"Finish each day before you begin the next, and interpose a solid wall of sleep between the two." - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Last week I shared how stepping up my evening ritual made my mornings easier, more streamlined and more efficient.
(Read last week's blog here.)
I'm not sure I'll ever be a morning person, but I'm happy to report, a week later, I'm still jumping out of bed with more pep in my step.
"Having a nightly routine that serves to wind you down is important," says Dr. Shelley Tworoger who conducted a major sleep study in 2003. "Being active late at night will override your sleep signals."
This week, I'd love to share a few ideas for starting your own evening ritual.
Don't have a lot of time? I hear you. Try setting aside fifteen minutes before bed and incorporating one or two of the ideas below. Small shifts add up to big changes over time.
Let's get ready for bed already, shall we?
12 Strategies for Creating an Evening Ritual:
- Set an alarm. A get ready for bed, time for your evening ritual alarm. Work backwards from the time you need to wake up. Subtract the number of hours you need/want to sleep and set an alarm for this time plus 15 to 20 minute for your night-time routine. Use this alarm as a reminder to stop what you're doing and transition into your evening ritual.
- Stop checking emails and looking at work related items. Give yourself a chance to take a break and recharge. No one likes work-stress dreams.
- Take a cue from your childhood, and lay out your clothes for the next day. Planning on a morning workout? Lay those clothes out as well. This cuts down on decision fatigue the next day, simplifies your morning, and keeps you from skipping that workout.
- Journal. Any thoughts or ideas swirling around? Brain dump, and get them down on paper. Research has linked journaling to benefits that range from reducing stress to removing mental blocks.
- Write down three things you're grateful for. Writing down what you're grateful for has been shown to improve sleep. (Read more benefits of gratitude here.) "Every night for the next week, set aside ten minutes before you go to sleep. Write down three things that went well today and why they went well....Writing about why the positive events in your life happened might feel awkward at first, but please stick with it for one week. It will get easier. The odds are that you will be less depressed, happier, and addicted to this exercise six months from now." -Martin Seligman, University of Pennsylvania professor in Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being.
- Follow in the steps of Benjamin Franklin who asked himself every night, "What good have I done today?" (Read more about Benjamin Franklin's daily routine here.)
- Write out your goals for the next day. Try writing out 3 goals. This doesn't mean you won't accomplish more the following day, these are 3 things that are your priority. (Read more about this in my blog here.) Research shows writing down what you need to do the next day relieves anxiety and helps you enjoy your evening.
- Review your goals from the day. How did you do? Do you want to recommit to anything for tomorrow?
- Read. Short on time? Read for just 6 minutes; a study found that reading for just six minutes can reduce stress levels 68%.
- Have sex. Safe sex, please. I don't want a bunch of angry complaints from this one! (Read some of the benefits of sex here.)
- Meditate. Here are 76 scientific benefits of meditation.
- Envision or visualize your day going well tomorrow. This is a technique many successful people use and one I love. (Read more about visualization here.)
Now, go to sleep already!
I'd love to hear from you! What's your favorite evening ritual? Comment here or jump over to the Facebook page and let me know.