Ritual Spotlight

Make Your Bed

We’ve long believed that tiny tangible acts like making your bed each morning are sacred, so long as they’re infused with intention. The difference between a mundane chore and a meaningful gesture lies in the perspective of the doer. Who cares if your sheets lay forgotten from the time you kick them off until you return again? Future you will understand that present you had more important things to tend to than the fluffing of pillows and tucking of corners. 

And yet: “Make Your Bed And Change Your Life” was the title of Adm. William H. McRaven’s  2014 commencement speech at the University of Texas, as he smartly articulates the power of accumulated small habits. It’s what Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit,” calls a keystone behavior — something that kickstarts a pattern of other good behavior. Making your bed, a “success habit,” ignites a “chain reaction for other productive habits,” he writes.

What if making your bed was a ceremonious act of undoing and redoing? As we mindfully transform wrinkled disarray into a portrait of neat, smoothed-out structure, we embody the simple truth that how you do one thing is how you do everything. Simple rituals can inspire sacred experiences, so long as we’re willing to shift our perspective, which over time, can change your life. 

To consider:

  • We spend roughly 1/3 of our lives in bed
  • We chronically overestimate the time it takes to do small tasks. Challenge yourself to stay present for the 3-5 minutes it’ll take to make your bed.
  • When you return to your neatly made bed, recognize that it was prepared for you from you — an honest form of self-care.