Life is really busy right now and on most days I need to take time out to create a relaxing evening routine in order to de-stress and get some sleep. Working two jobs, raising two people, working on my health and fitness, building a business and trying to be a good partner, sister, friend etc are all positive things that are happening in my life but when combined they can be a little stressful.
A morning routine is something that I feel I’ve nailed, for now at least. Up early, workout, shower, smoothie, sort the kids and off to work. It’s as easy (or not!) as that right now. But an evening routine wasn’t really something I had ever considered past the time Sophie goes to bed. It occurred to me that putting a baby to bed is a process, that babies follow a set evening routine; there’s a bath, milky business, cuddles, stories and then finally bedtime. She needs that period of winding down and relaxation before her head hits the pillow. Yet somewhere along the years into adulthood this evening routine gets a bit mixed up, lost and forgotten and then suddenly we spend our days jumping from task to task, endlessly scrolling social media and then expecting to fall straight to sleep. It’s no wonder I found it hard to get to sleep really – I just haven’t been listening to my body.
I realised this a month or so ago now and so now I have worked out an evening routine that really works for me and helps me to get ready for sleep.
So below I am going to share my really simple 7 step evening routine that relaxes both my mind and body and allows me to switch off ready for bed. This is the exact evening routine that I follow and it works a treat so hopefully it will work for you too.
Step 1 – Switch off the screens
We are all so busy tapping, liking and scrolling through social media that it can become almost like an addiction. I am the worst for this and so I’ve had to be really strict – no screens after 9pm if I want a good nights sleep. There have been a whole load of studies done on this and it turns out our back-lit LED screens emit some sort of blue-light which effects the melatonin in our brains. Melatonin is the hormone that is essential for making us sleepy and starting the whole shutting down process. So basically without too much science, the screens have got to go because they send signals to your brain to be alert and awake.
Step 2 – Make a warm drink
Yep just like the ever-present milky business that my daughter demands before bed, a warm drink will do wonders to relax you too. My drink of choice right now is a mug of peppermint tea. It’s caffeine free, healthy, soothing for digestion and I love the fresh, sweet taste of it.
Step 3 – Take a bath with essential oils
There is nothing better after a stressful day with a toddler than lighting a candle, dimming the lights, indulging in a hot bath and wiping the slate clean on the day. My bath product right now is Olverum. Olverum is a unique and highly concentrated, therapeutic bath oil which contains 10 pure essential oils, carefully blended to work in harmony. A bath with just a few drops of Olverum is for me a bit of an indulgent and happy way to melt away the stresses of the day and take a step closer to that elusive good night of sleep. By the by, for any fitness bunnies, it is also a great way to ease aching muscles after a workout. It smells incredible and you can immediately pick out the scent of lavender which is one of the oils known to relax you and bring on sleep. I was lucky enough to be sent a sample of Olverum to try and I’m completely hooked. It’s a beautiful product and makes bath times so much more grown up and indulgent even if there are a row of yellow ducks staring back at you. If you’re pregnant or breast feeding and want to try Olverum please make sure you check with your doctor first as some essential oils aren’t suitable.
Step 4 – Moisturise
The art of pampering yourself can take some time to re-learn after having a baby, or at least that’s how I felt. But after indulging in your bath nirvana, it seems fitting that you perform some ritual pampering and that for me is taking the time really moisturise my body from top to toe. Choose something thick and luxurious, something that smells amazing and feels like a real treat. This is one of my favourite steps before climbing into my pyjamas.
Step 5 – Read
If after all of this your mind is still busy, I recommend reading and getting lost in a few chapters of a good book. There’s a brilliant quote I found about reading that says
“reading gives your mind a place to go when we have to stay where we are”
and that is so true. There is something so immersive about getting lost in someone else’s world that will allow you to shut off the running commentary and list-making that goes on in your head. If we go back to science for a minute – reading has been proven to reduce stress and lets face it, the faster we de-stress, the faster we are going to sleep.
Step 6 – Meditate
This may or may not be your thing and it can be odd and the opposite of relaxing to be alone in your own silence at first. I find that it really helps me but it wasn’t always that way so if you are new at it then can I suggest trying the 5,4,3,2,1 method. This method helps you to become aware of your surroundings and yourself and create space in your mind to live in the moment and engage all of your senses. Just the art of doing this will hugely de-stress your mind and body.
Find a quiet place, sit comfortably and then do the following:
- Look around you and name as you look at 5 different objects that you se
- Name 4 things you can hear.
- Close your eyes and list 3 things you can feel.
- Be aware of 2 things you can taste (eg mint from your toothpaste)
- Be aware of 1 physical sensation in your body.
Step 7 – Sleep
Hopefully after all of these steps you are feeling drowsy and are ready for going to sleep.
This routine is really working for me right now and I hope some of you might find it useful if you’re struggling to switch off. When you are a parent, I can’t guarantee a full nights sleep but this is the best way to set yourself up to try. I’d love to know what your evening routine looks like?
Until next time – sweet dreams