What continues to surprise me each time with my night ritual is just how much happens in a day. It is only when I sit down to reflect on the day that has passed that I truly notice this. Some of my rituals for the past 6 months include:
– Turn off my phone Wi-fi at 7 p.m. – I love the feeling of being disconnected and this ritual helps meet that need each day.
– Gratitude journal – @theheadplan; this has a morning and night section.
– Yoga Journal – (got this in @aldi late last year). I initially used this yoga journal to note what yoga and mindfulness practices I did each day to see if there were any patterns (e.g. certain times of the week/month where I did more practices around tension with my head, throat, my back etc.) Now, I use it to track my cycles (mainly my menstrual) and to be curious about my energy, aches, emotions each day/week/month to see if any patterns emerge. I often just write a sentence or a couple of words.
Some newer night rituals include
– Gentle stretching – I often do a yoga practice earlier in the day but I might take a few minutes to attend to any residual tension with some restorative poses. Sometimes, I’ll just lie in Savasana (i.e. corpse pose – simply lying on my back on the ground)….before transitioning to lying in bed.
– CBD balm – @groundwellbeing This is a relatively new practice for me (thanks to Niamh Gallagher for the recommendation) but what I love is again attending to any tension/pressure points and a little self massage. We often rely on others for massages but we too have the ability to gently massage our own body and relieve any tension. You could use any oil, moisturiser, balm that brings any comfort and helps to unwind.
I’ve also added some notes in the images on some other factors that may help with a night ritual, a night routine and about sleep in general.
Words in images:
Other ideas for night rituals:
Light a candle
Spray some mist
Herbal tea (e.g. like chamomile)
Mindful evening activities like a shower/bath, removing make-up, moisturise.
As important and useful as an unwind ritual or routine is just before sleep, I often find that what can be perhaps more indicative of a good night’s sleep is how our energy is used (and not used) from that day.
What goes on (and doesn’t go on) during the day (or week/month) can sometimes be more enlightening in why we might have sleep difficulties (e.g. deadlines, exams, loss, change).
If you have been on the go all day with no time to relax, and then try to cram in an unwind ritual a mere 1 or 2 hours before sleep, chances are it is going to take a lot longer for you to regulate and feel calm.
In certain phases in our life, that hour before going to bed (if even) may be the only time we get to stop all day and the only opportunity we have had all day to process that day.
Sometimes, this is just life and it can be harder to commit to these acts of care depending on what we are experiencing.
When going through such periods in life, some self compassion can go a long way instead of beating yourself up.
During such times or even when I try my best to unwind and do my rituals, I still might have a poor sleep and/or wake up during the night. This is normal.
While awake during the night, what often brings me comfort is the reminder that “Although I am not sleeping, I am still resting”. This reassures me especially if I go down that rabbit hole of what the next day might look like with not getting enough sleep.
If you do not have time to “do” rituals, perhaps it might be easier to commit to things that you ” do not do” such as:
Watch or read intense/exciting/anxiety provoking TV/books in the evenings.
Turn off Wi-Fi earlier in the evening.
No heavy meals or caffeine close to bedtime.
What I use for my night ritual may not resonate with you.
Everyone has a different lifestyle, body and experiences. Some of the suggestions may not be for you, and that is ok.
Find rituals and routines that work for you.