As someone with Type A personality, staying calm and relaxed do not come naturally to me. Unwinding after a long, mentally-stimulating day is especially difficult as my mind is still buzzing with activity. Having a zen state of mind has to be planned and trained. After years of chasing a more peaceful existence, I’ve finally perfected the art of before-bedtime relaxation.
THE VALUE OF BEDTIME RITUAL
What is a bedtime ritual? It’s simply things that you always do before you sleep. Initially, I wanted a better night sleep because I wanted to be more productive. A clear mind is absolutely necessary to improve daily decision-making process and paves way to creating quality work. Unless I have a good night rest, it’s difficult to concentrate and give my best. So it was important to force myself to slowdown before sleep.
Then after easing into a relaxing bedtime ritual, I realise it gives me more peace than I initially thought and a whole lot of joy. I look forward to go to bed more than ever. The simple luxury of doing something special for myself every night makes me feel pampered and loved.
I feel that indulging in a luxurious bedtime ritual is a way of making a statement: everyday is not a drudgery and I’m not another working machine. Everyday is precious and I am worthy of good things.
HOW TO CREATE A LUXURIOUS BEDTIME RITUAL
As I believe in obtaining quality in every aspect of my life, my ideal bedtime ritual should not only be relaxing. I want it to be aesthetically pleasing and add value to my life. So these are the methods that I employed:
1. Decide on a regular bedtime
Find a time to go to bed and stick to it. More importantly, if you decide to sleep by 11 pm, go to bed a little earlier.
What I do: When there’s too much to do, I can only go to bed by 12 midnight, realistically. I’ll try to wrap up things by 11 pm (e.g reply to emails, have light snacks, prepare tomorrow’s meals) and be on my bed by 11.30 pm.
2. Do something relaxing that you enjoy
Find something relaxing that you enjoy to do e.g reading, playing a musical instrument, colouring, chat with a friend etc. Create a space by your bedside to facilitate your interests. Try not to use your tablet e.g play games. Not only the light from electronics disrupts your sleep, you’re likely to check your mail which will make you more anxious than relaxed.
What I do: I typically read. I try to avoid books that are related to my work and occasionally listen to novels on audiobook. Sometimes I play my ukulele. What I try to avoid at all cost is electronic devises like tablets and smartphone. I will eventually check my mail which is obviously not the plan.
3. Make your room smell good
Scent has huge a impact on our feelings. Make yourself smell good. It could be your scented lotion or scented candle. Choose a relaxing scent that aids sleep such as lavender.
What I do: It depends on what I have. I normally use my aromatherapy diffuser. But I interchange it with scented candles or linen spray.
4. Play soft background music
Whether you like music or not, it has profound effect on your feelings. Choose soft music that you enjoy and let it play in the background. It’s very soothing to the ear and soul. If you’re doing something that needs some concentration e.g reading, it shouldn’t be loud and distract you; it should just be playing softly to improve the atmosphere and drown out other noises.
What I do: I like to play slow classical music or instrumental (contemporary songs with lyrics are too distracting). I play it on my phone (which stops me from fiddling with it) and connect it to a portable bluetooth speaker. Normally, I’ll set the alarm on my phone to stop the music from playing after an hour.
5. Light a candle
Depending on what you do, you may want to turn off the bright fluorescent light. Instead, you might want to light a candle. Soft flickering lights sets you in a romantic and calming mood. If you just want to do something that doesn’t requires much sight – e. chat on the phone, listen to music, do light stretching or play an instrument – then this is ideal.
What I do: I put candles around my room – some scented, some not – and place a lighter nearby. This makes lighting candles very convenient. Though I don’t do this as often as I do the rest. It’s something I do only on weekends or when I feel like I need extra love.
Granted, life gets in the way and I don’t get to do it everyday. But I do make a conscious effort to sleep on time and include some of the above methods in my daily life. Believe me, you’ll go to bed and wake up happy, refreshed and motivated. Try it!