Last week Ben and I were invited on a little wellness break with Rituals. A brand that both of us have loved and supported for a few years now. The purpose of the trip was to discover Me-Time, but also get a better understanding of exactly what the brand values are and what it stands for, as well as what it can do for you.
It made complete sense then that the Sourcing & Innovations Director Niki Schilling was also a fully qualified Yoga teacher and one of the most zen people I’ve ever met. I only half joked that her team must be the most chilled team in the world. Its clear to see though, that her lifestyle goes hand in hand with her job. Her attitude (and indeed that of the companies) towards work and life is clearly that of the most perfect balance. Something that the brands CEO and founder Raymond Cloosterman also upholds.
We ran through some of the activities Niki does with her colleagues, and I thought I would share a few of them with you in the hope that it helps you towards the perfect work/life balance too.
- Meditation through breathing. This was the activity that had the biggest effect on me. Rituals have an app that you can download to talk you through a breathing ritual and I urge you to give it a try. The app is completely free and Ben and I have used the breathing meditation class numerous times since we’ve been back.
- Meditation through candlelight. Apparently this is a centuries old technique. If you’ve ever stared into a fire or at a candle for a while and felt really at ease, chances are you’ve already experienced meditation through candlelight. To do this, all you need is a candle and lighter/match. Sit up however you feel comfortable with the candle in front of you. Take three deep, calming breaths, then light the candle and pick it up in both hands looking into the flame. Sit looking into the flame for 10 minutes and whenever your mind drifts to other thoughts, bring them back to the flame and concentrate on what the flame is doing.
- Discovering your hearts desires through imagery. This is something I already do and is essentially moodboarding but in a slightly different way. The idea is to find out what your body and mind crave through imagery. The way to do this is to grab a magazine,that you know will contain imagery that you like, then give yourself just 30 seconds to a minute and pull out the three images that immediately stand out to you. You can then either sit down yourself or with someone that you trust and that knows you well to figure out why you pulled out those images and what your mind is telling you you crave from them.
For instance, the three images I pulled out were a plain blush pink shade that filled a page, a picture of Audrey Hepburn cradling a child and a picnic blanket with a basket on top filled with apples straight from an orchard. The way I interpreted it is that I have a strong affiliation with my home (Audrey cradling the baby) and feel very grounded (the apples) but always with an underlying sense of feminity and love (the pink paper).
- A Tea Ritual. I don’t know about you, but I personally have at least one cup of tea every day. A cup of tea to me evokes memories of cosiness, home and comfort from stressful situations. In typical British fashion, if the going gets tough, my first instinct is to offer up a cup of tea. The tea actually holds a lot more power than just a hug in a mug. Much like the Meditation through candlelight, the steam from a cup of tea can help you relax in a very similar way and creating a ritual through making your tea can evoke a sense of calmness to the start of your day by simply being aware of your actions. Breathe in the scent of the teabag, before placing it in the boiling water and take a moment to watch the clear liquid change colour, then breathe in the aromas again and try to notice how they’ve changed. Watch the steam rise and dance from the top of the mug and then take your first sip. If you take five minutes to do this as soon as you wake up in the morning, before you look at your phone, it should set you up for a much more relaxed day ahead!
- Taking time for Me-Time. It’s important once a day to take an hour for yourself. I know that’s almost impossible, but it’s so important for our health and wellbeing. It’s also important to know what counts as me-time. I previously thought slouching in front of the TV on the sofa was perfectly acceptable but it actually doesn’t leave us as relaxed as you would think and instead engages your mind more. Better activites are exercise, reading a book, painting, going for a walk or taking a bath etc. The only caveat to this is that for it to be me-time, you must be on your own away from big crowds.
I hope one of these little activities might help you relax a bit more and take some time for yourself. Let me know if you do try any of these and if it helps or of course if you’re already doing any of them!
If you want to see what else we got up to in Amsterdam, you can watch my vlogs below!