An Evening Routine

Do you overstimulate yourself to sleep?

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It used to take multiple screens to get me to sleep, an episode of something I've seen a million times in the background, flipping through blogs on my iPad, chatting with friends on my iPhone, often while mindlessly snacking until eventually I would reach peak stimulation and pass out rather than falling asleep.

This, to say the least, did not serve me. I would wake up from a night of digesting information and food feeling like I'd gotten no sleep at all. 

This serves me better:

Make a small mug of tea. Chamomile is nice. 

Small is crucial here or you'll be up in a few hours to get rid of that tea. When you sip it, focus exclusively on the heat of the mug under your fingers and nose, the mild aroma of the herbs, the sensation of fluid moving across your tongue and down your throat.

Journal

I aim for 5 hand-written pages a day. It doesn't matter what I write - whatever comes to mind, often what happened that day or what I want to happen the next day, sometimes reliving experiences I wish had gone differently (often these are meaningless interactions in which I suffered from what the French call l'esprit d'escalier - the perfect comeback that arrives in your brain way too late). 

Meditate

Sometimes I put on a sleep meditation, but often I'll turn on a fan and a mantra (om namah shivaya is a nice one) until sweet sleep comes.

Sleep backwards

The first night or two may feel odd, unanchored, but sleeping with your feet towards your headboard and several feet of space behind your head increases your subtle body energy flow while you rest.

 

A Morning Routine

I like to ease into my mornings. I like to coax the morning out slowly, like a new-souled bird from its egg. I like some time to merge the depths of the subconscious with the superficiality of awakened life. Here's how I do it:

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If you're gonna sleep in, sleep in. If you're gonna get up, get up.

Your body has a natural wake-up time. Between 4 and 6 am, my body naturally wakes up regardless of what I've done to myself the night before, so I get out of bed with the full intention of getting back into bed. Sometimes I do, sometime I don't, but giving myself that option is the only way I'll pull myself out of my cocoon regardless of how badly I have to pee.

So I'll pee and brush my teeth and splash water on my face and take stock of things. If I'm going back to bed

(because I'm tired and want more sleep)

(because the dream I was having is lingering)

(because I want to)

I'll make myself incredibly comfortable and read an easy book. Sometimes, I fall back into a very sweet sleep. 

Sometimes, I'll put on a morning playlist to make a pot of tea.

Sometimes, I'll bundle up and walk to the beach.

The point is: I make the decision when I wake up, not before. This is a newfound luxury most of us don't allow ourselves. The snooze button removes this option. Don't let it. Get out of bed when your body calls for it. 

Drink some water

I always feel best when I drink some alkaline water with a heaping tablespoon of my anti-inflammatory tonic (turmeric, lemon, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne, blended: full recipe to come!) within a few minutes of getting out of bed. If I need to begin my day immediately, this is the surefire way to get me moving without crashing.

Sit

I meditate. Every morning, though I go through phases with different forms of meditation:

sometimes guided in a restorative yoga posture,

sometimes silent curled up under the covers,

sometimes chanting seated on mounds of pillows,

sometimes breathing in no particular shape or place, 

sometimes, a moving meditation, yoga, a dance, a slow walk along the cold sand, the journey of tea from its mug over my tongue.

Feed your body what it wants

I am not hungry in the mornings, and sometimes I won't eat, and sometimes I will. I always feel better when I eat something plant-based and warm. Currently, my favorite breakfast is a corn tortilla blackened over a gas range, folded around half an avocado mashed with a tsp of turmeric and lemon pepper, spritzed with citrus, topped with whatever sprouts I have around, doused with Cholula. It takes 10 minutes from start to clean (video recipe to come!). 

Now, what do you need to do?

Once you've taken care of your basic needs: how do you want your day to go?

Some days, this requires a schedule, a list of to-dos, a regiment. Take some time to review your day before you start it. Make your lists. Confirm appointments. Gather the items you'll need with you throughout  your day.

Some days, this requires no decisions. You get to go with the flow. You get to decide if you're going to see a movie, run an errand, bake something comforting, without needing to do anything. 

Go on. Live your life. 

Know you've prepared yourself perfectly for what awaits.