Rituals are one of the most powerful ways to manage stress these days. In these overstimulating, hurried times, activities that feed our souls and quiet our minds are essential to our wellbeing. Rituals allow us to connect to the present moment: to relax, heal our bodies, and reach our highest potential. For me, rituals are an imperative part of leading a balanced and healthy life. Activities like cooking, practicing yoga, hiking, taking baths, and making tea bring me back in touch with the inherent peaceful essence of life. Rituals remind us that the simple things are truly the most important, and when we slow down enough to savor the moment, magical things come to life.
THE POWER OF RITUAL
B | I make challah almost every Friday. I have for over ten years; which means I have made over 1,000 challahs. I have made challah on the east coast and the west coast, while working and having babies and raising those babies; while trying to keep at least three goldfish alive – alas, unsuccessfully, I must add, for those poor goldfish.
I made challah while mourning the loss of both my father-in-law and then a year later, my own father. I made challah while working as a busy physician at one of the world’s top hospitals and while working as a stay-at-home mom. I make challah alone and sometimes with other women, some of who are my dearest friends and some I hadn’t even met until our hands are deep in a bowl of flour.
Why? It’s simple, really: because countless demands on my time and energy overwhelmed me, literally and figuratively. Because as a physician I know all too well that stress like this makes us sick – not just theoretically sick, but actually sick. Because through this repetitive weekly action – through this ritual – I learned a simple way to manage my stress: I learned that I could stop and breathe while I cracked eggs and measured flour. I could stop and make something with my own hands, and in the process, I could reconnect with myself and with other women. I found, the beauty of the ritual, forced me to be present.
So let me ask you; “what is your ritual”? It doesn’t matter what you choose; maybe it’s baking, gardening, or knitting? What matters is that you do choose something. Something that gets you out of your head, that forces you to stop. To be present. To use your hands. To be accountable to the task. C’mon, what are you waiting for? Pick something and try it!
DAHL HOUSE GLUTEN FREE CHALLAH
2 cups blanched almond flour
2 tbsp coconut flour
¼ cup golden flax meal
½ tsp himalayan sea salt
½ tsp baking soda
2 tbsp maple sugar
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp raw honey
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Coconut oil (to grease pan)
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease challah mold pan (or other bread pan) with coconut oil.
Pulse dry ingredients in food processor until combined.
Add remaining ingredients and mix until fully combined.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Cool in the pan, then turn out onto a rack and let cool.
Makes 3 Challahs.
Dr. Beth Ricanati has built her career around bringing wellness into everyday life, especially for busy moms juggling life and children. Trained and worked at Columbia Presbyterian and then at the Cleveland Clinic, both in the Women’s Health Center and in the Wellness Institute at the founding medical director for Lifestyle180, a lifestyle modification program to treat chronic diseases with nutrition, exercise & stress management.