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Support Development Associates LLC


The continued importance of ritual and routines


Michael Smull

March 2020

As I wrote decades ago, rituals and routines are important. They “ease us through our days”. They provide predictability and when they are ours, a feeling of control. Having rituals that I choose, that are followed, is also comforting. For all of us, our rituals have been severely disrupted. New restrictions on where we can go, what we can safely do, add to our anxiety. To cope, we cling to those rituals that remain and establish new rituals within our new reality. We seek ways to comfort ourselves and they are a part of self-care.


We need to apply this to those we are supporting and those who provide the support. A few questions that may help are:


  • What are the rituals and routines that are important to each person?

  • Can they be maintained in the new environment?

  • If yes, who needs to know and what do they need to do?

  • If no, what can we do to replace them?

  • Where “my” ritual conflicts with “yours” what is the best way resolve the conflict?

  • How can we make sure that each person providing the support knows?

  • Where and how can we adapt the new routines (reflecting the new restrictions) to reflect what matters to each person.

  • Where we have 1 page descriptions can we adapt them to reflect the new reality?

In these difficult and traumatic times, we need to do what we can to address quality of life. This is an important part of that effort.




3245 Harness Creek

Road Annapolis, MD 21403


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