Today, I’m kicking off a new series here on the blog: Self Care Sunday.
On one Sunday each month, I’ll be sharing posts dedicated to different aspects of self care, and how to integrate them easily (and realistically!) into daily life.
This first post is all about my at-home evening routine, which I consider to be the cornerstone of my overall self care routine and daily mental well-being.
Now, I always sleep 8 hours a night. I really don’t buy into today’s ‘hustle culture’ that seems intent on pushing the idea that the less sleep you get, and the less time you take to look after yourself, the harder you must be working.
Even when I’m working back to back days in the kitchen for weeks on end, and then coming home to sit down and write in the evenings, I get my 8 hours, because it is this proper rest that allows me to work that hard.
Here’s how I get ready for that rest…
My Evening Routine
First off, I make a rule of turning my phone off at 10 pm.
Remaining plugged into the social media bubble keeps me awake and stimulated, so I find it best to keep my phone away in the hour before I go to sleep.
The blue light on the screen has also proven to keep you awake, although I will still use my laptop to follow along to a yoga routine past 10 pm (more on that soon…)
Secondly, I switch my fairy lights on.
This sounds a bit silly, but it’s actually made a huge difference to me: I only use my fairy lights at bed time.
This helps me mentally draw a line between day and night, and creates an atmosphere in my bedroom which I associate only with relaxation and sleep.
Next, I might light a candle or incense.
I don’t do this every night, as I actually sometimes find strong smells before bed a bit overwhelming, but I will use a relaxing scent like lavender or jasmine to set the mood when I’m feeling particularly tightly wound or stressed before bed.
*The candle shown was kindly gifted to me by Revival, and is vegan and hand poured in the UK.
Then I wash my face.
You can have a look at the products I use for my skin-care routine here. Every night, I wash my face, brush my teeth and moisturise. I also use a face mask one or two times a week when my skin needs a little love.
Next, I do some yoga.
As I mentioned, I am happy to use my screens (with the brightness turned down) to follow along to a gentle yin yoga stretch on my mat just before bed. Some days, this is a quick 5-minute stretch, and others it’s a full, guided session.
My favourite free instructors on YouTube at the moment are PsycheTruth and Fightmaster Yoga.
At this point, I set my alarm.
It’s only once most of my routine is done that I set my alarm, to ensure that it will wake me up as close to after 8 hours as possible.
To help me with waking up, I also leave my blinds open to let sunlight in in the morning, and leave my phone (with the alarm on) on the other side of the room, so that I have to physically get up to turn it off.
Then, I get into bed to read.
The last active part of my routine is reading. When I’m too tired, I skip this, but I usually set my alarm with enough time to allow me about half an hour of reading before falling asleep.
Finally, I fall asleep to a guided meditation.
I’m understanding at this point that this whole thing reads as a little bit worthy, but these are just steps that help me personally – after a period of really struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep at night – to relax fully before sleep.
I always listen to a short guided mediation, which I drift off to, and I pretty much exclusively listen to The Honest Guys on YouTube.
And that’s it! Thank you so much for sticking with something a little different on this blog, and I hope to see you again for next month’s Self Care Sunday.