Creating new habits and routines is an important part of changing your behaviour.
Routines help you create space in your brain for other things besides worry and making decisions.
That’s because human brains find making decisions exhausting – even the little ones.
So if you’re doing different things every night, and asking your brain to stay in decision mode, it never gets a chance to rest.
Instead, think of routines as pre-made decisions that allow your brain to relax.
When it comes to bedtime routines, lots of women overcomplicate what they should include.
That looks like adding too many external solutions to your bedtime routine instead of focusing on your thoughts, feelings and behaviour.
If you’ve given yourself a 30-day challenge to establish elaborate routines full of new activities like meditating, journalling, yoga and other external things that weren’t part of your daily repertoire before, ask yourself why are you making it so hard?
A bedtime routine shouldn’t require a challenge or deadlines or measuring results!
It should feel simple. Calm. Slow. Almost effortless.
It doesn’t require checklists or timers.
So today, I’m giving you permission today to ignore all that advice, and to throw out all the bedtime to-do lists you thought you needed.
How about calling it your wind-down hour instead of your bedtime routine?
Does that take the pressure off?
The truth is, the only thing that matters is that your wind down hour is relaxing for you.
Here’s what I do:
An hour before I think I’m going to bed, I put my PJ’s on (I love my pajamas!), wash my face and brush my teeth. This way, as soon as my body gives me sleepy signals, I can get right into bed and go to sleep. No more worrying getting ready for bed is going to wake me up!
Then, I spend the rest of my wind down hour doing just that – winding down.
I watch TV, read, talk to my family, or journal if I have thoughts that are making me feel anxious or worried to get them out of my head.
Whatever you choose for this hour is totally fine – as long as it doesn’t raise your heart rate, body temperature or stress level.
So I don’t work, exercise, take a hot bath, or argue with my husband within two hours of bedtime if I can help it.
What would feel relaxing and calming for you?
Try it every night this week.
Throw out the elaborate challenges and requirements and try just winding down for the next 7 nights. And let me know how it goes!