Hopefully you are well on your way to having a healthy, happy morning from our last post. If you can start the day strong, it can positively affect the rest of your day!
But it doesn’t have to stop there. Having a healthy, happy evening is also important, and there are things you can do to set the stage for a restful evening and rejuvenating sleep.
Here are just a few of my favorite ways to unwind, relax, and prepare for bed and the day ahead.
1) Prep for Tomorrow
There’s nothing quite as stress relieving as doing a little prep work in the evenings to make the mornings run smoothly. I have often skipped this in the past, and then I find that I have a hard time falling asleep, because I’m thinking of all the things I have to do the next day.
Doing a little prep work can make a big difference in how the rest of my evening goes. Here are a few of the things I like to do before retiring for the evening:
- Make sure the kitchen is cleaned up: Wipe down counters, run dishwasher, etc. No one wants to come down to a dirty kitchen in the mornings!
- Do a 5-minute pick up session: Have everyone in the house pick up for 5 minutes (toys, paperwork, clothes, etc.). It’s amazing what you can get done in 5 minutes when everyone pitches in, and you can go to bed with a clean house!
- Check your schedule for the day ahead: Mentally prepare for appointments, chores, meetings, and errands that need to be done the next day. This is also a good time to look at your priorities and goals for the day ahead and make sure you are on track.
- Set yourself up for success: Have coffee supplies ready to go for next morning. Set out your Bible and devotional material. Have your workout clothes ready to go. Do a little prep work the night before to ensure your success at getting things done in the morning!
All of this should take no more than 15 to 20 minutes every evening, yet it can make all the difference in the rest of your evening and the next morning.
2) Choose at least one way to relax and unwind.
Learning to intentionally relax and unwind after a full day is a very beneficial practice for both body and mind. And it can also help you to experience deep, rejuvenating sleep.
Here are just a few of my favorite ways to unwind and de-stress:
- Take a hot bath: I like to make it a spa-like experience and add epsom salts and lavender oil to the bath water. Epsom salts contain magnesium (an essential mineral many people are deficient in), which is known as the “stress-relieving” mineral. Studies have shown that both magnesium and lavender are very helpful sleep aids. You can also listen to calming music and light candles in the bathroom to make it even more relaxing. I love these candles from Pacifica – they are non-toxic and made with soy wax and essential oils. They smell amazing!
- Try a relaxing “Nighttime” tea: One of my favorite teas to drink at night is Honey Lavender Stress Relief tea by Yogi. It combines chamomile, lemon balm, and hints of lavender and mint for a delicious, relaxing tea. I always sleep better when I drink this tea. I also love to make a “magnesium tea” with this award-winning magnesium drink by Natural Vitality. It tastes like a hot lemonade and works quickly to relax the body and mind.
- Give Yourself a Facial: Take time to thoroughly cleanse and exfoliate the skin. Use your favorite facial mask and leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes. This is a real treat for your skin! Combine this with a hot bath, and you will get a full spa experience.
- Read: Reading a good book or your favorite magazine is a great way to slow down and calm the mind for bed. Just make sure the book is not intense or it will have the opposite effect!
3) Read Scripture and Pray
There is no better way to fall asleep than with God’s word marinating in your mind. This is the perfect time to review Scripture you are trying to memorize and pray over it. I have fallen asleep many times as I am praying to the Lord. I pray over the day past and I pray about the day to come. Committing all my worries and cares to Him before sleep helps to calm my mind, and I sleep much better knowing that He is watching over and protecting me even as I sleep (Psalm 121:4, Psalm 127:2).
Practice what author Ken Boa calls the “H.W.L.W.” habit – His Word the Last Word, before drifting off to sleep. You can write verses out on index cards or in a prayer notebook and review them each night before bed. This will ensure peaceful sleep as you focus your mind on the Lord (“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.” Isaiah 26:3).
How about you? What are your favorite ways to unwind and relax in the evenings? I’d love to hear about them!