ballet dancer in my former life, and dancers are full of pre-performance rituals. Getting to the theater early to slowly put on makeup, warm-up your body, get physical therapy, even eating the exact same thing before each show. I’m now retired with two little ones and miss that ritualistic part of my life. I haven’t settled into a consistent ritual other than yoga a couple times a week and reading COJ in bed with a cup of joe :)

  134. Laura says...

    I recently went from a 25 min commute to an hour+ involving the commuter rail, and to make it tolerable I’ve started thinking of it as ‘me’ time. I tend to nap on the way in but for the return trip I always pack a bottle of ice water and a bag of bite-size fruit (the cherries this month are out of this world!) and I’ve been re-reading the Harry Potter books on my phone.

    • kash says...

      Laura, I used to have an hour-and-a-half commute and I did the same thing. Worked a treat. I never worked on the subway! I tried to make it a little treat, if possible–I’d either buy or make a nice coffee, and I had a designated “subway book” and “subway podcast.”

    • Sarah says...

      I re read the Harry Potter books once a year. So perfect

  135. Lauren W says...

    While most nights a week I spend together with my boyfriend, Monday night is nearly always a solo night. There is nothing better than finishing up the first work day of the week, coming home and immediately throwing on PJs, applying a face mask, and turning on the TV to everything I’ve saved up in my queue from the previous week (I’m looking at you BRAVO). It’s the perfect way to unwind– spending the night mindlessly binge watching and having a ‘mask Monday.’

    • This sounds like a DREAM. Now, if only I could get my husband and my 3-year-old to disappear on Monday nights…

    • Calla Martyn says...

      Yes! I also do mask days when my boyfriend is not around. Not that he cares, it’s just not as relaxing when you have to talk to someone. I also love the idea of doing something special on Mondays

  136. Meredith says...

    Lol what does it say about my life these days that I mark the passing of another week by Wednesday trash days! 🤣 The closest thing I could think of to my own personal ritual is patting myself on the back every week for being so smart to clean out the fridge on Wednesday before taking the trash out. Obviously I need to work on developing some proper rituals, stat!

    • Connie Cogdell says...

      It’s a ritual so it counts, and I’m right there with you!

    • Rachel says...

      That’s the perfect ritual, Meredith! So satisfying!

    • Trish O says...

      Seriously, this is a genius move on your part. I always think of this the day after the trash. Well done!

    • Heather says...

      A person who cleans out their fridge every week seems to me like the most organized, together person on earth. A clean, orderly fridge is always astonishing to me. You should put this on job resumes.

  137. Anu says...

    I put my phone away and read on my subway commute to and from work – about half an hour each way. With my busy work life and busy home life (toddler) this is a great way to transition between the two worlds and feels like something I do just for me.

  138. Annalisa says...

    I get home, take off all my clothes, and lay in our guest bedroom (the cleanest and whitest bedspread in the house) on an accupressure mat until my husband is done making dinner. By the time my bones and flesh have melted into themselves I feel refreshed and relaxed to the point where I can tell my heart rate has significantly slowed. It’s like taking a nap and getting an earth-shattering deep massage at the same time. While the pointy plastic digs in, I have to release, mentally, and physically, in a way that no other stretching facilitates. It’s deeply healing.

    Accupressure mat: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00I1QCPHQ/ref=twister_B07PZHBXZP?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

    • Silver says...

      Thanks for the link because you knew it – “wow what is an acupressure mat”

    • Kimberly says...

      I have a similar one like this acupressure mat with neck roll. I hold so much tension in my shoulders and neck, and I also suffer from back pain. I love how all the tension tingles out my body each time I use it. I highly recommend your recommendation! : )

    • anneka says...

      Where is the link for the husband who makes the dinner?

    • Anna says...

      The reviews for the acupressure mat are pure gold!!

  139. Olivia says...

    Man! The pictures you guys choose are always so perfect.

    • Ramona says...

      I agree! This one screams ‘indulgence!’

    • Heather says...

      My most important ritual happens while I commute to work. I take the train from the Maryland suburbs into DC every work day. The commute is mostly below ground, but there is one particular spot that goes above ground. When the train reaches this area I always stop what I am doing and look up. I can clearly see the US Capitol and the Washington Monument and it takes my breath away every time. I worked really hard to work in DC and that moment reminds me every day what I fought for and what I continue to fight for.

    • Elizabeth says...

      Totally! That photo is hilariously inspiring.

  140. Carly says...

    Saturday is sacred to me in that I start it and end it in the same way every. Single. Week. First: wake up, strip the bed and get the laundry in. Go out to get a latte and run any errands. Hopefully, home before 11, to put the sheets in the dryer, hang the rest and have the bed made again by noon, with no wrinkles in the sheets and a face full of warm dryer-laundry. End of day? (Watch the Leafs game during winter) Face mask, shower with extra decadence for my hair, take care of leg hair, then lotion, clean jammies and a glass of something fizzy, and climbing in between nice clean sheets. Resets my inner chill and prepares me for the week ahead. I’ve been known to get up extra early if I’ve got extra stuff going on that weekend, just so I can get it done which is not something I would do ever if I could help it, but I know the day I surrender the routine, I’ll be lost…

  141. Louisa says...

    Every Thursday at our house is pizza night – homemade pizza with our neighbors. And on Thursdays at 5:00 my husband takes our daughter to swimming lessons – so I have the house to myself for an hour. I open a bottle of wine, put on a podcast, clean the kitchen thoroughly, heat the oven, shape the dough, prep the toppings, set the table. Basically I’m just making dinner but for some reason (the solitude, the wine, the fact that I can do this all on autopilot?) I love it.

  142. L8Blmr says...

    I love love love to have home spa day on Sundays. I have an array of masks and body treatments followed by a bubble bath with essential oils and a good soak to Van Morrison…exfoliation, moisturization and relaxation are queen! After this, I’m ready to face the week.

  143. ANDREA says...

    At the start of any road trip, my husband and blast “The Green and Red of Mayo” by the Saw Doctors.

  144. Joy says...

    I used to watch The Sound of Music every day by myself when I would get home from kindergarten. I find that so amusing because (1) the movie is nearly three hours long and I’m not sure how it held my five-year-old self’s attention; (2) why would my parents let me do that everyday? (still a mystery); and (3) this was still in the VHS tape days, which meant there was an “intermission” and I would have to switch over to the next tape! The movie still holds a very special spot in my heart and I immediately think of it as one of my favorite movies, but I’m proud to share I no longer watch it every day. ;)

    • Calla Martyn says...

      I had that movie on VHS too and I also remember the intermission! I’m not sure if my siblings and I lost interest before the end or if my parents turned it off before then, but I re-watched it several years ago and was SHOCKED to see the scene where they were being chased by Nazis. I thought it ended with the wedding…

    • Kristen says...

      My little sister and I would watch West Side Story nearly daily when we got home from school (latch key kids)… skipping the sad parts, of course, and re-watching/fully dancing to “America” at least three times per viewing.

  145. Daniela says...

    A hot bath is my go to when I’m home alone. A glass of wine when home alone also feels so decadent.

    Lately my fiance has started a new job where he works super late, so when I get home from work I do a quick workout and enjoy some dinner. I miss having him home for dinner dearly but it’s also nice to decompress by myself.

  146. celeste says...

    Family of 4 = everything is breaking down, or needs to be cooked or cleaned, sports practices, etc. But I keep what I call my “retirement list”. “When I am retired my house will be clean all day.” “When I’m retired, I’ll go down and see that outdoor classical music.”

    • Meg says...

      OMG I dream of retirement also! Is that terrible? Teacher and mother here- maybe I just need a ritual outside of my house. I like the idea of getting a coffee or smoothie before errands on Saturdays in the meantime. But my retirement plan still includes tending to goats and chickens. Clearly I’m dying for some me time lol.

    • Paula says...

      my retirement list is so long I will be long dead before I get to do half of it. gardening, outdoor concerts, clean house with a white couch, and white sheets on beds, dog that I can take on hour long hikes-and this is just the cute list. The big list includes things like living in another country on a farm, so, LOL.

  147. Diana K. says...

    On Wednesdays I do figure drawing after work. I always stop by the same bar on the corner for a glass of wine- in my head this loosens me up to draw better. And during the class I pop in Jay-Zs 444 album in my headphones to psych me up and we draw a live model for 2 hours and break for cookies and seltzer in the middle. At 9pm I walk back to the subway in the dark feeling really good that I’ve committed to practicing something.

    • Kristin says...

      Wow, Diana – this sounds fantastic!

    • Andrea says...

      Oooookay this sounds pretty great!
      Is it a drawing class or do you draw people who are sitting in the bar? Either way, I’m jealous and inspired.

  148. Trish O says...

    I recently discovered the power of personal ritual. Mine is the take a Saturday afternoon nap with my Calm app playing. I grew-up in a family that felt down times and naps were a slight misuse of time. Maybe this my last step to personal actualization, but I break with my parents’ reality and find this nap ritual the best use of time. It is refreshing and decadent…

  149. Nina says...

    I’m an Internet-only-on-my-desktop gal, and I work from home. After I finish for the day, I immediately (must) go to people.com and then Cup of Jo after. (I don’t let myself check until then.) First I need the quick sugary rush of people pictures (yes, some of the content there is morbid, I skip that), and then the good-for-my-soul gentle yet entertaining content that CoJ delivers. Thank you, by the way!

    • Karin says...

      Ditto, except for the People.com. I spend the 1/2 hour before dinner checking into a few favorite blogs (including COJ) It’s my decompress time = like drivetime used to be when I commuted but much more fun…

  150. zk says...

    i like to pray – anything sufi, shi’a nohas, bhajans, tibetan buddhist, mystical christian, ana bekhao you name it, i’ll do it!