I’m not going to lie, I love me a routine. I love order and lists and schedules. How hilarious then that I decided to trip on down the parenting path, quite possibly the most sure fire thing to grab all your carefully planned schedules and burn them swiftly to the ground while cackling hysterically.
Losing my grasp on structure was HARD. It took me a hell of a lot of time to get my head around the new timings in my life and my inabaility to plan too far ahead. As my kids have gotten older, I’ve managed to welcome a little bit more order back into my days. And oh how I’ve loved it. I now know that 98% of the time we’ll be home at 1pm. Evie will sleep. Ollie will watch the iPad. I will work. I also know that bedtime will fall between 7-8pm 6 nights out of 7. We will eat pulled beef at least once a week. The park will feature in our plans more often than I’d really care to admit. I’ll most likely wear the same pair of jeans at least three times and the same outfit twice. I will change my underwear however.
Mornings, for the most part, are still an unpredictable beast. And that’s always been a bit of a bone of contention for me. I’ve made grand plans over the years to implement a really lovely morning routine to incorporate things like meditation to start my day off in the right way. I’m a sensitive being at heart and starting the day off too frenetically can really throw me for a loop. I’ve found that logging onto social media first thing doesn’t do me or the kids any good. They want my attention, I get drawn into an inane Buzzfeed update about dogs that look like the cast of Game Of Thrones, everybody is hungry, I forget to drink my tea. It’s a downward spiral that I’ve managed to quell by ignoring my phone (apart from text messages. I can’t ignore them. They are my lifeline to the days events and the approximate time I will be caffeinated) until mid morning. This is working well. Everything else is pretty fluid however and I can’t see that changing for the time being, at least until Evie works out when she’d like to wake of a morning and sticks to it on a regular basis.
So I’ve had to shift my wellness expectations and the most logical place to stash them was the evening. After the kids are in bed and the house is quiet and no one is asking me to pretend to be Captain Barnacle or throwing down a brown spotted banana with a contemptuous look. Enter the night time routine. A complexly crafted series of events that will guarantee your health and happiness. It will also cause you to lose 5kg overnight. And wake up with $100000 in the bank. Or it could just help you relax, unwind and settle into sleep a little easier. Same thing really.
This is what I’ve been doing….
- Switching off – I’ve read a lot about these amazing people who manage to switch their phones off at 7pm. They are pretty much deities in my mind. If you’re like me (female, enjoys coffee, bushy brown tail), evening time is when the majority of your pals are actually online AND you can Facebook/Instagram to your hearts content without feeling guilty or having to share your phone with multiple children. So it’s a no-go on the 7pm lockdown but I do shut things down around 8.30/9pm. That’s when I boil the kettle, make myself a cup of chamomile and read/chat to the hubby/watch a repeat of ‘Selling Houses Australia’ to switch of and zone out a little. I also leave my phone downstairs, well away from the bedroom. I’ve always done this but think it’s even more important at the moment while sleep is being a bit disrupted and anxiwty levels are up and down.
- Drinking tea – I am not a massive tea drinker (you can read the WHOLE blog post I devoted to coffee here). I don’t really like the ‘normal’ stuff and while I don’t hate a cup of herbal, it’s not my beverage of choice. Lately however I’ve been reframing tea as a lovely, nurturing finish to my busy day. Viewing it tht was makes it immediately more appealing. Having quit sugar in the past fortnight as well, it’s become my ‘dessert’ for the next little period. Yes, I realise what a completely rubbish dessert a cup of chamomile is and I do feel some shame for that but I’ll be back baking again soon and promise to come up with something slightly more exciting then.
- Meditating – I’ve written extensively about meditation before. It’s that thing that I have in my life that I know is bloody well brilliant for me , that I always exclaim over when I do get into a regular practice but that I let wane more regularly than I should. This is partly because I used to always wait till I was in bed to do it. And I’d fall asleep. Because I am practically comatose as soon as I lay flat these days. Moving my meditation to the couch and doing it just before I head upstairs has meant I actually finish a track before nodding off which I’m rather proud of.
- Gratitude journal – Another thing I’ve written about before and yes it’s got a touch of the ‘go meditate on a bed of crystals’ about it but I actually do find this incredibly useful and enjoyable. Casting my mind backwards over the day usually dredges up some lovely moments I can then share with my husband and reading back through my journal weeks later is seriously one of the most uplifting things I think you can do. So much goodness is infused into the scrawls across my pages. I highly recommend it.
I’ve found my sleep is markedly improved as is my mood the next day when I manage to tick all the above off my list.
I’d love to hear from you.. Do you have a pre-bed routine? Care to share any nuggets of wisdom around restful sleep and unwinding?