Over the last couple of months, I’ve been working on having a morning routine to set me up for a more successful day. While I still have the random night of child wake-ups and little sleep which translate to a lacking (read: slow, dragging, coffee-filled) morning routine, I’ve still been seeing more productive mornings which lead to more productive and positive days through a more consistent focus on how I start my day. I’m a strong believer that what you do before you go to bed and when you wake up sets the tone of your day… and can set you up for success! Well, when we back up a great morning routine with the ultimate renewing nighttime routine, our mornings get off to an even better start.
“REST AND SELF-CARE ARE 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 BROWN
Here are a few things I’ve found to help in allowing myself to de-stimulate from the day and find the slower, natural rhythm of the night.
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I find that the lower the light, throughout the house, in the bathroom as I shower and in the bedroom as well, helps me to relax. After a day filled with kids, noise and all things stimulating, the lower light and quiet space allow my body to let that stress and stimulation go.
Turn off screens at least 30 minutes before bed (if not earlier).
Our natural melatonin production is slowed as our body responds to light. Earlier is even better, but at least 30 minutes without the bright, artificial light of devices helps your body to fall asleep. If you need an activity, read a book (and not on a device).
Stretching will help relax the muscles allowing for a more comfortable and better sleep. I tend to carry stress in my back and shoulders and just a few minutes of slowed breathing and stretching releases tension and sets me in a calmer mood and allows for a more comfortable sleep.
Prepare for the next day.
When I get a jumpstart on the next morning by crossing a few things off the list or just cleaning up the house for a fresh start in the morning, it also clears headspace for a more relaxing and renewing evening. Plus, the morning starts off on a better note, because I’m not left in the past by cleaning up from the night before and instead am ready to take on a new day!
Wash your face.
I do this every night. Every. Single. Night. Now, I will say, the habit started for me young as I dealt with acne and couldn’t go a night without washing… but even just removing makeup will lead to better skin, reduced free radicals from the day and the act of washing and warm water can set your entire body at ease. (Have you ever had a facial?! Hello, relaxation! I always fall asleep in them!)
Journal or write down what you’re grateful for.
Okay, so full disclosure (and it’s no secret, I’ve said it many times before), I’ve never been good at journaling. And I don’t mean it in the sense that it has to be a certain way and I don’t meet the bar, I mean, I just don’t do it. I’ll have good intentions and decide I’m going to… and then forget, or not feel like it, or whatever happens and I don’t fill in the blank space of my pages. This year, I’m just writing a gratefulness journal. Easy, simple and gratitude is such a great way to move from any negative focus of the day to a positive one that it helps to change how the mind works. So each night, just open up and write down three things you’re grateful for, no matter how big or how small; just three. Watch how your thinking changes.
Being winter, I like to get cozy and stay inside. While it’s not quite cold here yet, it gets dark early and the slightly cooling temps have me lighting candles, sipping something warm and sliding into my favorite sweatshirt and blankets.
I thought I’d share with you what my winter evening routine looks like as of late… keeping cozy and warm. After dinner, we call dibs on the shower or bath and if I can slip in for a quick shower early on in the evening, it really sets me in that hibernation mode for the night. Chris usually tends to the older kids as the evening hours wind down, and really, they pretty much get themselves ready for bed while I tend to our littlest with a sink bath and her nighttime massage before I layer on the jammies.
Then it’s too my bed to relax into sleep. Usually, a stretch, a bottle of water (both for the night and for the morning!), something warm to sip and a good book are in the equation.
A few of my Renewing Winter Nighttime Routine essentials…
Part of helping get myself a better night’s sleep, is getting this one settled peacefully. Some of that happens through her evening bath, adding in some essential oils to her lotion (I love Lavender and Frankincense for her!!), using our linen spray on our beds before sleep and making sure her belly is filled up. Usually I’ll nurse her again before I lay her down, or we’ll use a bottle of breastmilk and add in a little cereal to make sure she’s full.
I’ve found that keeping baby girl snuggled and warm helps her get a few more winks through the night, and since safety is important to me, a good zippered sleep blanket is easy to use and I know will stay in place and keep my girl warm during the night.
A Good Book or my Apple TV
Through the “hibernating” season of winter, evening is a good time to cozy up and catch up… on reading or favorite shows. For a true renewing routine, electronics should be avoided and that’s where a good book comes in, but I have to say, there are some nights that I like to cuddle up with my man as we watch a flick or two.
My New Slippers
Okay, so these aren’t really an essential, but I did get these Ugg slippers for Christmas and you guys, they are my new favorite thing! Seriously, I don’t want to take them off, ever.
See more in 7 Steps That Will Radically Change Your Mornings and download our morning routine worksheet in the post Create the Ultimate Morning Routine That Gets Results + a Free Worksheet!