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The 8 Daily Rituals I Haven’t Skipped Since Sheltering in Place

How I'm creating structure and comfort through rituals.
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It used to be that G and I seldom drank our coffee together. He'd have his in the kitchen and I'd drink mine while doing my makeup. But because we don't have to be anywhere, our mornings have become more leisurely. We take turns making coffee, but always drink it together—Sloan sips a "babyccino" (steamed milk that sometimes has chocolate in it), as we all sit at the counter together. 

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We've all seen those memes and articles going around that tell us: Just because you're home, doesn't mean you have to be wildly productive. More days than not, I find myself questioning (and berating myself for) how much I was able to get to. The last person out of bed is responsible for making it, and every time I pass the bedroom during the day, it calms me to know at least one thing has been handled

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One of the things that has been most helpful to me for getting through this time is connecting with my loved ones. While phone calls, texts, and emails certainly help, it's actually getting to see people’s faces that make me feel so much more connected. Most of my Facetime calls happen in the evening when Sloan is asleep and I have a cocktail in hand, but occasionally I'll multitask, and hop on a quick, three-minute Facetime in the middle of the day. In the past, I've reserved Facetimes for those times I have an hour to connect, but they've almost become the new phone call for me.

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Baths are something I don't always have time for in my day-to-day life, and while there aren't many things I prefer about quarantining to regular life, I've been trying to recognize and take advantage of the home indulgences I have more time for now, like long baths. Sometimes I take them in the morning after a workout; other times, Sloan and I take one together in the evening. Either way, it's one of the things I look forward to most each day. 

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Sloan's nighttime routine has looked more or less the same since she was a few weeks old. We give her a bath, get her into her jammies, read her a couple of books, and sing. Recently though, we've added a portion between the bath and books. After she's brushed her teeth, we'll play Barbies. I used to leave pretend play to Sloan's friends, but because she has no interaction with kids IRL these days, G and I have been happy to switch-off playing Barbies with her each night. 

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It’s not to say I never drank during the week prior to this, but it certainly was not an every night thing. While I've skipped nights here or there, having a nighttime drink is one of the things I look forward to most. It's even turned into a joke with my friends—we'll start asking what we're drinking around 3 P.M., as a countdown, and use the opportunity to discover new cocktail recipes. 

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Whoever is first downstairs with Sloan is the one who gets control over the speaker that morning. You can aways tell who's first down because Sloan and I will listen to Taylor Swift and country music, while G will put on '80s rock ballads. Either way, it really sets the tone for the day. And now that I've created a work space for myself in the guest room, I've started listening to movie scores through my headphones. At night, I put on music again but I'm careful to pay attention to how I'm feeling. When I feel sad, I put on Cowboy Junkies or John Prine (RIP), but when I'm in a good mood I put on Paul Simon.  

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As someone who worked from home for years of her life, I'm no stranger to how important it is to create a clear delineation between your working hours and time off. One of the simplest ways I've been doing that each evening is by lighting a candle. It's not to say I don't sometimes have them burning during the day (in fact, this candle is one of the things I've been enjoying most on cold, rainy days), but it really helps to set the tone that "Now is the time for relaxation." The work day is done. There are so many decisions I make throughout the work day, but "Which candle should I light tonight?" is one I always look forward to. Like selecting music, I choose a scent that speaks to me in that moment, whether fresh and vibrant or cozy and masculine

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