A solid rituals practice can withstand a shakeup when circumstances, like an unseasonable heatwave, demand. Here’s how I’m switching up my routine to make sure that Ollie and I get a good walk in before it gets too hot, without sacrificing my morning rituals.

Too hot

As I write this, we’re due to get a ripper of a thunderstorm. Poor Ollie; he absolutely hates them, but I can’t wait for it to cool off a bit. We’ve had a bonafide heatwave. In June. I do not approve.

Having looked at the weather report last week, I realized that our typical afternoon mind clearer of a long walk after a block of meetings would not really work for me, and especially not for Ollie, who, despite being a Southern gentleman in his life before me, wilts in the heat and will not abide any paw protection.

We both need to walk, and morning was really the only time to do it without misery. This posed challenges to my morning rituals, as I’ve built it around a shorter “business run” for Ollie in the morning, and our real exercise in the afternoon.

Cold brew coffee to beat the heat
It's been a cold brew kind of week

How to keep the rituals going

Part of creating rituals that stick is being gentle with yourself, which includes flexibility. When you have your practice down, you can move things around when necessary.

I think I’ve mentioned that I’m not actually a morning person. Quite the opposite really—by nature, I’d be an excellent vampire, less whole drinking blood thing. My morning rituals have grown in duration to a little more than two hours total time since late last summer, and most days stretch into three and change, because, like my man Theodore Rothke, I take my waking slow.

Busy morning, followed by nothing

Today I had a block of meetings from 8:00 until 1:00 and needed to prep for the first one, so my alarm was already going off at 5 (I do hit the snooze button once or twice to orient myself to wakefulness—not a morning person). Meetings starting at 9:30 could have accommodated the walk and my regular routine, but not 8:00. We’ve walked in the mornings since Friday to avoid the heat of the day, but today would require something different.

So, I decided to move doing nothing to later on in the day and to write after my walk, which, while not ideal, would still work (doing nothing after five and a half hours of meetings honestly proved kind of nice). I kept to a more rigorous schedule with my other activities, limiting the dawdling.

Roses and Daisies
Roses and daisies, early in the morning

A lovely morning walk

I had forgotten how lovely a very early morning walk can be, as I hadn’t taken one since last summer. With so few people around here, the streets were practically silent, even Mass Ave., except for a favorite neighbor and a few other dog walkers (we always do the do si do to avoid having our pups run into trouble, a custom in this neighborhood that I appreciate, as Ollie struggles a bit with his manners while on leash). While Ollie normally naps through most of the morning, after his initial energy burst, he, too, had an extra spring in his step, perhaps sensing that we’d picked the prime walking time.

Roses on a walk
Early morning flowers

Rituals kept

Back home, a bit sweaty, but nothing compared to what we would have been had we stuck with our regular time, I settled into writing, and managed to make my bed before I had to begin my workday. Doing nothing felt wonderful after so many meetings, and I got some cleaning done to get moving to try and wake myself up in the afternoon.

wine and salty snacks, including smoked trout rillettes
Smoked Trout Rillettes, wine, and salty snacks. I was good about "cooking" for a few days, but sometimes, we must have ice cream for dinner

Sometimes, though, we must have ice cream for dinner

Alas, that was less successful, as I’m still a bit droopy and will be having ice cream for dinner whilst watching the Mandalorian (I’ve been valiant. I had Smoked Trout Rillettes and salty snacks on Sunday, and I actually cooked last night. I even had a half-batch of Spiced Blueberry Sorbet to make over the weekend. But at some point, a gal’s gotta indulge in some heatwave laziness).

Still, given how hot it was (air conditioning only works so well with an apartment filled with west-facing windows on days above 90), I am going to call my ritual shakeup a success and a model to follow on days when the mercury soars and my meetings start early.

What about you? How do you maintain your rituals and a need to be flexible?