Ever find yourself down a random rabbit hole of useless information around midnight or later? You’re desperately trying to sleep, but your brain is creating to do lists or has a sudden genius idea for a book you could write? Been there. One way to help your overthinking night-time brain is by creating a solid self care evening routine.
Granted, this may not be a cure all for insomnia, but creating a consistent evening routine, loaded with self care, will start a pattern of turning yourself off at night. We live in a world where we’re constantly doing and are always connected. It can be challenging to shut all that down.
A self care evening routine creates a pattern for your brain to recognize when it’s time to settle in for the evening. It’s to allow yourself the opportunity to get disconnected from everyone else, prioritize your needs, and invite a calming energy before bed.
The ideas provided in this post are just to give you suggestions. Pick and choose what works for you.
Shutting down technology 30-60 minutes before bed can be a game changer for our evening routine. Our mind needs time to power off, which is hard to do when attached to the bright lights of a device.
Create boundaries with your time and let your loved ones know your phone is silent and unavailable at whatever time works for you. You can let everyone know that after 8:30 pm, they shouldn’t expect a text back. If you’re worried about emergencies, you can switch your notifications in the evenings to “calls only” after your unplug time.
Turn off access to social media and, especially, the news. If necessary, add social media blockers on your device. You can try taking this step further by avoiding television or not allowing any tech devices to be accessed from bed.
Big on TV before bed? Try experimenting with other hobbies you enjoy in the 30 minutes before bed. This might include creative work, journaling, reading, or calming stretches.
Set the Mood Lights
Bright, artificial lighting tells your brain it’s day time, which may keep it from shutting down. One of the ways to aid in a calming mood at night is through changing up your lighting. Most of our bright lights are blue LED, which can have a bigger impact on our natural circadian rhythm.
Try an experiment to switch some of your laps to “night lights” that are usually blue-light-free. These are usually ember-colored and some are even dimmable, so you can choose the strength of light. If you happen to use any night lights, switch to red bulbs, which aid in a deeper night’s sleep.
Beauty Evening Routine
Remember, a self-care routine is about putting you first. Creating an evening beauty routine can set a tone that you are worthy of some extra time and attention, even with a simple face wash. Through consistency, you can also help the brain recognize the patterns indicating that you’re ready for bed.
This can be as simple or as extravagant as you’d like. I keep it simple with a face wash and brushing my teeth. About one night a week, I will add to my routine with an exfoliator, face mask, and some extra attention on plucking hairs and loving on my skin. I also have students who find a more extravagant routine to be relaxing, with facial rollers, candles in the bathroom, etc.
Create a consistent beauty routine that feels doable and enjoyable to you.
Taking the time to practice mindfulness before bed can help to calm your stress and the overthinking brain that keeps you awake at night. Again, the depth of this practice is entirely up to you. Mindfulness activities are anything that will ground you in the present moment and bring a sense of calm.
Evening yoga or stretches can help to drop you into the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for bringing a sense of calming and resting to the body. This can also be achieved through gentle, slow breathing practices or meditation. My favorite practice combines all of these with my body relaxation technique while I lay with my legs up the wall.
When the weather and your schedule works out, try taking an evening walk as the sun goes down. Witnessing sunset can help notify your brain that evening is here.
Mindfulness practices are especially important if it feels like your body is restless in the evenings.
Self Care Evening Routine Ideas:
- Put on your favorite, cozy jammies
- Drink soothing herbal tea, like chamomile
- Listen to a relaxing music playlist
- Use relaxing fragrances at night, like candles or essential oils. (try lavender or sandalwood)
- Write in your journal
- Prep for tomorrow morning
- Take a warm bath or shower
- Celebrate the day’s accomplishments
- Do your spiritual practice
- Enjoy gentle yoga or stretches
- Read a fiction novel
- Use light dimmers or ember lights at night
- Clear away any clutter in your sleep space
- Enjoy intimacy (with yourself or partner(s))
- Cool down your bedroom
- Place a “just-in-case” notebook on your nightstand for brain dumping
- Practice gentle, slow breathwork
- Read your affirmations
- Wash your face and teeth
- Listen to a calming meditation
- Make an evening gratitude list
- Eat kiwis or almonds
- Unplug from technology
Remember, don’t let this list overwhelm you. Simply use it for inspiration and experiment with what feels right for you.
I’m curious, what’s something you have to do every night before bed?