Between school, social life, extra-curricular activities, etc., it can be really freaking difficult to find balance in my life. I find myself constantly overwhelmed and working right up until my head hits the pillow each night.
Last semester, I decided I’d had enough. I was constantly exhausted by everything I had to do, and since I never wound down before bed, I wasn’t sleeping great on top of it all. I ultimately decided that I needed a nighttime routine that helped me unwind, but didn’t take a monstrous amount of time, so I could try to still go to bed at a reasonable time. I came up with 5 habits that I aim to do every night (or at least every school night) that help me de-stress, sleep better, and feel more refreshed each morning.
- Clean up for 5-10 minutes
- Fill water bottle before bed
- Update to-do list for tomorrow
CLEAN UP FOR 5-10 MINUTES
Cleaning is a daunting task for me personally. I get overwhelmed thinking about how much there is to do and my executive dysfunction takes over and nothing gets done. To combat this, I have found that the best approach is to start my nighttime routine by setting a timer for 5-10 minutes (depending on how late it is) and I clean my room until the timer goes off.
It’s typically the perfect amount of time to take any dishes downstairs, pick up my laundry, and clear off anything that’s piled up on my bed and desk. This small chunk of time each day ends up making a huge difference throughout the week, because the remaining cleaning tasks are less intimidating. Then I can focus on things like vacuuming and dusting throughout the week without having to set aside several hours in a day to clean my room.
FILL WATER BOTTLE BEFORE BED
Before bed, I always take one last trip downstairs to refill my water bottle and refill the Brita. This started because I usually just need some water to take my nighttime medications with, but it’s ended up serving so many more purposes than just that.
I firmly believe that one of the worst feelings in the world is when you wake up in the middle of the night feeling like Spongebob in Sandy’s house and then having nothing to quench your thirst. If you fill your water bottle before you go to bed, you’ll never face this problem again. Not to mention, I typically save a little bit of water so I can take my morning medications right when I wake up, and because of that, I never forget to take them anymore! This one small action, solves so many of life’s smallest and yet most annoying problems.
Especially during the harsh winter months, it is so important to keep your skin moisturized. I typically use SkinMedica on my face and Hempz Blushing Grapefruit and Raspberry Creme Body Moisturizer on my body. This prevents my skin from getting cracked and chapped, and while the face lotion doesn’t smell like anything, the body moisturizer smells delicious!
UPDATE TO-DO LIST
The beauty of your personal to-do list is that it’s personal to you and you can edit it however you see fit. Every night, I look at my to-do list from that day and figure out what I didn’t get done that day. I reassign it for a later time in the week and set my priorities for the next day. This helps me visualize and mentally prepare for the next day. It also helps me to keep realistic expectations for myself, because if I plan too much one day, then I know to adjust for the next day.
It’s important to remember a to-do list is a tool; it’s not an end-all-be-all list of things that have to be done before you allow yourself to relax for the day. It’s a tool that can require practice. I know when I first started keeping daily to-do lists, it overwhelmed me if I didn’t finish everything. However, with practice and adaptability, updating my to-do list has become an integral part of my nightly routine.
One of my resolutions in 2022 has been to journal more, therefore it’s been the newest addition of my nighttime routine. It’s been a great way for me to reflect on my day and process any emotions I’m experiencing. Sometimes I write in a narrative format, sometimes I just make bulleted lists of things I did and feelings I experienced throughout the day, and sometimes I just draw something to represent how that day went. Having flexibility in my formatting has made journaling a more enjoyable experience and has helped me to maintain this resolution several weeks into the new year.
SO IN CONCLUSION…
So in conclusion, implementing these five habits as a nightly routine has had an incredibly positive impact on my life. I now have structure to my night and a decent amount of time to relax my brain before jumping under the covers. If you use or implement any of these habits in your own life, let me know how it goes! Hopefully it does for you what it’s done for me and helps you de-stress and sleep better.
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