This is the one I’m trying to repeat as many times a week as I can because it’s so good for a) getting a good nights sleep, b) your mental wellbeing and c) keeping yourself feeling in control of your life.
It’s basically about mindfulness, but I hate the word mindfulness because what does it even mean and no I don’t want to eat hemp and yes sometimes I like to order processed meat when I’m hungover/drunk/just really feel like fake meat and no-one judge me.
But it’s basically about feeling good in yourself, about feeling calm, about feeling positive and like a version of yourself that’s had an entire pot of Barry M glitter poured over you.
I’m going to start this checklist at 8pm, with the hope that by then you’ve got home from work, have thrown together a bowl of potato and lettuce leaves and some random sauce and have slumped yourself on the sofa with some sort of Geordie Shore re-run.
8pm WRITE IT OUT
Empty your brain of excess thoughts for the day. Whether that’s keeping a journal of emotions and frustrations and passing thoughts or writing yourself a to-do list for the next day to make you feel calmer and more in control of your life, is up to you.
But use it as an opportunity to assess what’s stressing you out or weighing you down and as a way to almost ‘remove’ it from your brain because you’re laying it out elsewhere.
8.15pm TIDY UP
I’m the queen of and juuuuuust gonna leave the washing up til tomorrow and meh I’ll sort out my swimming bag later, but the clutter just ends up making me feel, well, more cluttered.
Set aside 15 to 20 minutes to do some basic tidying. The washing up, the picking up random crap that you’ve just placed in really stupid places. Why is there three pens, a book, a sweatshirt and a pair of socks on the sofa? EH?
8.30pm PUT YOUR PHONE ON CHARGE
That’s you done for the night gal, you and your phone are over. Soz and that. Set your alarm for the morning, do a last sweep of Twitter and Insta and whatever makes you cope with your FOMO better and be done. DO NOT CHECK IT AGAIN UNTIL THE MORNING, ALLOW YOU BRAIN TO SWITCH OFF FROM IT. Go on, you know you want to…
I mean you can have a long sassy girl bath with a bath bomb and some oils and whatever other fancy schmancy stuff you wanna throw in, or you can just jump in the shower to wash the long day off you. Choice is yours gal pal.
Listen to some chill music or just be alone with your thoughts – it’s not that bad I promise.
Fresh, comfy jammies. Something you can stretch about and starfish in when you’re in bed. My current faces are this super soft (yes also super sassy – hello let’s just admire that cute lil purple print) pyjamas from Mish London. I’m all about a matching shirt set, although I’ve gotta admit, I have a weird habit of waking up without a top on. Don’t judge, alright?
9.10pm YOGA, PILATES OR MEDITATION
This is basically about putting your brain in a good place and it’s totally up to you how you wanna go about it.
For me, I’d ideally do some basic Pilates stretches (apparently if you’re well-stretched, you’re less restless when you get into bed and drift off quicker), followed by some lying down on the floor just contemplating life.
It’s also a good way to cram in a teeny tiny bit of gentle exercise which is always nice when you accidentally scoffed four biscuits with your 3pm cup of tea.
If you’re completely clueless – search YouTube for 10 minute yoga or pilates or mediation videos, this was how I originally started out.
Weirdly, I feel like doing this is more beneficial and it’s easier to relax when you actually do it in your bedroom – as though your brain understands it’s part of the winding down for sleep process.
9.30pm HERBAL TEA AND SLEEP SPRAY
I’m a sucker for all sleep sprays, sleep oils, sleep teas, the whole shabang, they just really help me feel like I’m switching off even if it’s just a placebo effect.
This Neom set is a great place to start – it has a pillow spray, an oil which Chris and I kinda used like a hand cream and a roll on for pulse points. We were both like OMG AMAZING when we woke up in the morning and realised we hadn’t been tossing and turning for an hour before falling asleep. Woo to the hoo.
How ya coping without checking your phone, eh?
I’ve been reading Calm before bed for the last few nights, mostly because it helps set my head into that whole mindful, peaceful place but also because it gives me ideas about how I can feel more mentally stable and get the most happiness from my life.
I find I only need 10-15 minutes of reading time before cor turn the bedside lamp off, that’s me done.
I’m all about that 8-9 hour sleep life, but I know not everyone’s so greedy.
If the long-winded getting ready for bed routine thing didn’t set you up to fall asleep in minutes, then try visualising a beach.
I’m not sure if I mentioned this in a previous blog post or if it was in a sample book chapter way back when, but picturing a beach – the warm white sand grains slipping between my fingers, the noise of the sea lapping at the shore, the smell of the salt, the heat of the sun on my face – really helps me fall asleep.
I had to give myself a virtual high-five because they say the EXACT same thing in Calm and now I feel like maybe I should just become a mindfulness coach.
Sometimes I add in some of my favourite people and they’re laughing on the beach, splitting beers and roasting halloumi on a barbecue whilst I’m floating in the sea in a lil black ASOS bikini watching back on them all wondering how I got so lucky.
Try it the next time work is doing its best to snake its way into your every pre-bedtime thought.
Have you guys got anything you like to do to help you switch off before bed?
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