Wind Down Evening Routine, For Your Health
Tranquility, peacefulness, relaxation; the state of being free from tension and anxiety is something we all want. Choosing to make healthy decisions in your life can start with baby steps such as an evening routine. The goal with an evening routine is restful sleep, overall health and wellbeing. Bad evening habits will tarnish the quality of your sleep and impair the prosperity of your next day. Remember, each person’s routine is personal and customizable, don’t create a routine that wasn’t meant for you. Here are some examples of what you could incorporate into your daily evening regimen to bring more tranquility into your life.
- Dim the lights and turn off all screens at least an hour before bed. Blue lights in the screen keep our mind engaged and can impact restful sleep.
- Spend around 2 hours with friends and family. Studies show, daily social time of 1.7 hours raises average happiness by about 2 percent.
- Ditch alcohol and excess food. Alcohol and “filling meals” take longer to digest and also make it harder to fall asleep.
- Actively engage in a hobby. We tend to want unscheduled free time for our leisure but given our minds lazy nature research shows you’re likely to waste that time doing what’s easy vs what’s really fun and productive. Try to pick up on a hobby you enjoy and stride to be better at.
- Read between 20 and 60 minutes every night. This helps increase your brains fatigue levels rather than TV because it’s too hard to read and multitask. Your eyes and mind are focused on one activity, slowing down your thoughts and readying your brain for sleep.
- Write in your gratitude journal. Before you go to sleep each night, write down 3 things that happened that day which you’re thankful for. Then write a sentence about why each happened. Research shows the more you think about happy things, the happier you’ll be. Simple as that.
Relaxation techniques are also a great way to help with stress management and health problems such as heart disease and pain. Some benefits of relaxing are lowering blood pressure, improving concentration and mood, and increasing blood flow to major muscles. Try and include the following techniques along with your evening ritual.
- Progressive muscle relaxation is focusing on slowly tensing and then relaxing each muscle group. Start by tensing and relaxing the muscles in your toes and working your way up to your neck and head. Tense muscles for about five seconds and relax for thirty seconds and repeat.
- Visualization is forming mental images to help take a visual journey to a peaceful and calming place or situation. Embody all your senses; smell, sight, sound and touch. For example: imagine you’re on the beach; think about the smell of the salt water, the sound of the crashing waves and the warmth of the sun on your body.
- Autogenic relaxation is both visual imagery and body awareness. You repeat words or suggestions in your mind like imagining a peaceful setting then focus on controlled relaxing breathing.
“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” -Chinese Proverb