Written By Mikkie Mills / Reviewed By Ray Spotts
Self care is important at all hours of the day, but it’s especially beneficial at bedtime. At the end of each day, you have a significant opportunity to recenter yourself and decompress from the day’s events, which can even help you get a better night’s rest. When you’re running around during the day focused on the rest of your world, it’s important to take a little bit of time for yourself at night.
To maximize your me-time, read on for several self-care ideas to help you relax, restore and regenerate.
1. Find a Routine
The more dedicated you are to a relaxing, consistent bedtime routine, the more likely you may be to look forward to unwinding at the end of each day. Pick up a good book, fire up the radio to listen to 101.9 The Mix or take a warm, nightly bath with soothing bath salts. Whatever you do, keep it steady and reliable, so your body comes to expect the time spent loosening up before bed.
2. Eat a Bedtime Snack
There’s a right and a wrong way to approach late-night snacking, and some foods are better than others at facilitating a healthier lifestyle and promoting restful sleep. If hunger pangs strike after dinner, reach for healthful options like nuts, yogurt, tart cherries or whole grains.
3. Find Gentle Movement
Light yoga, gentle stretching or a short stroll can help you clear your head and relax your muscles at the end of the day. Gentle movement is not only a great way to incorporate a soothing activity in your evening routine, but it also works to relieve any tension or stress you may be holding in your body.
4. Practice Deep Breathing
When you take deep, slow breaths, it relaxes your nervous system and sends oxygen to your muscles, which can help you relax even further. There are several breathing exercises you can perform, but even sitting down for a few minutes to focus on your breath works wonders to diffuse the physical effects of stress and anxiety that build up during the busy day.
If you find yourself scrolling mindlessly through social media, or even checking up on work emails at night, consider turning your devices off entirely. The constant inputs of notifications and messages can overload your brain when it’s really time to slow down, and the light waves can even inhibit your ability to fall asleep.
Reserve at least a half an hour before bedtime to put screens away and focus on other, more effective ways to relax.
6. Be Grateful
Studies have revealed that regular expressions of gratitude are associated with a stronger sense of joy and fulfillment in life. Whether you use a journal or simply visualize things in your mind, try to make a short list every night of things you have to be thankful for, even if it’s just kept exclusively in your head.
7. Turn the Lights Down
Your body’s natural circadian rhythm is strongly influenced by light exposure. When the lights go dim, it mimics the natural dimming light of the sunset and twilight hours. Choose a soft lamp or turn the lights off completely and listen to calming music or a soothing podcast or audiobook.
8. Perform a Massage
Tension can keep you awake at night. Enlist the help of a partner or loved one to work through knots and increase blood flow to your muscles. If you’re flying solo, a self-massage is a great option to gently relax your shoulders, neck and facial muscles. As well, you can invest in a massage gun or other apparatus to make the most of a nighttime massage when you’re on your own.
Regular meditation can lower your blood pressure and relieve anxiety, and it’s also a great way to refocus your attention on things other than work tasks or personal stressors. Try to quiet your mind and practice stillness for as long as you can. If you need assistance there are a number of guided meditations available online, so you can transition from a busy headspace to a clear, calm and collected one.
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Mikkie Mills is a freelance writer from Chicago. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on interior design, budgeting hacks and DIY. When she's not writing, she's chasing the little ones around, walking her dog, or can be found rock climbing at the local climbing gym.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.