A Simple Ritual That’s Helping Our Family To Thrive Through Tough Times
Almost every weekend, and often on both weekend days these days, we visit our favourite beach. It’s become something of a ritual with all the same elements that the four of us love, and so we repeat it all every time …
- the longer-than-necessary drive to the beach
- the same things we like to look out for and spot from the car as we journey
- our beach sand and water play time
- and our stop off at the same coffee shop for the same crunchies to enjoy in the car on the unnecessarily long drive home.
Calming our nervous systems with repetition and predictability
At another time in our lives this repetition might have become boring, but amidst all the fear, loss, and uncertainty these days, we’re loving the predictability and reliability of this ritual. It’s not surprising… repetitive activities, a predictable agenda for the day, clear boundaries, and high levels of structure are all recommended strategies for calming and relaxing both child and adult nervous systems that have been impacted by grief and trauma. And doing something together that we all love doing means that we’re guaranteed a good time for all. Having fun together is bonding, and strengthening our relational bonds is healing and nourishing.
Fostering hope and wonder with a touch of surprise
There’s one thing in the ritual that adds an exciting element of surprise and wonder… “our” beach is dramatically transformed by weather changes. And it has its own little climate quite independent of the rest of Cape Town’s weather, so you never know what the weather and beach adventure will be like until you get there. Unlike so many of life’s uncontrollable situations, this element of surprise comes with zero anxiety because every weather and version of our beach is beautiful in its own way.
Addressing stress, grief, and trauma can be hard and serious work sometimes, but it doesn’t have to be that way all the time, and it also doesn’t have to always involve talking things through. In fact, recovery from stress, anxiety, depression, loss and trauma will likely go much better for you if predictable routines, play, moving your body, and being out in nature are regular elements in your life.
I’m so grateful for this little simple ritual thats sustaining us and topping us up. What family rituals are sustaining you through these tough times?
Beach Therapy paintings, inspired by our weekend beach ritual
I love creating landscapes and I’ve created many artworks inspired by Noordhoek beach, but my Beach Therapy collection was specifically influenced by the effects that our beach rituals had on me.
Our beach rituals always left me feeling calmer, braver, more alive, and more free. This comes through in the bolder colours, simpler compositions, more expressive lines, and bigger, looser brushstrokes that I used to create my Beach Therapy collection.
All of the Beach Therapy originals are sold, but if you’d like to bring a bit of Beach Therapy into your home, fine art prints are available for global shipping in a variety of surface and size options through Fine Art America.