The Western world has become a fast pace society, especially noticeable since the new millennium. It’s become more and more difficult to find time, never mind energy, to relax and slow down to recharge our batteries. Even machines can get overheated and stressed out to the point of breaking down if overused too much. We aren’t robots but we have been conditioned to be one. It’s unnatural and we know it, but society seems to demand more from us. It doesn’t encourage proper breaks and relaxation. Eventually we do break down and become sick or ‘out of order’. This is still unacceptable by employers. Our bodies know better though. They will find a way to force us to take a break. But wouldn’t you rather be at home enjoying wellness rather than suffering with sickness?
One easy way to include relaxation into your nonstop routine and increase enjoyment on the weekends is to create a bedtime ritual you can look forward to. Do you like activities such as meditation, journal writing, using candles for lighting, stretching, burning sage and sweetgrass leaves, or a bubble bath and self-massage of your neck and shoulders. Do you ever pamper yourself? Why not? You would feel more human. You would remind yourself what it feels like to be human and you would appreciate being human and not take it for granted. We only appreciate wellness when we don’t have it. Why not prevent illness and appreciate wellness every day?
Sleep is vital and underrated. The health magazines and industry regularly overlook sleep and relaxation. How well do you sleep at night? When I used to teach in primary schools, I learnt that even 8 year olds are having difficulty getting to sleep and often wake up during the night. You can see how high strung even children are. They aren’t taught or shown at home how to relax and slow down. Parents don’t teach them that they don’t always have to be entertained. Both children and adults don’t know how to spend time alone with themselves. Perhaps they don’t see it as taking time to enjoy using their creative talents and their imagination.
One guaranteed daily opportunity to relax is at the end of the day. Bedtime is inevitable. Instead of resisting or avoiding it, see it as the time when you meet your best friend, only this time it is you. Set a time to meet this best friend. Create the preparation routine. It’s not different than prepping yourself to go out to see someone. Decide what you want to do with this best friend: just sit quietly together, listen to relaxing music, write and ‘talk’ about your dreams, goals and problems. Express your feelings to release your frustrations or share your joys. Create the atmosphere in your bedroom, just like you choose the atmosphere of where to meet your friends and family. You create the experience with your human friends every time. Create the experience with yourself before bedtime. You will only choose what you will enjoy.
Bedtime is a time to be gentle with ourselves to help us feel human in a tough world of competition and demands. This is a time to enjoy daydreaming your ideas, solutions, creations, inventions, goals, and desires, or simply do something that relaxes you. How about making this bedtime ritual a regular commitment to taking care of your wellbeing? It is you committing to yourself after all. Below is an example of what you can do to relax before bedtime. Don’t just read it. Pick one or two to apply tonight!
Enjoy your relaxation time! Keep becoming your best friend!
- Take a shower to cleanse the mind, body, and soul for a soothing, clean feeling. A bubble bath is another alternative. Especially when you have kids at home, you can lock yourself in the bathroom to take the time out for yourself. (Make sure there is someone else to keep an eye on the children though.)
- Create ambiance in your bedroom to quiet your mind before going to bed. Use candlelight, incense and relaxing music while doing short breathing exercises, such as Qigong.
- Listen to nurturing music while doing stretches. (Good for blood circulation and releasing muscle tension!)
- Try meditation. (Meditation is not hard work. It doesn’t mean working hard to stop thinking. You can naturally sit comfortably in a chair watching fish in an aquarium or staring out the window.)
- Do something creative for art’s sake, such as colouring a mandala while listening to relaxing music, play an instrument, draw your dream home, or simply write a list of things you are glad that happened to you today.
P.S. Avoid watching or reading anything on the screen of your TV, computer, tablet or smartphone at least one hour before bedtime. The bright screen of these devices imitates daylight and puts your brain off its natural balance, disrupting the biological clock of your body. Your brain also doesn’t have time to transition from an active state to a sleep state.