Cherish life. Nourish it.


Sleep, Part 3: Rituals vs Routines

A bubble bath Rituals are a part of every society. They differ greatly from routines, and are much more powerful. How can understanding the difference between the two help us craft a nourished life in which restful sleep plays a part? Let’s see.

Routines can be described as being:

  • Minimally engaging
  • Focused on completing tasks rather than enjoying the process
  • Duty based
  • Tedious
  • Acts contributing little to our sense of belonging
  • Externally motivated
  • A low awareness activity

Rituals, however, are much more nourishing. They:

  • Are fully engaging
  • Tell a story
  • Brighten awareness
  • Are process oriented
  • Foster joy and peace
  • Are internally motivated
  • Are celebration based
  • Add to our sense of belonging
  • Often feature symbolism and create a sense of purpose

Most of us would agree that the second set of options describes a much greater quality of life. Celebrating our life, lifting awareness so we are more conscious of our blessings, and having peaceful moments are all nourishing tools in the quest for best quality sleep. Being fully present in activities of our choice as we slow down from a busy day and prepare for rest will help us feel more connected with our body, and will reinforce the fact that we are worth our own best efforts in self care. 

What rituals might you choose?

  • A warm bath, scented with herbs or natural essential oils
  • Listening to soothing music
  • Listening to a book on tape (bedtime stories for grown-ups!)
  • Reading by soft light
  • Selecting our outfit and accessories for the next day to reduce the morning rush
  • Some slow, gentle stretches
  • Deep breathing
  • Massaging your feet with natural moisturizers

Our life has a story. When we use the power of positive story as a tool for nourishment, we relax into our life, as it is right now, imperfections and all. To illustrate, maybe we are a working mom, or a working single mom, who feels like the last thing she’ll ever have time for is self-care. Just the thought, “I’ll never have time for me”, creates a stress response. It’s a negative story, one based on scarcity (not enough) and a sense of endless sacrifice. Negative stories and stress responses rattling around in our brain are certainly counterproductive for sleep.

But changing that thought to, “I’m going to turn off the TV or computer 30 minutes earlier so I can listen to some music and have a relaxing bath”, creates a sense of purpose, a sense that we are worthy, and that life is manageable.

Maybe we are so busy that we don’t have any TV time to give up: what then? Evaluating and streamlining some tasks around the house will allow you some precious moments for a nourishing bedtime ritual. There is always time for the things that matter. And you definitely do.




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Tired of all the conflicting noise about diets and food?



Ask your Inner Three-year-old. 

The next time you are around little ones at a meal or snack, watch their food behaviors. They pick. Nibble. They eat slowly, perforce, since their hand/eye coordination is still a work in progress. If they find a taste, texture, or aroma that doesn’t speak to them, no amount of parental cajoling will cause them to take another bite of the offending food.

Because eating is a real experience for that toddler, the process takes time. And that slow, unhurried approach to food is what leads to the natural attunement to the body’s wisdom and signals she was born with.

She is not:

  • fretting about calories, macronutrient ratios, or fat grams 
  • logging her estimated fiber grams in her smartphone to ascertain how many points she can trim off the effective calories of the meal 
  • looking at a cookie with an eye to determine how much time she’ll have to do on the stairstepper to burn it off
  • feeling guilt or worse, shame, for having an appetite
  • actively hating on her body for being less than perfect (despite those dimples on her thighs and all)
  • rehashing stressful events of her day.
  • calling foods “good” or “bad”, and therefore herself for eating them

No, she is solely focused on chewing, tasting, and enjoying her meal. Nothing more. She eats when she is hungry, and desists when she’s had just enough. No drama, struggle, angst, or browbeating is involved. When she’s done, life calls with all its interesting things to explore. She doesn’t think about food again until her body asks for it. 

All of us once had this effortless food life, but for most, it becomes an elusive peace once we hit puberty. Indeed, our life around food is anything but peaceful. No matter what food, exercise, macronutrient, diet, vitamin, or mineral being discussed, one source will be bashing it while another sings its praises. So what is an eater to do? 

Perhaps we should do something different. Listen to our own body, because that’s where the wisdom is. That’s where the action is. Slow down, unplug, tune in, and listen for the voice of our true self, the one with the appetite for life. 

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Things that Nourish


Nourishment is so much more than just food or nutrients. It’s the sound of an unexpected rain shower on a hot summer’s day. A glance between loved ones that speaks wordlessly. The deep peace of the breath as we cool down from a workout. The scent of fresh lavender. Planting things and watching them grow. Feeling the sun on our face and savoring our life. Touch. Aroma. Music. All beautifully, compellingly nourishing.

The act of planning meals and preparing food we love is nourishing on several levels: Intention, thoughtfulness, creativity, and curiosity converge. Each is deeply fulfilling. Cooking creatively says, “I’m worth taking care of.”  It allows us to slow down and experience true pleasure several times a day. Memories are made. 

Please join me as we discuss, explore, and experience all things nourishing.