As the day sets and you’re approaching those final hours of yet another hectic cycle filled with responsibilities, it’s hard to imagine yourself preparing for an intricate evening ritual. That’s the beauty of it: it can be as simple or as complex as you please, it can boil down to a single activity or the lack thereof, and it can change from one evening to another to fit your needs and your mood.
Practicing self-care before bed is a perfect way to give your body and soul the love they need to prepare for a night of restful, restorative sleep. Preparing for another day of challenges. Instead of just lounging in front of the TV or munching on the first snack that falls into your hands, you can take charge of your evening self and transform your wellbeing from yet another angle.
Unwind with a cup of tea
This humble herbal beverage has so many benefits for our long-term wellbeing, as well as our momentary energy levels. It’s used worldwide as a stress-relieving ritual in time for sleep. Instead of caffeinated sips, you can easily find herbal and fruit-infused teas that are perfectly relaxing without elevating your energy and keeping you awake for longer.
The ritual of preparing and drinking tea is an ancient one, and this meditative process alone is enough to keep stress at bay, help you slow down, and immerse your senses into soothing flavors and scents. Night-time options that are best for calming you down include chamomile, peppermint, lavender, and even sleep-inducing valerian. My personal favorite? Lemon balm tea with its refreshing, citrusy aroma.
Transform your evening shower
Showering often becomes a routine we forget to enjoy, despite its potential to calm your mind and relax your body. I have started perceiving my evening showers as an active form of meditation, one that lets me open all of my senses, care for my skin and hair, and prepare my mind for sleep.
I use these 15 minutes to purify my pores and to slather on generous amounts of my favorite oily hair shampoo so that my scalp and my strands feel light and fresh. When you’re choosing your own bath-time essentials, look for natural ingredients such as eucalyptus, aloe vera, and nourishing oils. Let those goodies infuse your brief bed-time shower and you’ll be ready to fall asleep in no time.
Research also shows that a shower before bed helps you sleep. “When you get out of the shower, the water quickly evaporates from your skin, cooling you down—and signaling to your brain that it’s time to sleep.”
Breathing exercises and meditation
Extend your meditative mindfulness into the bedroom, and you can set aside another productive and revitalizing ten minutes of mindful breathing. You would be surprised as to how healing and therapeutic such a simple habit can become. Even if you stick simply to taking deep, controlled abdominal breaths, you’ll reap many rewards.
Take your meditations to the next level by adding a few remedial mantras to shed the negative energy you might have accumulated during the day, and replace it with readiness to sleep and dream all that exhaustion and irritation away. If you’d like, you can make this your final step in your evening routine and do your breathing exercises in bed, under covers, as you envision your little oasis, that perfect escape from all worries. Mine is a mountain cabin porch overlooking the stars as the wind caresses the surrounding trees.
Set the mood in your bedroom
With or without your meditations, working on the atmosphere and energy in your bedroom can make a significant difference when the time comes for you to fall asleep. One of the simplest and most profoundly effective ways you can transform your mood through your senses is to use aromatherapy to add a layer of tranquil fragrances to your space.
Much like with the selection of teas, you can vary between different essential oils to fit your mood and keep your senses intrigued. Lavender is an excellent choice, while earthy sandalwood may be a nice way to create a contrast to your otherwise floral preferences. Consider adding bergamot as well as jasmine, and find various ways to enjoy your oils, whether through diffusers or placing a few drops directly onto your pillow.
Pamper your skin properly
Finally, how you treat your skin before bed can help you alleviate all that stress, harm, and damage caused by various environmental factors such as the sun and the wind. While preventing premature signs of aging. Choose skincare products that are gentle, but effective for your skin type and your skin needs.
Once again, turn to ingredients that come from Mother Nature, including various nutritious oils, rejuvenating acids, and plant-based extracts perfect for sensitive pores. Make it your finishing touch after your long and restorative shower, and you’ll reap the finest rewards from this cleansing ritual.
Every evening has its own notes on different emotions and different needs. Recognize them, and use these rituals as a way to process your day and to transform your nights into a time for cleansing and healing.