For a healthy sleep cycle, it is crucial to have a nightly routine that signifies to your body that it’s time to shut down for the night. The hard part about my last statement is life is stressful and it is so difficult to turn your brain off at the end of a long day, especially if you haven’t checked everything off your to-do list, have unfinished projects, or are unclear of the next day’s plans. Here are some ways that you can release stress before bedtime to improve your quality of sleep in under half an hour.
I’m not sure about you, but when I have a ton of thoughts going on, it is hard to focus on one task at a time. When this gets overwhelming the only thing that will help me get back on track is a brain dump. If you aren’t familiar with the term it is exactly what it sounds like. You literally want to sit down with a pen and piece of paper and write down anything that is on your mind and onto paper, so you can visualize them.
Make a Plan for the Next Day
Life is hectic. We tend to put more things in our basket than we can handle. So once you get your thoughts down on paper in that brain dump, you can organize them in order of importance. For example, if you have to call the doctor’s office to make an appointment, work up your grocery list, communicate to your mom a scheduling issue with an upcoming family reunion; which one is most important? Do you have a pressing health issue that needs attention immediately? Is your mom booking a flight for the family reunion tomorrow, so you need to communicate the information or schedule issues first? For me it is very helpful to make my schedule with time slots that include when I should be starting a task and when I should be finishing, although I give myself extra time, so I’m not overwhelmed with not meeting my goal. For some people, simply writing a list is enough, you have to see what works best for you, and what will put your mind at ease the most. Don’t leave any task in the house undone such as dirty dishes in the sink or clothes that you have left in the washer or dryer. By doing this you have already added to your to-do list before even waking up, and you will wake up feeling behind before your day even starts.
Meditate / Quiet Time
Meditation is defined as the act of giving your attention to only one thing, either as a religious activity or as a way of becoming calm and relaxed. Meditation is one of the best ways to relieve stress when you are overwhelmed. It gets you into a positive mindset, allows you to release any negativity, and truly reset for the next day. Yes, there are many ways that people meditate, and if you want to try a certain technique more power to you, but don’t feel like you can’t attempt meditation because you’ve never been shown how or think it’s just nonsense. For me, I like a good 10 minutes alone with my thoughts, in quiet without interruption. This allows me to add anything to my brain dump list that I may have forgotten or just to relax. Most of us are surrounded by people all day, and being able to have alone time that is quiet even if just for five minutes is meaningful. Whatever you decide to do during this time, make sure you are intentional. Yes, we are alone with our thoughts when we lay down at night, but I want you to schedule that time, and not include it in your nightly routine of trying to fall asleep.
Feed Your Spirit
Everyone needs positivity, before laying your head down at night, read something that will pour into you what the stressful day has taken out. Whether you prefer to read positive uplifting stories, a religious passage of your choice, a daily devotion, or your daily uplifting quotes, find something that leaves you happy uplifted, and like you can take on tomorrow with no problem. Once you clear out any negative thoughts or negative space, it is important to replenish, because it is so easy to allow those negative, stressful thoughts, or feelings to creep back if we aren’t making sure that we replace them with intentional, positive, empowering thoughts.