At twenty years old my idea of a self-care routine was ensuring there was a Gatorade within arm’s reach of my bedside after a rowdy night of Red Bull’s & vodka.
Other nights it was double checking that all 17 of my alarms were set and ready to go off after a marathon study session in the campus library. Mind you, they were all set to go off in a mere 45 minutes because apparently there was nothing more motivating to the procrastinator in me than the pressure of the last-minute. (It’s a wonder I ever slept in college at all).
Fast forward to now- my post-graduate, 30 year old self defines self-care much differently.
Though some habits die hard and I still push the limits as to what I can accomplish in a day, I’m much more aware that my body’s performance is a direct reflection of how I treat it.'Self-care means giving the world the best of you instead of what's left of you' -Katie ReedClick To Tweet
As adults, no one teaches us just how to take care of ourselves. Sure as kids we hear all the time: eat your vegetables, get outside & play, do your homework, brush your teeth, time for bed, and so on..
And as women, that problem only seems to magnify itself because somewhere encrypted in our DNA is the ever important role of nurturing, to take care of everyone else’s needs before our own.
We all do it- whether we’re mothers, daughters, wives, girlfriends, or what have you.'Self care is so important. When you take time to replenish your spirit, it allows you to serve others from the overflow. You cannot serve from an empty vessel' -Eleanor BrownClick To Tweet
It took me one too many experiences with complete and utter burn-out (the kind of ordeal that leaves you drained and lacking motivation in all aspects of day-to-day living) to finally realize that my body was not, nor ever would be invincible. And despite my best tries, my body could not run on caffeine alone.
Somewhere along the line I finally realized that developing a nightly ritual was not about adding more to my to-do list; it was about reclaiming the energy that was drained merely from day-to-day life. It was about giving myself a moment to reflect on the day’s events, to plan for the new day ahead, and to simply relax & rejuvenate.
So to the women who are searching for a little guidance in creating a relaxing night routine for better self care, here are 6 simple steps to follow.
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6Step 1 to a Better Night Routine: Turn off your screens
In all honesty, this was (and continues to be) a hard habit for me to break. Like any habitual activity, it eventually becomes an addiction. And as much as I think staring mindlessly at the television while my latest Netflix obsession plays, or scrolling for miles on both Pinterest + Instagram is helping me unwind; in reality, all that time in front of a blue screen is having a negative impact on my sleep quality.
Studies have shown time and time again that too much screen time at night can result in higher alertness before bed- meaning you take longer to fall asleep and often spend less time in REM throughout the night (that deep, restful kind of sleep where you actually dream). All of which translates to taking longer to wake up the next morning and increased feelings of sleepiness the next day.
If you can’t find it within yourself to kick the technology habit cold-turkey, at least do yourself a favor by dimming the brightness of your devices.
Step 2 to a Better Night Routine: De-clutter
This is not the time to finally attack that grout in your bathroom tiles that has been bugging you for months or to spend hours rearranging your spice rack alphabetically- but a few minutes wiping down the kitchen counters or clearing the top of the bathroom vanity can do wonders for the mind.
Not to mention, waking up to a clean environment is the right start to a nice, peaceful and less-frazzled morning. It’s win-win!
I find that taking just 5 minutes before bed to clear off my desk + to empty the kitchen sink is enough to boost my productivity the next day. Give it a try!
To start, limit yourself to one area of your house at a time + add from there as you feel comfortable. Over time, this little habit will require less effort to maintain.
Step 3 to a Better Night Routine: Make your bedroom more inviting
I’ll admit when it comes to home décor, my bedroom easily gets the least attention.
Because other than myself who really sees it?
And when guests do come over, it’s the one room I can easily keep behind closed doors + shut off from the rest of the house.
Besides of all the hours I actually spend in that room, how many of them involve my eyes being open?
But consider this- if our sleep environment is of such little importance then why do we not get the same restful night’s sleep when we’re away from home? The conditions by which we sleep, do matter!
So think of your bedroom as a sanctuary, your own little getaway retreat. Do yourself a favor by eliminating clutter and adding some soothing colors to the area. Invest in quality bedding (the kind that gives you that ‘ah-h-hhh’ moment every time you jump in). And keep the mood cozy with soft, warm lighting.
Don’t fool yourself, quality sleep adds up- so never neglect it!
Step 4 to a Better Night Routine: Create a Sleep Trigger
A small act of self-indulgence can go a long ways in helping your body shut-down for the night. Whether it’s a steamy cup of hot tea, a favorite face mask, enjoying the scent from a favorite candle (like the insanely-delicious-smelling yet unbelievably expensive Jo Malone ones), or reading a chapter from that book you’ve been meaning to make time for – Whatever your pleasure, find something that both relaxes you and makes you look forward to going to bed at night!
- The Power of Positive Thinking: Adopt a Healthy Mindest in 4 Easy Steps
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- 21 Books that Radically Changed My Life
- The BEST Hack to Creating More Happiness in Your Life (In Under 2 Minutes!)
Step 5 to a Better Night Routine: Journal
Leave it all on paper, not on your mind!
Take the time to write down your thoughts so not to be bothered by them half-way through the night. You don’t have to write novel length entries, but make a quick note of to-do’s for the following day; write down thoughts and reflections, prayers, or creative sparks you don’t want to be forgotten.
Trust me, it doesn’t have to be pretty. Most of my entries are nearly indecipherable scribbles just legible enough to jog my memory of what I intended to say.
I find having regular conversations with myself by way of journaling helps me to confront my own thoughts. It allows for that minute or two to be completely honest with myself and to be more fully aware of my personal needs and desires.The greatest dialogue we can have is sometimes with ourselves.Click To Tweet
Step 6 to a Better Night Routine: Supplement to help your body get deeper sleep
I’m not talking sleep aids, but I’m all in-favor of a non-habit forming sleep time supplement- kind of like a multi-vitamin but designed specifically for bed time.
I’ve tried (and have noticed considerable change in quality of sleep after using) a cortisol reducing agent. My favorite has been C-21 by 1st Phorm. I absolutely love how it works in two ways- first in helping to naturally balance my cortisol (that pesky stress hormone) levels, resulting in deeper, more restful sleep; and second by supplying my body with key digestive enzymes to keep it working as efficiently as possible throughout the night, allowing for better night time recovery.
Just two capsules a night help ensure that my body gets the most from a full night’s sleep, even when I can’t give it the full eight hours it deserves.
A self-care nightly routine doesn’t have to be drawn out in order to be effective. A few simple tasks, completed on a regular basis can have massive impact on bettering your life.
I’d love for you to share in the comments below some of your best practices for adding a bit of self-care to your night time routine!
And if you’d like little help get starting a journal practice of your own to help you relax + unwind (as I mentioned above), then enter your email below + I’ll send a journal of your own with additional prompts for self-reflection to help get you started (free of course ;).
Here to Support YOU! XO- Britney (ms.fit.farmer)