When life is hectic and busy, the best thing to do is drop anything that doesn’t serve you and give yourself space to breathe. Perhaps you have felt suffocated lately – partly due to anxiety, among other reasons. When at home relaxing, the instinct is to turn on the TV or computer and stare into a screen for the night. But it may not have the re-energizing effect you seek.
Screens Drain Your Energy
Instead of squeezing in that last episode on Netflix, consider turning off screens early. For example, if you need to be in bed by 9:30 pm, allow for 30 -45 minutes minimum of “me-time”. The idea is to spend at least a half hour before bed without screen exposure to check in with yourself. You may ask yourself these questions: How was my day? How do I feel? How do I need to nourish myself? How can I tackle tomorrow?
It’s so important ask these questions because the stresses of the day can cause you to get caught up and forget to check in with your body and mind. To calm down from these stresses, and to ground yourself, follow a self-care routine that changes depending on how you are feeling.
Nightly Self Care Routine
This is an example of what an ideal night may look like. Feel free to adjust the times based on your unique work schedule as needed.
8:00 pm: TV for an Hour
TV is a great source of entertainment, but be cognizant of how long you spend binge watching your favorite show. That’s why it’s important to limit TV exposure to 1 or 2 hours a night.
9:00 pm: Turn off ALL Screens and Start a Self Care Activity to Wind Down
Once the last Netflix episode is done, turn off all screens. The TV goes off, the iPad is tucked away, and the phone goes somewhere you won’t be tempted to use it. Beware using your cell phone as an alarm clock because you’ll find yourself mindlessly surfing social media right before bed, and first thing when you get up. Break that habit.
Then choose a self-care activity that would be beneficial to creative a restful and reflective mindset.
Some Self Care Routine Options
Restorative yin yoga: Run through a few poses for grounding, stress relief or relaxation.
Take a bath: If you have a bath tub, use it! Grab some epsom salts, which are high in magnesium and amazing for sore muscles and overall relaxation. Add some essential oils like lavender or eucalyptus. Turn off the lights, turn on a salt lamp or candles, and just enjoy the silence.
Meditate: Some people can meditate without the use of meditation apps, but if your mind wanders a little too much, use the apps Calm, Headspace, and Omvana. They all have free options, and if you find one you like, you can pay to unlock more meditations.
Read: Make it a goal to read a chapter of a good book before bed. Light reads that are easy to pick up and put down when it comes time to fall asleep are recommended.
9:30-9:45 pm: Get in Bed and Write
Spending about 5-10 minutes journaling can be a relaxing and reflective habit. Ideas include so three things that I’m grateful for, and what was on my mind during the day. Getting it down on paper can help with appreciating the amazing things happening, even when you may be too busy to see past the anxiety and stress during the day.
9:45 pm: Lights Out
Prioritize sleep because there is a huge difference on the nights that you may not get enough. Sleep is essential for physical and emotional processes and repairs, improving brain function, balancing hormones and immune system support. All of these things are so critical to our well being, and it’s no wonder we feel awful if we don’t get enough sleep!
If you have trouble sleeping there are a few things that you can try doing to improve your sleep, and one of those things includes practicing a calming self-care routine at night before bed. All of these actions calm your nerves and your stresses so that you can sleep better at night.