Dinacharya (dee-na-char-ia) is a Sanskrit term for “daily routine” or as I like to think about it “daily ritual.” Dinacharya is a set of ritualized actions (actions that we complete in a mindful or ritualized manner) that support your wellbeing.
Even if you’ve never heard this term, you definitely already have a Dinacharya routine. Brushing your teeth, walking your dog, eating breakfast, these are all examples of repeated and possibly ritualized actions (if you’re doing them while paying attention to the fact that you are doing them!) that you perform day in and day out to support your self-care.
One of the beautiful aspects of Chinese Medicine (and Ayurvedic Medicine, where the practice of Dinacharya originates from) is that these self-care actions shift somewhat seasonally.
In Chinese Medicine, the instruction for winter is to “go to bed early and rise late” (um, YES PLEASE! Sign me up for more sleep!). I’ve been noticing that I’m sleeping past my alarm (which I usually don’t need). And I’ve been allowing myself to stay cozy in bed longer during these dark, short days when rest is essential.
As we approach the end of the year, and the middle of wintertime, this is a great moment to pause and to take stock of how you want to adapt your self-care for this slowest season of the year (which, ironically, is often breakneck speed if you celebrate the end-of-year holidays).
Chances are you won’t ever complete your Dinacharya self-care list (or your regular-life checklist!, there will always be more to experience and to do) but take a moment to ask yourself what’s really essential. Maybe it’s more sleep, time to journal, meditation, or just mindful moments with your beloved animal (or human) companion.
Make the time for these actions and approach them as rituals. Rather than rushing through brushing your teeth, really take that two minutes as time to notice how you’re feeling and notice what you notice rather than missing the moment.
If you’re feeling heightened sensations of anxiety or overwhelm this winter and holiday season, acupuncture offers you an amazing time to pause. To listen to yourself and your experience and to connect with how you feel. If you would like to learn more, or to schedule, please reach out.