Crafting a Relaxing Bedtime Routine
Creating a relaxing bedtime routine that set's you up for success for the following day is one of the key elements of creating a life that nourishes your body and mind. I often ask my clients if they have an evening routine in place, and I want to share the main defining factors of a relaxing evening routine. Read ahead to learn how to create an evening routine that is an ideal fit for you and that will help you be healthy in body, mind and spirit.
I explain this in a different way than I explain how to create a morning routine, and that is because I view mornings and evenings differently. I believe that evenings prepare us for "tomorrow", and that a day has essentially already begun the night before it starts. You don't have to agree with this view, but it might be interesting for you to hold this idea in your mind if you have not before. You might find that this view helps you have "better tomorrow's", or you might find that it does not resonate with you. Regardless of your view, the questions below will be very, very valuable and helpful in making your evenings better.
Identify: What Will You Avoid?
Create a list of what steals joy or brings anxiety. What are the thing for you? Checking your bank account, responding to emails, answering calls from a friend of family member (that you might absolutely adore) but you truly would prefer alone time? This list looks different for everyone. Identify what you wish to avoid in the evenings, and stick to it. Anything unpleasant can be done during the day (if at all possible.) Here's insight into my list of what I avoid in the evenings: mundane tasks like paying bills or estimating taxes, cleaning, responding to messages or emails, and having any kind of conversation that is serious or requires more emotional intensity. Of course things do not always go according to plan, but once the sun sets, I prefer to make myself unavailable to these things. By keeping evenings very "safe" for me (especially when I grew up not being able to rest, have alone time or be free from conflict in the evenings - which is a common childhood theme even in the lives of my clients!), I have actually increased my productivity and reduced any anxiety that threatens to hinder my contribution to the others.
Identify: What Will You Include?
This is the fun part: identifying what you will 100% include in your evenings. Do you like stretching, taking baths, reading a book, watching a funny TV show (with blue-light blockers, I hope!)? Identify at least three things that you love, and make a commitment to include them at night. My top 3 things include: a hot bath, warm tea, and taking a break fully from my phone to either watch Friends with my husband, or going to a quiet place to do some EFT (emotional freedom technique).
Identify: How Do You View Evenings?
The way you view evenings will impact the way you live your life, even if you are not consciously aware of this. By asking yourself how you view evenings, you might learn a lot about yourself. I can't answer this questions for you, but I can share how I view them: a time of stillness and peace that comes after a day of soul-satisfying (not always easy, but productive) work. I'll also share that I am 100% a night owl, so mornings might be something that you lean towards preferring. If that's the case, then early mornings might be the time of day that provides your soul with peace, rest and tranquility. Figure out what evenings mean to you, and aim to make them the best that they can be based upon your preferences, needs and desires.
Sample Bedtime Routine:
- Identify what you will put away: work, email, anything that could cause stress like bills and even discussion about work with spouse/partner/roommate or family.
- Identify what you will incorporate: make plans to enjoy some tea, run a hot bath, grab a book you love, and place your journal by your bedside so you can write down thoughts/dreams/goals before you fall asleep.
- End the day, allow your routine to prepare you for a great tomorrow. If you are not already a person who enjoys evenings, following these steps might be very beneficial for you! Identify what you what, need and desire, and make a plan to include it as a part of your evenings.