HESE McMaster
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HESE McMaster

Practicing Mindfulness with Holly Reid

About Holly

Holly is an occupational therapist (OT) and lives on Vancouver Island, BC. They completed a degree in Kinesiology at the University of Victoria and finished their Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy at the University of British Columbia. They are currently working on their PhD which focuses on healthcare and individual identity. Over the course of the semester, we were able to learn a lot about Holly’s lifestyle. Holly is a pretty active individual and they prioritize time to exercise, meditate and practise morning yoga. They also juggle a busy lifestyle with work and daily meetings.

Holly’s Needs

In our conversations with Holly, they mentioned that they would like to make time for self-reflection and mindfulness. This was a simple request, but it was challenging to think of a ritual that Holly could complete without taking too much time from their already busy schedule. Holly also mentioned that they read right before bedtime because they don’t have too much time to read during the day. The material that Holly reads before bed is also heavy and PhD focused, requiring lots of mental focus. Since Holly reads right before bed, it is difficult for them to absorb the material since they are cognitively drained by the end of the day.

Designing a Ritual

To satisfy Holly’s need for more mindfulness and to provide more structure for their reading time, we decided to introduce two new rituals to Holly’s routine. The first ritual we introduced was a 5-minute journal. We had Holly journal for 5 minutes as soon as they woke up and right before they went to bed. The purpose of this journal was for Holly to take time to reflect on their life goals and to jot down any positive or even stressful thoughts. We wanted Holly to compare their thoughts from the morning to the journalling they did in the evening. The idea was to see how Holly’s thoughts changed throughout the day and to see if a pattern was visible.

The second ritual we introduced was a designated reading time. Holly mentioned that they struggled to retain information from their reading when they read right before bed. So, we decided to move their reading time to an earlier time in the day. More specifically, we had Holly read right before they went to the gym. Holly mentioned that they go to the gym fairly regularly and that working out was a good way to reflect on their life and other thoughts. So we thought it would be interesting to see if Holly better retains the information from their books if they go to the gym right after reading. Based on our conversation, Holly really enjoyed the rituals we designed for them and mentioned that they felt much more energized and relaxed after doing the rituals. Holly also mentioned that the rituals were very manageable and did not take away any time from their busy lifestyle.


Overall, this project was a lot of fun and a very enlightening experience. It was nice to get to know another person well enough to design a ritual for them. We really appreciated Holly and their willingness to be vulnerable with us. We were also able to practice some design abilities through the course of this project. Personally, I (Rabbea) felt like I excelled at the “finding and using resources” design ability. Through the course of this project, I found myself researching a lot and using all of the resources I could to design a great ritual. I read papers from Stanford Design School and used the resources Dr. Park provided to excel in this project. I also created a slideshow presentation to showcase the ritual to Holly and I think it was a great resource for them to refer back to as they got used to their new ritual. In the future, I would like to work on the “reframing” design ability. I think it would be very beneficial to practice using more metaphors and thinking about “how the opposite might be true” in order to explore more rituals. Reframing also helps communicate ideas better and uncovers things that one may not have thought of.

Holly’s Testimony

Again, this project was a wonderful experience. Below is the testimony from our partner, Holly Reid!

“Heading into this process I was curious how being on the receiving end of an individualized plan would feel, since I am typically the one working with patients and clients to help them. I met with Rabbea and Om for an initial meeting and was really encouraged after the first conversation. Not only did they do a great job guiding the interview, they really listened to my stories and experiences, and translated that into a personalized plan that would help me with my goals. By making small, simple changes to my daily routine such as journaling in the morning and evening, as well as taking a mid-day break, I was able to become more productive and less stressed. However, perhaps most importantly, I gained insight into how my energy levels and mood are directly influenced by these rituals. For example, when I adhere to the rituals that Rabbea and Om designed for me, I feel more energetically balanced throughout the day. I seem to be able to regulate my mood better as well, especially when I can write down my thoughts, feelings and reflections by journaling. I appreciate being involved in this project and am grateful for the lessons I learned along the way.” — Holly Reid

Additional Resources

Link to Mural: https://app.mural.co/t/mcmasterhese8289/m/mcmasterhese8289/1612364493613/fa306b61123519c2c64ab7e89493a4114d96c313?sender=u8962fe2abfe803ea74918160

The Mural serves as evidence of our research for this project.



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