Nighttime Wind Down Routine.
My stress level in the past two years has been at an all time high (my current physical health is a direct result of the stress). There was a time in my life that I would journal before going to bed, but of course, with a family time for self is hard to come by without intentionally making it a priority. I moved away from having a night time routine and would go to bed after watching my favorite Netflix show, scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, or would lay down with the issues of the day on my mind causing me to worry. My sleep has been affected, my stress level is high and it is time for a change.
For 2017, I’ve challenged myself to take care of myself in mind as well as my body and spirit. As a result of this challenge to take care of my mind, I have implemented a goal that at the end of each day I will give myself some time to wind down with a night time routine or, as some would coin, a “night time ritual.” This is an hour set aside before bedtime that I take in quiet peace to release the cares of the day through journaling and meditation as well as listening to instrumental music. This is my way of returning to a balanced state.
Journaling is not a foreign concept to me—like I said I did it routinely in my prior life so I can recall the benefits of this practice. Journaling allows the mind to reflect on the day and the feelings surrounding it. It allows the mind to reflect on the things that you are grateful for in the day and the things that can be done better moving forward. After journaling my spirit was better for it. By the time my journal was filled, I was able to look back and see the awesomeness of God, the challenges that I overcame with His help and the victories He provided, and the growth that occurred during that time.
Meditation is new for me. I am a Christian. The Bible discusses meditation. However, I have not practiced meditation. Some would say that meditation is not a spiritual concept but a scientific concept. I have not come to a true conclusion on the matter as I have not studied meditation from a scientific standpoint in order to draw a conclusion. But maybe its both. Once I learn more I will share my thoughts about meditation with you. For now, here is what I have learned about meditation as it relates to the mind. When you meditate the mind is clear, relaxed and focused inwardly and not on external things of the world. It’s a way to train the mind to limit distraction and not get caught up in its endless rewinding of thoughts.
Honestly, meditation is hard. It is really hard. It is really hard because I’m that chick that rewinds conversations, thoughts, and issues. I rewind how I could have said something, did something, or not did something, etc. etc. etc. The past couple of days I have tried to do some guided meditation as well as quiet meditation. I am having a hard time training my mind to be still and be quiet. In fact, I think every thought that I can possibly think of appears and every itch arises causes me to want to scratch when I meditate. I am hopeful that as I learn more and meditate more that this will change. But right now…..the struggle is real!
I love music. I love it with a passion. But one of my first loves is neo soul music. This would include Erykah, Jill, Les Nubians, Raphael Saadiq and others. Their music calms my spirit. One thing I’ve discovered though is that when I journal, I don’t want to hear the words to the music. I feel that the words hinder my attempts to empty my mind. So I’ve taken on a love for the instrumental versions and sip on my favorite beverage while enjoying the sounds. Same calming effect but not hindering my ability to empty my thoughts.
In your efforts to find balance it may be that you need to whip out a journal, turn on some music, learn to meditate and drink your favorite beverage. But you must intentionally and consistently make time for yourself. A lot of time we pour ourselves into people or issues and ignore ourselves in the entire process. After dealing with the cares of the world, nurturing our families and building our careers, if there is nothing left in you— you have nothing left to give. A night time routine is a great way to start filling your cup. Take the time!
Check out the recipe for my Golden Milk here that you see in the picture! This milk is delicious and is a perfect pairing for your nighttime routine.
Do you like cake?
Of course you do! How about vegan chocolate cake? Download the recipe here, then access other recipes on my Sol Kissed Recipes page.