I read an interesting article recently on the impact of COVID-19 on our rituals, from weddings and birthdays to coffee breaks with co-workers and morning commutes. Humans and societies thrive on rituals to mark the passage of time and celebrate milestones. In losing that aspect of our lives, we’re missing out on monumental occasions but also the day-to-day routines that govern, and in many ways, give meaning to our lives. For me, the past two years have been a blur.
My husband and I have been particularly careful during the pandemic since I’ve been pregnant for quite literally most of it and we had a newborn at home.
It’s been relatively easy for us to live like hermits because we were both able to work from home and both had very generous parental leave policies where we worked, so we didn’t have to worry about exposure at daycare. We have been blessed beyond measure to have the luxury to stay home and have done so very happily. My husband and I have a mantra that “every day is a birthday party,” and we work hard to invite joy and gratitude into our day to day, regardless of the circumstances. We’ve had so much more to celebrate with a new baby around.
Our sacrifices have been minor compared to so many people, but they haven’t always been easy. After two years, we still haven’t had our wedding celebration. I had a virtual mother blessing. We had a virtual funeral to mark my grandmother’s passing. When I had a miscarriage, I had to go to the doctor’s office alone.
Now that our daughter is almost eight months old, and we’re settling into a routine (again), I’m really feeling the absence of my rituals, and I want to find a way to incorporate them, or some version of them, back into my life. I think it’ll provide a big boost to my mental health.
I’ve been thinking about the rituals I miss, boiling them down to their essence and then finding ways to recreate them. And the more I work to understand what I’m missing, the more I realize this has little to do with the pandemic and more to do with my new role as a mother.
The journey into parenthood is such a sacred, monumental transition; my goal is to honor my needs, redefine myself and what serves me, and give myself a little grace along the way.
The three rituals I’m going to focus on over the next few months are:
- Learning new things and having new experiences. Instead of travel, I’m committing to learning new crafts, reading more books and listening to more podcasts.
- Getting ready first thing in the morning. I spoke to a friend recently, and she pointed out that I’m doing a great job of taking care of my baby, but at the expense of taking care of myself. Putting on an outfit and some lip gloss can go a long way in feeling ready for the day.
- Enhancing my spiritual practice. I’m always so much more fulfilled during times in my life when my spiritual practice is a top priority. Lately, I’ve had the time, but not the mental space for meditation, deep journaling, rituals to observe the passing seasons and other ways to help me feel grounded and connected. I plan to carve out a specific time every day, starting small (10 minutes) and experiment with practices that work for this new version of me.
What are you doing to bring rituals back into your life? What’s been meaningful to you?