Rituals Before Slumber
Long days and short nights, the cyclical affair we have with modern dream chasing leaves little to no time for unwinding, rejuvenation, respite and complete rest. We live our lives in constant preparation of our ‘outward’ selves, performing daily rituals that signal our entrance into society and indeed our own identities. We often find ourselves asking: how must I present myself today? Am I appropriately dressed? Does my sartorial self communicate who I need to be in this meeting? Yet the obverse is rarely addressed. How should we unearth calm after being inundated in the daily buzz of modern living? How do we undress the self, so to speak?
As the day turns into night, greater attention should be paid to the transition between outward and inward. Rituals and practices can action a sensorial and cognitive transition, enabling a compulsion to reflect, relax, wipe the slate clean, to attend to the parts of us that are most naked and vulnerable, soft and precious.
Preparation for rest allows for the best kind of rest. It incites a feeling of ceremony, marking the end of the day and celebrating the entrance into a different mode of being. But how to enjoy idleness rather than see it simply as a necessity? What rituals can we practice in order to shift our relationship with rest?
Essay & Images Edana Isobel Jamora
“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
John Lubbock, The Use Of Life
Sip slow. Some things, like drinking tea, are not meant to be rushed. Enjoying a cup or pot of a non-caffeinated infusion tells us to slow down. I recommend any blend with chamomile or lavender, however any caffeine-free infusion, warm and cosy, is best served generously.
On days when I am low on pre-blended teas I infuse any available herb at home. I grow lemongrass, spearmint, oregano and chamomile bushes in my urban garden. If you are able to have a small patch of dirt, growing your infusions allows you to have them steeped fresh or ready for drying.
Currently Drinking: Fresh leaves of spearmint or oregano from the garden.
Clear the air and ignite the senses. Refresh with an air purifier and revitalising aromas. An aromatic room spray is essential for an instant refresher but for long lasting sensory delight, I recommend diffusing essential oils such as sage leaf, cedarwood and mint.
Current Purifier: Himalayan Pink Rock Salt Lamp. The warmth of low light releases negative ions to aid in renewing the stale air in our homes. Negative ions are normally found in mountains, beaches and waterfalls, giving those areas an unmatched sense of freshness.
Currently Diffusing: Aesop Catherine Oil Burner Blend- Orange Rind, Cedar Atlas & Clove Bud. Reminiscent of deep green forests and winter evenings. Invigorating and warm. Particularly great after meal preparations and the wafting smells of dinner’s remains.
Some things, like drinking tea,
are not meant to be rushed."
There is something cleansing about skincare. The physical motions of washing the day off, ridding our faces of our daily mask and washing away the residue of the damaging outdoor environments our skin is frequently exposed to. There is nothing more nourishing than feeding your skin its necessary nutrients.
Attend to your skin. Pay attention to the changes of your skin’s temperament, the climate you are in and the bodily factors that may affect your outer layers. Being our body’s largest organ, our skin is our body’s coat, which protects us from our environments. Special care is needed in order to maintain its optimum state. Caring for ourselves allows us to pay attention to our unique and ever-changing needs and equips us with a better understanding of our mental and physical state of being.
Cleanse: Tatcha, Deep Polish Rice Enzyme
Tone: Aesop, Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Toner
Serum: Aesop, Lucent Facial Concentrate
Hydrate: Aesop, Primrose Facial Hydrating Cream & Aesop Fabulous Face Oil
Eyes: Aesop, Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Eye Cream
Lip: The Beauty Chef, Beauty Fix Balm
Exfoliation: Primera, Facial Intesive Peeling with Brocolli Sprout
Extra Moisture: Sheet Mask, I use just about any sheet mask from Korean skincare brands.
Facial massage with oils: Lyanature, Oil Plus Camellia & Red Ginseng
There is often a focus on skincare being only for the face, however the rest of our body is also subject to the rigours of our harsh daily environments.
Dry body brushing or using a body scrub stimulates and awakens the skin. Prickles and brush strokes reinvigorate the senses and scrub dirt and grime from our outermost surface. Frequent exfoliation also allows our skin to accept moisture. It assists in skin regeneration and enables us to feel refreshed and supple. In addition, I recommend a post bathe body oil and hydrating balm to massage and replenish the skin with added moisture.
Dry Body Brush: Organic Pharmacy, Skin Brush
Body Scrub: Aesop, Redemption Body Scrub
Body Oil: Aesop, Breathless
Body Balm: Aesop, Resolute Hydrating Body Balm
Envelop yourself. There is so much sensory delight in things that we feel, tactile and true. When and if you can, fresh sheets and natural fibres. Slinky silk against smooth skin complement the breathable lightness of linen. I often opt for linen sheets and silk pillow cases alongside comfortable sleepwear.
Currently dressed: Agent Provocateur, Silk Pyjama Pants & Cultiver Linen Marais Robe in Turkish Cotton
Currently sheeted: Cultiver Linen Bed Sheets & Sheridan Silk Pillow Case Covers
Love your limbs. Our days are spent mostly in stagnant poses and forms. Release the tension of the day with simple stretches to bring strength and flexibility back to our joints and limbs. Movement and limber forms aren’t reserved for the youth; rather, they are the outcome of daily consideration and practice.
Special care and attention should be drawn to the neck and shoulder region, particularly for weary office workers and urban individuals frequently on electronic devices.
Current Stretch: Shoulder Flexion & Shoulder Overhead.
Meetings. Meal prep. Emails. Laundry day. Family dinner. Yoga session. Drink vitamins. Call grandparents. Water the garden. Shopping list. Pay bills. Eat healthy. Sleep early. Make time for friends. Read more books. Pick up dry cleaning. Wash delicates separately. Spend more time in nature. Be active.
The list never ends. The mind is always racing, in constant motion, filled with thoughts, ideas and endless to-dos. Check in with your head. Ask it how it’s going. Our brains never rest so the least we can do is enquire how it’s tracking along. Signal rest and prepare the mind for sleep. This can be done by listening to music that lulls you to a restful place or by practicing mindfulness. Paying special attention to our minds is important to ensure that our thoughts are just as nourished and cared for as our bodies.
Currently Practicing: Headspace, Mindfulness and Meditation App
Currently Listening: Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions
“The great benefit of slowing down is reclaiming the time and tranquility to make meaningful connections--with people, with culture, with work, with nature, with our own bodies and minds.”
Carl Honoré, In Praise of Slowness: Challenging the Cult of Speed