Self-care is something that we need to do for ourselves in order to take care of our mental and physical health. There are many different strategies people can use in order to keep themselves healthy. Creating a nightly self care routine is one way to remove stress, restore balance, and reenergizes you after a long, hard day.
What is a self care night routine?
Self care bedtime routines are a sequence of steps you can take to relax and unwind from your day to help lower your blood pressure and calm your mind. Think of it as a dedicated portion of your day where you spend quality time with yourself.
When starting out, create a list of things to do each and every time, so your body can start building habits. Include items like herbal tea, a skincare routine, a warm bath, or a great book. The end goal is to get your mind and body prepared for a night of sleep. And not just any sleep – a night of high-quality sleep.
This bedtime routine can be modified based on whatever you need at that moment. If your body feels achy, then a massage might be perfect for you. Or if you’ve had a stressful day, then maybe upbeat music won’t help you calm down. However, in the end, it’s all about building habits and a set routine that will get your mental state wind down and get ready for bed.
Once you’ve built that habit, you can start adding new things that you’d like to try or experiment with. Just remember, most everything should happen within the hour before bed.
What if I don’t follow a self-care routine?
When you skip out on your consistent night routine, you will find that your body starts to build up cortisol (the stress hormone) instead of calming down and relaxing before bedtime. This can lead to poor quality sleep that leaves you feeling groggy and tired in the morning.
If you go to bed late, then your self-care time can be shortened. Just make sure you’re still getting those good habits in on a regular basis. Doing something special like making tea or writing in your journal is a nice way to treat yourself and set the mood for sleep. Here are some easy examples you can incorporate into your daily life.
Take a warm bath or shower
Taking a warm bath or shower before going to bed can help relax your muscles and prepare for sleep. Getting a nice soak in the tub can help your body and mind wind down from the day.
Watch what you eat and drink
Eating or drinking things with caffeine in them can make it more difficult to fall asleep at night. This includes the cups of coffee you have throughout the day. You should seriously limit your caffeine intake several hours before bedtime. That truly is a form of self care.
Both alcohol and smoking are sedatives, which may help you feel tired enough to fall asleep, but can actually disrupt your sleep schedule later on in the night. Try avoiding these close to bedtime as they can cause you to wake up throughout the night.
Eating too close to bedtime can also make it difficult for your body to fall asleep easily because the digestive process will keep you awake. Try eating dinner earlier in the evening and then avoid eating after 8pm so that you don’t wake up from indigestion. It’s all about balancing your blood sugar and regulating your blood flow when it comes to sleep and maintaining a calming mood.
Drink herbal tea or hot cocoa
As always, drinking a cup of some kind of warm beverage can help soothe your nerves as well as prepare for sleep time. Sipping on some chamomile tea or hot cocoa or even warm milk before bed is a perfect way to help yourself relax.
Practice some mindfulness activities
Mindfulness can be a great way to relax and wind down. Try some breathing exercises or yoga as part of your routine before bed for an extra soothing experience.
Meditate before bed
Calming meditation and breathing techniques before bed can be a wonderful way to get some perspective on what’s going on in your life as well as relax your mind before bed.
If you’ve been having problems sleeping, taking some time every night to just be still and breathe deeply can help clear any mental hurdles that have been distracting you from falling asleep.
There are plenty of books about meditation you can pick up to learn more about how to master this practice that will also outline the benefits of meditation. The practice helps calm your mind and will give you a chance to reflect on the day’s events. It’s also been shown to reduce stress levels, which in turn make it easier for you to fall asleep when your head hits the pillow.
This is a great strategy for stress, especially for those who have a creative mind or an anxious mind. If you’re a beginner and don’t know where to start when it comes to meditating, try looking up some videos on YouTube that can help you learn the basics. There are plenty of great meditation tips for beginners that can lead you in the right direction.
Set your intention for the next day
Set your intention before bed for the next day to help set your mood. This can be anything from an affirmation to yourself (such as “I am capable and I believe in myself”), or a goal you want to accomplish.
This helps get your mind thinking about something positive, which in turn makes it easier for you to go back to sleep once you wake up in the morning.
Adult coloring books
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Adult coloring books are a great way to get lost in thought and enjoy some artistic creativity before bed. Try filling out just a few pages of your favorite coloring book to help clear your mind and soothe any additional stress in your life.
Write in a journal
Writing out what you’re grateful for, or anything that is on your mind can help calm down and get some perspective. This can help clear your head of all those ‘what ifs’ as well as set your mind straight to fall asleep faster at night. Choose a journal that matches your style.
Read a book
Reading can be a great way to relax your mind and body as you wind down for the night. Try reading a few pages of your favorite book and get lost in another world. Please note, it doesn’t have to be poetry or self-help-focused. It could be smut! As long as you are happy, that’s all that matters.
Stretch or do yoga
Taking some time to stretch or do gentle yoga can help your muscles relax and get into a more restful sleep. Yoga is essential to calming the mind because it engages all the chakras.
There are so many benefits to yoga, including relaxation of the mind and body, calming of emotions, an increase in energy, decreasing tension, stress, anxiety…and much more!
Use essential oils
Using essential oils can be a wonderful way to help your body relax. Try using some calming scents like lavender or sandalwood before bed for a better night’s sleep. Other essential oils that are known to calm: Lavender (all forms), chamomile, bergamot, frankincense, and ylang-ylang.
Take a melatonin supplement
Melatonin is a hormone that your body produces on its own to help regulate sleep/wake cycles. It’s also available as a supplement if you’re having trouble with insomnia or other sleeping issues. This is especially helpful if you are someone who works night shifts or has jet lag since it helps bring your internal clock back to normal faster. Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements like this because there could be negative side effects or interactions.
Incorporate crystals into your routine
As always, crystals can be a great way to use natural energies to create more balance in your life. Try putting some calming stones like serenity or amethyst on your nightstand as part of your self-care routine to help bring you into a calm and relaxed state before bedtime.
Crystals Known to Calm: Serenity, amethyst, blue lace agate, Angelite, chrysocolla, moonstone.
Crystal recommendations for naps:: Aventurine (takes away anxiety), blue lace agate (soothes frayed emotions), citrine (boosts energy).
Tidy up your space
Making sure your bedroom is as tidy as possible and removing anything that may be distracting you from falling asleep can help prepare you for bedtime.
Set up your room with all the items that will help you sleep more soundly, such as a diffuser with oils or some music to listen to. Make sure there are no lights or screens around that can keep you up so that your room is as dark and relaxing as possible.
Using aromatherapy in your bedroom right before bedtime can help you relax even more. Try lighting up some candles with calming scents like lavender, vanilla, sandalwood, or jasmine to help yourself wind down at night.
Don’t feel discouraged if you have a hard time falling asleep right away, especially if it’s been an unusually tiring day for you. Your body needs to know what to expect before bedtime and slowly getting into the good habits of self-care can make it easier for you to sleep soundly.
Skip Social Media
Taking some time away from social media and having a relaxing evening with yourself can help wind down your mind. It’s important to unplug at night so that you can focus only on relaxation and getting a better night’s rest.
How often do I need to take a self-care night?
This really depends on the person and their emotional well-being. The extra time you spend caring for yourself could happen every day, multiple times a week, or just on nights you feel you need it most.
If you are feeling highly stressed, or experience insomnia, then participating in a self care night routine on a regular basis might be best. It can help you break patterns of negative stress and start to build those good habits that produce better sleep. How you define your routine for anxiety is entirely up to you.
Remember, this isn’t about building up a beauty routine, it’s more about a calming self-care routine. People can spin the bubble bath and the skin exfoliating anyway they want – but it’s really about winding down and honoring yourself, unplugging from the stresses of the outside world, and just being alone with your thoughts. You deserve that.
If you have more time available, like if you’re retired or have extra days off work, then it could even be every day. You might not want to do everything on the list every day, but you can pick a few things speak to you.
Consider this a daily practice, even if just for 5 minutes before bed. By doing so, it helps your body and mind get more restorative sleep during the night. We benefit most from healthy sleep. The last thing we need to feel is anxiety before sleep!
What Makes a Good Self Care Routine?
Creating a routine and sticking to it is an important aspect of maintaining your mental health. A good self care routine is one that has more to do with maintaining a healthy lifestyle rather than putting on fancy masks or lotions. They usually consist of little things that make you feel good and help you recharge your batteries mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Having a self care routine is essential because it shows that you are taking the time to relax and focus only on yourself for once. Scheduling out time just for yourself is important because if you don’t give yourself any ‘me’ time what will happen? You’ll end up stressed out and unable to handle your day-to-day life as well as having no energy left over in the long run.
How do you start?
The first step towards creating your own self care routine is to sit down and try to identify all the things that are important to YOU when it comes to taking care of yourself.
Doing this can help you create more balance in your life because you’ll be able to show yourself how much you really matter, so take some time out of your day tomorrow and write down everything that pops into your head when thinking about what makes up a good self-care regimen for you.
Some questions you might think about:
- When do I feel most relaxed?
- When am I at my best?
- What daily tasks make me feel good about myself?
- Do I need to schedule more time for myself?
- Do I always get enough sleep?
- Do I feel like I have good energy levels throughout the day?
Once you’ve written down your answers, try creating a nightly routine that can help you achieve some of these goals. Keep it simple and think about what would be easiest for you to put in place first.
For example, if sleeping well is important to you then start by setting yourself a bedtime so that you know when to crawl into bed at night. Make sure that your room is dark and quiet, turn off your screens (mobile phone, TV etc.), set out any lotions or perfumes that will help you relax, and make getting early night part of your daily routine.