6 Daily Rituals to Help You Feel Less Stressed Right Now
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6 Daily Rituals to Help You Feel Less Stressed Right Now

This content was created by Girlboss in partnership with Ritual.

Juggling endless deadlines, navigating relationship stuff, freaking out about the general state of the world: You don’t need us to tell you all the reasons you might be stressed.

What you might not know, however, is that the solution to your stress doesn’t have to be some big, dramatic “quit your life and move to Costa Rica to live off grid and surf all day” cure.

In fact, the cure—or at least, the coping mechanism—for the stress we all experience can often be found in small, daily rituals that eventually become habits.

When it comes to stress management and navigating our very full lives, the little things done well actually aren’t that little after all,” says Dr. Robyne Hanley-Dafoe, a psychology researcher and author of Stress Wisely, a book about how you can make stress your ally, not your enemy. “It’s the daily wins and decisions that we make that bring us closer to how we want to be feeling that make a world of difference for our well-being—that consistency compounds.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by Dr. Dianne Mani, a psychologist and senior clinical director at Octave therapy who specializes in treating stress and anxiety. “Little rituals are the building blocks of stress management,” she says, adding that she often works with clients to build their own custom “self-care buffet,” composed of these little rituals, plus bigger self-care activities that take a few hours like going for a workout class or reading, or even a few days, like spending a day with a loved one or going on a wellness retreat.

“The most important aspect of a reliable stress management ritual is creating one that is doable for you and your life. A ritual won’t do you any good if you don’t have the time or energy to actually do it,” she adds.

Need some small ritual inspo? Here are a few expert-approved ideas that’ll have you breathing deeper, feeling lighter, more zen—and none of them require a longboard and a plane ticket.

Pay yourself first

You might be used to hearing this as a personal finance principle, but Dr. Hanley-Dafoe says it's also sound advice when it comes to how you start your day, too. “Build a system that allows you to tend to your body, head and heart before opening yourself up to the demands of work,” she says. “For example, movement outdoors, listening to a podcast and engaging in a gratitude prayer or reflection practice.” 

Try the “5,4,3,2,1” method 

Running late and stuck in traffic? Gearing up for a high-stakes call? This little ritual is great for when stress hits on the go. “One of my favorite stress management rituals is engaging your senses, or the ‘54321’ method,” says Dr. Mani of the exercise that involves identifying five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. “It helps refocus your mind and create a sense of calm in an otherwise stressful moment.”

A clear bottle of the Ritual Stress Relief supplements with capsules that have three balls in them. The background is bright yellow.

Take a daily stress-relief supplement 

When our bodies get stressed, it sends our nervous system into overdrive, triggering hormonal and physiological responses that can make you feel out of balance. A daily supplement—like Ritual’s new Stress Relief formula—can be a great little ritual to support your physical self manage stress. 

It’s created with clinically-studied ingredients: Suntheanine® L-Theanine delivers quick stress relief with the hour; Shoden® Ashwagandha helps relieve stress and support normal cortisol levels; and Saffron as affron® comes through with a non-drowsy sense of calm and positive mood—all powered by BioSeries™ technology that optimizes the release of these ingredients over eight hours, ensuring that stress-relief lasts throughout your day.*

Another stress reliever? Ritual is a mom-founded certified B-Corp, meaning they’re held accountable for how their business impacts people and the planet. They’re leading the way in transparency in the supplement industry, courtesy of their Made Traceable mission. They have the first visible supply chain of its kind, showcasing where they source their ingredients, why they’re in the formula anyway and how the finished products are verified to ensure they contain what the label claims they do.

Practice “birthday cake breathing”

Whether you’re waiting for your coffee to brew or you just need a minute before you wade into your overflowing inbox, Dr. Hanley-Dafoe says it’s always a good time to practice some “birthday cake” breathing. “The breath is a built-in mechanism the body has to support emotion regulation,” she says. “In your mind, call up an image of your favorite cake with lots of candles. Take a deep breath in and blow out every last candle slowly.”

Schedule your me time

One of the most common things Dr. Mani hears from stressed out clients is that they simply don’t have the time for self-care. If that sounds like you, she recommends scheduling your little rituals into your calendar, just like you would any other important activity. “Dedicated time for you doesn’t have to be a huge task. You can schedule one hour once a week. Or you can schedule small breaks in your day, like a 10-minute walk or stretch,” she says. “You can even make future plans so that you have something to look forward to, such as a lunch with a friend. Having something to look forward to can help minimize stress and give you perspective that stress is not forever.”

“Cleanse and release” at the end of your day

 “As you prepare for restorative sleep, take a few moments to reflect on the day and identify any thoughts or emotions that may be weighing you down or no longer serving you positively,” says Dr. Hanley-Dafoe. “Acknowledge these thoughts and feelings without judgment, and intentionally release them either verbally or in writing.”

And by the way, she adds? “The last little takeaway I’d love to leave folks with is that our wellness is not as far away as we think it is. You are one right choice away from starting to feel better today,” she says. “You can choose to trust the process and keep doing the small behaviors, practices, and rituals that you know work and will get you the best return on your investment so you can continue to show up no matter what comes your way.”

Ready to experience a sigh of relief that keeps on going? Try out Ritual’s Stress Relief supplements and get 25% off your first month with code GIRLBOSS25!

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Dr. Dianne Mani and Dr. Robyn Hanley-Dafoe do not endorse or financially benefit from our partnership with Ritual. Please talk to your doctor or a trusted medical professional to figure out which supplement options are best for you.