As you may know, I’m taking some time off to welcome a baby boy to our family (which now numbers 6 of us, including Happy, the rescue rabbit!)! 🙂
Of course I want to still give you valuable free content as always, but know I can’t be as present as usual.
So… like I did with my youngest daughter, I’m having a Babysitter Blog series where my favorite health & wellness professionals will share something new with you all while I’m on maternity leave!
I have some seriously awesome, knowledgable, gifted, smart and and talented friends. From published authors to a vegan chef to a Food Network host and a pre/post natal fitness & yoga expert, you’ll hear from them all!
I’m kicking off the series with my friend and fellow mama of 3, Beth, talking about rituals and her award winning book!
(Here are my girls holding a copy at her book release party!)
Check out her blog post to see what she discovered when she started adding some simple rituals to her daily life!
Beth Ricanati: Benefits of Rituals
I am a mother, physician and now author. This last descriptor was not always part of the plan! I graduated medical school over twenty years ago, had three children and thought that I knew my plan, knew what was in store for me, both personally and professionally.
Turns out, I didn’t know everything.
While living in Cleveland, Ohio and practicing medicine, we had our third child. I continued as I had always done, going to work and preparing family meals and volunteering in the kids’ schools. The idea of taking some time for myself didn’t even occur to me. I just kept on. Turns out this doctor did not know best! In keeping up with my usual habits, I was unintentionally adding to my stress.
And then I discovered making challah on Fridays.
I had never made bread before, and therefore didn’t appreciate how wonderful it is to get your hands sticky in a bowl of dough. It’s therapeutic, in fact. There is research that supports engaging in the tactile arts (think: pottery or knitting for example) to improve our moods, so it makes sense that I would feel better making homemade bread.
Now many years later, I’ve come to appreciate that we all need rituals in our lives to anchor us, to help us feel more present and grounded. I’ve continued to make bread each Friday, in part for this reason.
I look for reasons now to incorporate rituals whenever I can. Another favorite ritual of mine are simple family meals. I believe that food has the ability to heal us or to contribute to disease. I talk about this with my patients and I want to practice what I preach, hence I spend a lot of time in the kitchen! My children often bring friends over for dinner and nothing makes me happier than feeding a gaggle of kids.
Whether it’s making bread or cooking, in my case, or gardening in my mother’s, I believe that rituals should be simple so that they are sustainable. If the challah recipe that my friend had shared with me so many years ago was a complicated affair, I may have tried it once, but I probably wouldn’t have made it again. The fact that it’s only six ingredients has enabled me to keep making it. Similarly, I only cook simple recipes, often with 5-10 ingredients or less. This makes it easy for me to keep on cooking and not get overwhelmed.
After making challah for so many years and learning so many lessons along the way, I decided to share my story in what has become Braided: A Journey of a Thousand Challahs. And as a result, I have had the opportunity to learn about so many other’s rituals that they share with me at book events.
Having a ritual in your life is meaningful (and yummy in my case…challah French toast, anyone?) but it’s also a healthy behavior. I encourage you to incorporate rituals as part of your overall health and wellness plan. How to do this if you are not already doing so: think about activities that you enjoy, or think back to when you were a child and what brought you joy then. If you don’t want to start something alone, consider asking a friend or friends to join you, i.e. book club or knitting circle. Regardless of what you try, keep it simple!