It's New Year's eve and we're all ready to put the shit show that was 2017 to bed. But what lies ahead? Is 2018 just a fresh hell awaiting? Many signs say yes, considering all the baggage - personal, political, environmental (we could go on) - we're forced to take with us into the year of the dog.
Yup, things are very turbulent, scary, loud, and uncertain. We make ground just to lose it. And even when so many of us are ready for the fight, we know we're walking into a long fray already tired.
We don't have a solution. We're exhausted, too. But we do know a thing or two about cleansing rituals; little opportunities to shake off a rough hour, day or year - things that have come in handy before, and will likely get hella mileage in 2018 as well. This coming year, commit to melon-scooping some time out for yourself with a cleansing ritual every so often. Here's our guide to the best of the best. Mystic mumbo jumbo is optional, personal growth is not.
A full-blow 60-minute skincare routine
Best saved for Sundays, having an indulgent hour to spend on your skin works wonders for your face and soul, giving you the space to slow down and have the type of 'eureka' subconscious thought usually reserved for those few precious moments in the shower.
Cleanse skin fully with regular cleanser if wearing makeup, otherwise just splash your face with lukewarm water. Apply a clay mask like Lush's Rosy Cheeks. Allow to sit for 20min while you do some stretching to your favourite chill-out playlist. Wash off with warm water. Apply a moisturising mask like Glossier's Moisturising Moon Mask. Allow to sit for 20min while you lie on the floor with your legs up the wall in Viparita Karani. Wash off with warm water. Spray your face with rosewater. Next, gently massage your regular serum into your face with small, circular movements. Then, squeeze a generous amount of moisturiser onto your fingers, and apply all over face and neck with upward movements. Finish off by blowing your fresh faced self a kiss in the mirror.
get sweaty with a meditative yoga class
Hot yoga, despite what a lot of yogis will tell you, does nothing to 'detoxify' your body. But there is something to a soaking sweat that gives the impression that you're leaving one state and entering another - leaving the past behind. And when we're dealing with rituals - that is, sacred habits - we are creating meaning for ourselves where perhaps there wasn't any before. So it's okay to think of a yoga class as 'cleansing' even if there's no actual cleaning involved. The magic happens on a metaphorical level. Give an hour or more some reverence with a strong yoga practice, followed by a shower with yum-smelling body treats like Lush's Twilight Shower Gel.
read your cards
Tarot cards can be used with or without divination. If you're a Hermoine Granger-type and can't be bothered with reading the future, you can still absolutely get so much from a tarot stack. Use the cards and their meanings to tap into feelings and thoughts you're having but are struggling to put into words. Do this in order to get better insight into a problem, or in the case of a cleansing ritual, as a jumping-point from which to start anew.
(Whether you're interested in their divine power or not, beginners to the tarot will benefit with input from Biddy Tarot, and this modern tarot guide from Danielle Noel (full disclosure - Noel's book is published by Ebury Publishing, where our editor works). Sounds appealing? You might want to invest in a deck. Pictured are the Rider-Waite cards, but you can also get jazzier decks like this cutie from artist, Holly Simple.)
When you're ready to get your tarot on, clear some space in a clean corner of your favourite room. Light some ethically-sourced incense, burn some home-made dried sage, or otherwise work to create an atmosphere of importance. Shuffle your deck thoroughly through conventional methods. 'Ask' your deck a question. Something like 'What do I need to keep in mind to have a successful week ahead?' Pull out three cards from the top of the deck and put them face down in front of you. Turn the cards over one at a time, looking up each card's meaning, and seeing where it resonates with you.
take your time in a bubble bath
Our favourite thing to do by a landslide. Light up a billion unscented candles (because they cost less, and also - headaches), pour a warm bath with bubbles and oils, play a calm playlist, and give yourself a soft arm and leg massage with your best, sleepiest shower gel. Cue a massive bliss-out, and the ultimate and oldest cleansing ritual.