Early in this year I went to the doctor to treat a recurring chest infection that I had been struggling with for around six weeks; she’d put me on antibiotics at the start of December after I’d tested negative for Covid-19 and did the same at the start of January when the tightness and chest pain returned. At the appointment I shared with her that I’d been feeling really stressed (for quite a long time) and she said that it was possible that my body was run down and was, therefore, struggling to fight illness. I’m sure you’ve heard it before, that stress is a silent killer, but it was not until the decision to finally address my struggles with anxiety through seeing a psychologist that I was able to see just how much of my life I’ve spent worrying, overthinking, obsessively controlling and stressing. It has been eye opening for me to realise that I am possibly the reason that I’m not well at times. In response to stress I was slapping on metaphorical band aids at every corner by incorporating yoga, exercise and physiotherapy to treat aching muscles and a general physical discomfort that often showed up as fatigue; mostly, I had convinced myself that if I tried really hard to be ‘normal’ and not so pedantic about things, that it would take away my angst. I was wrong; what I needed was to start facing my some of the things I’ve been through so that I could start finding ways to be okay with the past and who I am today. Anyway, the sessions with my psychologist, as well as morning Bible reads and prayer, are probably what has helped me the most with my anxiety but I’ve started a nighttime routine to help me feel less stressed and have found that I’m sleeping so better since, too. I’d like to share that routine and the benefits with you today.
I put Scout to bed by 8:30 pm.
I will write a detailed post about establishing a routine with her and how much it has changed our lives at a later stage but I have felt that a set nighttime routine with my daughter has helped me establish a routine for myself, too.
I take a bath.
I used to shower in the evening but have found that a bath allows me to not only soak the day away but it lets me unwind and spend a good 15-30 minutes with myself. It is a space where nobody interrupts my quiet time. While laying in the bath I give my face and head a light massage with my finger tips. You’d be surprised by how much you may be holding onto in your cheeks, temples and jawline so a light rub and some gentle face tugging helps to rid me of tension. I then soap up and retire to the bedroom where I rub some yummy creams on my face and body.
I wear comfortable, pretty pyjamas.
I used to sleep in any vest and briefs that I could find but decided towards the end of last year that I deserved to feel good at all times, even while I’m sleeping. Having pretty PJs and nightgowns has almost made me feel better about myself in that I appreciate who I see in the mirror. I really believe that looking good can be a catalyst to how we feel in certain situations, too.
Wesley a I pray together as a couple after Scout’s bedtime Bible story but I also pray on my own before drifting off. Counting my blessings, praising God and having the opportunity to unload some of my burdens helps me feel gratitude; my faith is the foundation of my purpose.
I put my phone on sleep mode.
Sleep mode stops my screen from lighting up with notifications; the iOS software also blackens the screen, almost preventing the tempting lure of a bright screen. No notifications means that I allow myself to switch off from the online and social world. No screen time before bed also helps my mind to settle and I’ve found that I sleep better when limiting my evening screen time.
I usually read.
I try to spend at least 15 minutes reading as it is sure to have me nodding off soon after. When I was on holiday I followed the series ‘The Crown’ on Netflix and indulged in and episode or two at night. I will admit that watching series at night disrupts my sleep quite badly so I I’m enjoying the discipline that work brings and can’t wait for my bedside lamp once we decorate more of our renovated home.
Routine is very good for my brain and I’ve found that establishing this has helped me to better cope with stress and anxiety. I hope that over time this routine will contribute to my general health and well-being but I can honestly say that it has made a big difference to my sleeping patterns and general experience of life. Are you a good sleeper? And do you have any rituals that you like to follow before bed?
Please share your thoughts and experiences with me by leaving a comment below.
Until my next post,