After last week’s post on how to create a simple morning routine, you may have given some thought to how you start your day with more energy and positivity.
A morning routine is a very effective way to help you check in, prioritize what’s important and have control of how you choose to move through your day with awareness and intention rather than autopilot and reactive.
It occured to me the other day while teaching and explaining the benefits of creating a morning and evening routine, that the evening routine often takes second place or is overlooked.
What if we turned this around?
How you finish the night before will have a significant impact on how you feel in the morning. Instead of thinking of two healthy routines separately, use one to support the other.
Here are three reasons why it’s worth paying attention to how you close your day:
- It’ll set you up for a calmer and more restful, relaxing night.
- You’ll be well prepared for a positive and productive start to the following morning.
- It’ll help you approach your morning routine with more ease.
Take time at the end of the day to unwind, relax and sleep.
Sleep has a rhythm and is one of the key aspects of a healthy life.
Sleep is one of our 7 most basic self-care needs that also includes nourishing food, fresh air, sunlight, clean water, regular exercise and relaxation. Considering we spend almost a third of our lives asleep, it’s worth paying attention to.
In fact, sleep is your major rhythm and if you get that right, often other rhythms fall into place. However, a deep, restorative night’s sleep can be elusive to so many.
How many times have you felt ready for bed, your body’s tired but as soon as your head touches the pillow, your mind’s racing with unsolved problems, tasks you didn’t finish or to-do’s you haven’t started, past or imaginary future conversations vying for attention? And then the sheer frustration that you ‘should’ be able to switch off.
Adequate sleep is essential but the quality of sleep is more important. Become aware and intentional of where you place your energy to optimize your evening self-care.
How do you create an evening routine that supports relaxation and a good night’s sleep?
As with any healthy new habit, start small. Choose one or more practices that appeal then experiment and commit.
Here are some ideas that may inspire you to create a simple, effective evening routine for relaxation:
Disconnect from Work
Decide on a time when you’re going to step away from the computer or your phone. This is a big one especially if you work from home, bring your work home or work with international clients in different time zones. Setting healthy boundaries is one of the most important self-care practices you can establish. Trust that you’ve done enough and you’ll be there tomorrow.
Prepare for Tomorrow
Write down your top 3-6 (not 100!) To-Do’s for the next day so that it’s on paper and out of your head. This will put your mind at ease.
Highlight the most important To Do and commit to doing that first the next day. Not only is this efficient, you’ll avoid procrastination but you’ll be fresh and alert to tackle the task. Plus you’ll have a sense of achievement once you’ve accomplished the task and got it out of the way.
Eat Light and Stay Hydrated
Finish eating two hours before you sleep and try not to eat anything heavy. The easier your food is to digest, the less time your body will need and the more time it will have to relax and restore.
Be mindful of alcohol or avoid it altogether. You may feel it relaxes you but it interferes with your sleep rhythm and prevents you from receiving the deep, restorative sleep you need. Try to make sure there are at least 2 hours between your last drink and bedtime.
Stay hydrated. Drink a night-time tea or a warm organic milk drink in your favourite mug. Savour the taste and feel the warmth beneath your cupped hands.
Take time to tidy – a clean kitchen and office space will help to start the day fresh and lift your mood.
Step away from all electronics 1 hour before you sleep. The blue light from electronics triggers the brain and interferes with the production of the restful sleep hormone melatonin.
Restorative Yoga Practice
Consider a short gentle restorative yoga practice. A few simple stretches or simply lie on the floor with your legs up against the wall, perhaps with a cushion or bolster under sacrum. Allowing the legs to be higher than the heart for 3-10 mins and the blood to flow back towards your vital organs can feel so good.
Have a warm bath with epsom salts (Bittersalz in Switzerland) and/or essential oils. A few drops of lavender can be very soothing with epsom salts. Turn the lights off, lights some candles and relax for at least 20 mins.
Massage your feet with coconut oil and wear your softest, fluffiest socks. In winter, try warm sesame oil.
Take time to tune in. Bring your attention to your breath. How are you feeling? How is this showing up in your body? What can you let go of? Or follow a guided meditation to relax the body and mind.
Reflect on 3 things that you’re grateful for today. They can be as simple or as significant as you like. If you’re curious to dig a little deeper, ask yourself and answer the question: Why did this happen? It’s a lovely way to finish the day on a positive note, no matter how challenging the day may have been.
Read a Book
Ideally fiction or choose an inspiring writer you admire. Try to avoid a ‘How To …’ books as this could stimulate your brain to problem solve again.
Try to turn the lights out between 10.00-11.00pm for an optimum night’s sleep.
Experiment, commit, enjoy and savour this self-care time!
Which of these suggestions appeal to you?
If you’re interested in delving deeper into any of these practices and would like more guidance, let me know and I’d be happy to share.
What works for you? If you already have an evening routine, what practices help you finish your day in a relaxing way. I’d love to hear!