Psychological Health

Creating a Nourishing Night – How to End Your Day with Purpose

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Nourishment – substance necessary for growth, health, and good condition. 

If you read my article on how to create a Mindless Morning, you have the tools necessary to make your morning less anxiety provoking.  Awesome!  Hopefully, you’ve added fitness as a habit and also MADE the time to workout.  Now that you’ve had an awesome day, it’s time to cap off your night with nourishment.  

No sense in having a great day, just to dick around aimlessly once you get home.  We’ve all been there.  Walk in the door, throw your work bag on the floor and sit on the couch.  Fire up the TV and hop on the gram,  Hell, while you’re at it you hit up Uber eats and order a steak burrito from the local taquaria.  You muster up the energy to take a shower and crawl into bed.  Your work brain is still restless and you can’t unwind.  You hop back on your phone and mindlessly fart off for what ends up being another two hours.  One YouTube search turns into a marathon session.  Sound familiar?  It does to me!

This evening sucks for so many reasons.  You have stopped being productive.  Haven’t tended to YOU (or your family if you have one) since you got home.  You have totally checked out from reality.  Many people still need some time to process the events from the day.  Life passes us by so fast, not reflecting on your day is easy to do.  

What I suggest in this article is that you do the opposite of your “mindless morning”.  Create a way to be mindful about what you are doing before bed.  Reflect on the day, and create a routine that is productive, relaxing, and satisfying.  Creating this for yourself will help you to understand what you did on that day, help you sleep at night, and help prepare you for ANOTHER awesome day!  Here are my suggestions.

YOU WALK IN THE DOOR:

You are still in work mode.  Your mind is wound up and all over the place.  Take advantage of this!  Utilize this crazy state of mind to be productive while you can.  If not, you’ll slowly start to unwind and waste time.

First, you should have meals prepared for your week so that you don’t have to put much effort into cooking EVERY night.  That can get exhausting quick!  The stress and anxiety around what to eat, where to eat it, how much it will cost, etc can really become a huge weight on your shoulders.  Lift that weight off ASAP!  Here’s a quick article on suggestions for how to meal prep and make this part much easier for you. 

After nourishing your body with healthy food, it’s time to clean your body.  I know after a long day’s work I feel nasty as hell!  Do this ASAP so you can feel clean and well.  I notice when I delay taking a shower, I delay everything else.  Every moment that passes that you are not in the shower, it gets more and more difficult to actually get in the shower!

SET SOME TIME FOR REFLECTION:

With a spouse, children, and pets, it can be difficult to work this one in.  You definitely need to prioritize family time and caring for your children.  But setting aside some time to process the day’s activities can help a ton with self awareness.  Also, anything negative that happened to you can be addressed during this reflection. 

Often times, we hold on to grudges, negative energy, etc and it carries over into our home life, relationships, and sleep.  Reflecting on this can be a helpful tool to unwind.  The same can be true for positive moments in your day.  What do you have to be grateful for?  Who are you thankful for in your life today.  What are some areas you need to improve upon? 

These are pretty simple, yet deep, questions that can be answered fairly quickly and do not require much time at all.  The answers don’t have to be ground breaking.  In fact, rarely will they be earth shattering, life altering moments.  But all of the small ones add up quick and you will soon be filled with positive thoughts, emotions, and feelings. 

Start off with simple, 5 word answers to some of these sample questions.  I am a huge fan of the “5 Minute Journal”.  The book has a very similar format to what I just provided above.  They are simple, straight forward questions that change every day.  Check it out!

PEFORM A NIGHT TIME ACTIVITY THAT PRIMES YOUR BODY FOR SLEEP

We’re all familiar with Pavlov’s Dog’s theory, also known as classical conditioning.  It’s where your mind associates certain stimulus with something that is going to happen soon after.  For example, imagine hearing the frying sound of bacon on a pan.  Even without the smell, you may start to salivate a little because you associate the frying sound with tasty bacon.  Yum!

Using this knowledge, you can create an activity that prepares your mind for sleep.  I prefer to use a physical activity so you can prepare your body and mind.  My personal favorite is sex.  For myself, and many, the effects of sex are incredible for relaxation, mental clarity, and re-connecting with your partner after a long day.  The positive effects of sex are well documented, especially when it comes to helping you fall asleep. “After orgasm, the hormone prolactin is released, which is responsible for the feelings of relaxation and sleepiness” after sex, says psychiatrist Sheenie Ambardar, MD.

My second favorite, is a static stretching routine.  This doesn’t have to be long.  10 minutes will do the trick.  If there is no glaring problem with your body mobility wise, focus on the lower back, shoulders, and hips during this time.  These are areas that often times get tight DURING SLEEP.  Stretching before bed will help loosen you up so that you don’t wake up stiff and tight.

I personally use ROMWOD.  For about $13 a month, you get access to hundreds of stretching routines.  I find this effective because I don’t have to create my own routines.  I can just click on the daily routine, or pick out body part specific routines and not worry about it.  This is what I prefer at night, right before bed.  For tips on how to stay mobile throughout your day, read this.

Other examples of sleep primers are reading, meditation, journaling, or any other hobby that you enjoy doing.  I try to stay away from anything on electronics.  For example my blog and website.  If I work on this right before bed, I am royally fucked.  My mind will be racing on so many new ideas and I won’t be able to sleep.  Try to avoid this at all costs.  If you must be on electronics right before bed, check out these glasses that you can wear to block out the blue light on electronics so your pineal gland doesn’t get effected.  

IT’S CRUNCH TIME

With little time to create this nourishing night, you need to prioritize.  What is most important to you?  Pick 3 things and implement a way to incorporate them for YOU.  I am not talking about the time spent walking the dog, changing diapers, taking trash out, or being a great support system for your significant other.  I’m talking about three things that you are going to do for YOU to help unwind, and set yourself up for success the next day.  If your life is so busy that you cannot find time for 3 things, start with just one thing the first month.  Then add one self care activity every month until you are at three.

Health care 101, no care giver can take care of others unless they are first taken care of themself.  You must do this!  

If you need any other advice for YOUR personal situation, please reach out!  I’d love to hear from you!

*Photo taken from eatthis.com

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