I’ve had such a busy day. Crazily busy! And I am buzzing. Buzzing from all the things I have done today.
I woke up. Did my meditation, did some exercise and reading and listed my goals for the day. Throughout the day, I achieved everything I wanted to get done. It felt fantastic.
And then I go to bed and I can’t sleep.
This happens to me a lot. I put so much focus on making sure I get things done during the day, the best I can be during the waking hours and presume that it will lead to a good night’s sleep.
But it’s not always the case. And if I wasn’t buzzing from the glories of the day, I would often have days where I didn’t feel I achieved what I wanted and start to think about what I still needed to get done as I was drifting off to sleep.
I started to think about what I could do to stop this and it hit me. If I spend my focus on a morning ritual and getting primed for the day, what about if I also had an evening ritual to wind down and get a great night sleep? What if I could both start and finish my day feeling great? Surely this will help my sleep?
So I developed an evening ritual and I want to share this with you. It varies day by day as to when I start but I aim to start this 60 minutes before I know I will go to sleep. There are times where I need to shorten the duration if I am out in the evening later than planned for example. For me, 30 minutes is the absolute minimum duration.
I discovered the evening ritual through an article published by Asian Efficiency and it is loosely based on what they wrote. Over time, I have adjusted it to suit me.
1) Get off the devices
It is so tempting to scroll through social media, watch television, respond to e-mails but I felt that this has been a contributing factor to keeping me awake and stopping me sleeping soundly. 60 minutes before I know I’ll go to bed, I need to stop. So I do. It’s time to start the evening ritual.
2) Journal about the day
This is a chance for me to review my day and look at what worked well and what didn’t. I use the 5-minute journal app to do this and I also will take a pen and paper and ask myself.
Who did I help today?
Who am I grateful for today?
What can I do tomorrow that will make the day a success?
3) Write down any random thoughts floating through my head
After I have done this, I’ll do a clear out of random thoughts going through my mind. When I write everything down, I realise sometimes how silly my thoughts are. I will then usually rip up the page and throw it away. My mind feels a lot clearer now.
4) Do some meditation or deep breathing
After I’ve cleared out my thoughts and documented how my day went, I spend some time in silence. Both with exterior noise and any noise going through my mind. If my mind is racing heavily, I’ll do some meditation. This would be the 2nd time during the day I’ve done this, however, it is a necessity. Usually, I’ll do some deep breathing such as the 4-7-8 breathing exercise.
I’m starting to feel very relaxed now.
5) Go to the bathroom
This is when I clean my teeth and wash my face. Sometimes I may have a warm shower, to relax me. It depends on how I feel. This is a time to do any necessary ‘bathroom administration’ before I go to bed.
At this point, I’m feeling great mentally and want to make sure I’m not feeling tight or sore physically. I’ve been moving around a lot today and use this moment to relax my muscles and ensure I go to bed feeling supple and remove any tensions.
7) Read light material
Do you remember when you were a kid and bedtime stories were read to you to help you to sleep? You probably slept really well afterwards. Although nobody is around anymore to read you a book to sleep, reading some light fiction or a biography (not too intense) will help you unwind and relax parts of the brain that are overused during the day.
I try to read this outside of the bedroom, however, you may find it more relaxing to read in bed.
8) Say goodnight to my wife
This is important to me. If my wife is feeling relaxed, then I will stay relaxed. Usually, I will ask her what her highlights were for the day. It’s good to have the final discussion in the day as a positive one. It keeps the worries away as I drift off to sleep.
9) Sleep – take-off!
And now I am asleep. Worries are gone, I can dream and relax and tomorrow is a new day with new opportunities and challenges. I’m in a good state of mind. In approx. 8 hours time I will wake up refreshed, energised, and ready to enjoy the day. The morning ritual awaits. The cycle repeats!
How do you relax in the evening? Have you tried any of the above and does it help your mind feel rested? Has this post inspired you to create an evening ritual? I would love to know what works for you and what you think of this post.
Please leave a comment below and I will respond asap.