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Pillar #1 – Daily Rituals

Written by Emily Hartmann MD

July 29, 2020

As a society we have innumerable challenges which can throw a stress wrench into our plans. In my recent blog post, I detailed my journey through the chaos of my 20s and 30s and am now settling into a better flow. I also recently wrote about the 5 pillars of Awesomeness which is the cornerstone to my life and I’ve found it a powerful guide. I owe this mostly to the establishment of daily rituals introduced to me through my studies of Ayurveda. As I was implementing this into my life, I also took note of a growing global trend towards a morning routine and mindfulness. This is a great time to be alive! There is a mounting up-level of consciousness, and as a society we realize that something must change.
My biggest stumbling block was this notion that I didn’t have time. This is where the fortitude comes into play. You have to FORCE the time. It will not happen naturally until the habits are formed. It has been shown on many levels that establishing a routine will increase your productivity. I remember reading in a Self Magazine that people who establish an exercise routine into their lives become more efficient with the rest of their day. For me this meant carving out time in the morning, while my family was still asleep, to spend time with myself.
I would get my first block done before the energy of the day swept me away.
The one thing I can say is that this is the first change I noticed that dramatically improved my life. It is also the FIRST thing to get derailed when something stressful comes my way (moving, sickness, stressful work week). I’ve worked harder and harder at keeping the rituals even in stressful weeks and the reality is that NOTING IS PERFECT. This concept of a daily ritual is not to get a gold star at the end of each day (although sometimes the accomplished feeling is just as rewarding). You will fail, you will be imperfect, you will mess up. Start each morning with renewed vigor and a massive dose of self-compassion for making the attempt.
The graphic below is for you to refer to 🙂 Heck, feel free to print it out and have it in your bedside table to review in the morning. Whatever you need!
#1 – First thing in the morning. Before you get out of bed think of 3 things you are supremely grateful for. Do a scan of your body and thank it for being so strong and supportive of your day. Come out of bed and find your Zen Space (more on this in subsequent blog posts). This is a place you’ve created that is just for relaxation and meditative acts. Settle into your zen space and sip on some warm lemon water or tea of your choosing. Complete your meditative practice and then move into a gratitude practice with journaling the 3 things you are grateful for. This is an opportunity to pray or whichever practice of this nature you would like. I then conclude this session with body movements that are not stressful (see future blog post for the Movement pillar). The idea is that our bodies are constantly flooded with cortisol from the burden of a stressful life. Taking the opportunity to move our bodies without stress will flood in all of the good fluids into the joints and invigorate the system without too much mechanical stress. Yoga, gentle walking, simple rebounding can be just the thing to energize and encourage cellular happiness (not a clinical term LOL).
#2 – Hydration is key. It is so key. We are a dehydrated community and it is amazing how many ER admissions are just simply due to the effects of not enough water intake. We consume so many fluids (coffee, diet coke, caffeinated drinks) that act as diuretics and make it hard for our bodies to feel the signs of dehydration. Aim for 2 liters of fresh water daily. The amount of water is up for debate but at the end of the day just monitor the color of your urine. Aim for a pale yellow clear quality. This should guide you in the right direction. I also encourage sipping on warm water throughout the day which is more in keeping with Ayurvedic principles. I personally use a metal 1 liter water bottle that I fill with half cold and half hot water to give me the right temperature. I add a tea bag and then it’s my tea in a large container.
#3 – Mindful eating is my favorite revelation. I can’t tell you the countless times I shoveled food into my mouth as fast as I could. So fast that I couldn’t even taste it…which tells me the enzyme needed to start the digestive process didn’t have a chance either. When I sit down to my meals I stop. Set the food in front of me and I don’t immediately start eating. I look at it and think about how grateful I am for this meal. How it will heal and serve my body. I take in some deep breaths and then out (in for 4 and out for 8). Then I chew very slowly savoring each bite. Give it a try!
#4 – The end of the day is my hardest time because I’m usually pretty tired. I have days that I’m good about it and days I just fall asleep on the couch. But my goal is always to conclude the day with something calming. For me this is a warm bath with epsom salts and essential oils and a cup of herbal tea. I try to do self-massage when I have time (see the PDF below for a self-massage guide). Do your facial and dental care at this time. I recommend going to bed early enough to get 7-8 hours of sleep which promotes enough time for cell turnover and brain recovery. Some of my favorite sleep aids include magnesium calm drink, lemon balm, passion flower extract, or CBD. Lay down and again thank your body for serving you that day.
Find joy in implementing your daily routine however it suits your needs. Feel free to customize and play around with your individual needs. Any effort will pay off in spades.
I’d love for you to comment on how this resonates with you! Remember to subscribe to the website for more blog access and future posts! You’re just getting started and the next pillars are just as transformative.
Sending lots of love to you!

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