Wednesday, 24 October 2012

{Thriving this Winter} Day 24: Quiet

As I have said before a home should be your personal retreat, your place to get away from it all and just be. Which sounds awesome, but sometimes you have to put a little bit of work in this "being".  So my question for you today is:

How do you take off the stress and trouble of the world and step into your quieted self? Do you ever do this? 

You might have read my post from Sunday where I talked about getting rid of my routine, and my wondering if it is routines that drag me down and give me a whole lots of "shoulds" rather than the energy I need to complete the tasks that really matter to me. And while I am still sure that I need to not worry about routine as much, there are some ways of being that can really help me out. And some of these ways do end up involving a routine. 

One of those routines is how we get ourselves to bed. Most of us can remember the routine that we had with our parents when we were little, brush your teeth, put on pj's, read a book, sing a song, pray, go to sleep. Other routines might have more, other's might have lesss. But somewhere in become an adult many of us completely lost having a bedtime routine. I think it comes from late nights in college, where we were so regularly exhausted and going to bed at 2am, that we would just crash into bed and immediately fall asleep. There was no consideration given to how we might have to coax ourselves to bed. 

Well fast-forward (for me at least), to now, where I actually have enough time to sleep, but now often can't. And coaxing myself to sleep needs to happen more than I would like. So here are some ways that I help coax myself. 

The difference between this routine, and a soul-sucking routine is that this one is not intended for every single day. It is not something I should do, because it is only something I do when I have been having difficulty sleeping. And sometimes I don't know I will have trouble until after the fact. So it is a "great when I do it!" kind of routine. No worries, an option when needed. This is a routine that I can do any day, and can start at any time. There is no set bedtime, so I can start right after dinner if I am really tired. I can start it at 11 if I have had to be out all night. It is a routine that works into my day, rather than me having to work my day to fit it. Here is what I do to tell myself I am ready for bed. 

1. Take it off.
I mean your makeup, hair and accessories. And you should probably brush your teeth too. These are the only things I have to "do" to get ready for bed, because I can totally sleep knowing the house is a mess, and if I look at my planner then I will certainly find something to do. If I don't look, and I don't remember, it obviously wasn't that important. That is why I check in the morning. You need to do what works for you. 
2. Cozy up!
When I first started nursing it seemed incredible that they would let me wear the scrubs. I even took a picture of myself the first day I wore the sterilized hospital issue ones. Because to me, it was like I was literally putting on the role of "nurse". When I was wearing that people expected me to do know what to do, and trusted me to do it. Even now, sometimes if I am having a bad day I have to remind myself that I have put on my scrubs and now I am not as much Robyn as I am "nurse." Clothes have a TON to do with how you feel about yourself and your day. Put on your pj's, and your fuzzy slippers and your snuggly housecoat. Wrap yourself in a blanket. Get cozy and warm and snuggly. 

3. Seriously de-stressing.
Sometimes before the pj's I will take a bath. Not a shower, a bath. Preferably with low lights and a book. I like to drink water in my bath, but you could have wine. Sometimes I throw a few handfuls of epsom salts into the bath, because I have read it draws out toxins. I don't know if this is true, but it sounds nice. Then after my pj's or bath I will go out into my house and turn out the overhead lights, in favour of lamps and candles. Then I make myself a cup of something warm. I like Sleepytime tea by celestial seasoning and will add a bit of honey or lemon. I don't like to have anything caffeinated or sugary at this time. I usually watch one show while I drink my tea. Then I go into my room and if I am still awake I will read my book. Right now I am reading the Simarillion, which is an awesome book to put you to sleep! 

I really think that the earlier I put on my pj's, the earlier I signal to myself and my family that I am getting ready for bed. We automatically want to start snuggling under blankets and droop our eye lids. Nothing really productive can take place while wearing pj's, and we aren't going to fight it, so we just relax and unwind. I mean, think about Christmas; all the best parts of christmas happen while we're in our pj's. Snuggly movies or dinners around the fire on christmas eve, and christmas morning full of presents! At these times we actually get special pj's and specifically plan to wear them at certain times. It is as if pj's tell us, and the rest of the world to go away for a day! We are busy relaxing, and have no plans to go anywhere else. 

So today I challenge you to come up with a bedtime routine that actually works in your life, not something that will just add to your guilt that keeps you up at night. Think about your evenings as time to set the stage for a good night's sleep. 

How do you help yourself fall asleep?


  1. In the dark of winter I find it relaxing to look out at the lights, especially at Christmas, from a dark window. I feel secure and start to relax as I get ready for bed.