All throughout these months
as the shadows
this blessing has been
It has practiced
walking in the dark,
its eyes closed,
feeling its way
by the pull of the moon
even as it wanes.
So believe me
when I tell you
this blessing will
even if you
have not light enough
to read it;
it will find you
even though you cannot
see it coming.
You will know
the moment of its
by your release
of the breath
you have held
of the clenching
in your hands,
of the clutch
around your heart;
of the darkness
that had drawn itself
does not mean
to take the night away
but it knows
its hidden roads,
knows the resting spots
along the path,
knows what it means
in the company
of a friend.
this blessing comes,
take its hand.
Set out on the road
you cannot see.
This is the night
when you can trust
that any direction
you will be walking
toward the dawn.
© Jan Richardson. janrichardson.com
The sweetness of the holiday season is just around the corner. Can you taste it? Or maybe you start to feel your heart rate increase as you think about all the to-do's on your list that still need to be done.
One thing to remember as we swing steadily into this time of richness, sparkles, and family is that...
Everything is a choice!
Here are four of the best choices to make while you gather, eat and celebrate the cheeriest of seasons.
What are some of your favorite self care tools during the holiday?
Having a good tomorrow, starts with what you do tonight!
Honestly, I've never really contemplated having a bed time routine. To me, sleep has always been important, something that was a non-negotiable. When my mind starts shutting down, usually around 10pm, I literally cannot keep functioning normally. That's when I go to bed.
All that being said, this was before a life filled with technology. It has been about 14 months since I've slept in the same room as my phone. A screen is not the last thing I see before I go to sleep, nor is it the first thing I see when I wake. And let me tell you how liberating, and nourishing that has been for my intentional bed time routine.
In the last 14 months, I have learned so much about what having a Bed Time Routine looks like, feels like and means for a mindfully nourished lifestyle. Here are some of my most favorite things to do before falling asleep.
I rarely take time to read an actual book, but when I do it is before I go to bed. The act of letting my eyes scroll left to right, rather than top to bottom, on a surface that doesn't light up, puts me to sleep usually after just one chapter, and sometimes less.
One thing to note is that the sleep experts recommend reading outside the bedroom. Once you get sleepy, then relocate to your bed to fall asleep. This helps you associate your bed with only sleep, rather than being enthralled in the latest mystery novel.
Have a hard time going to bed on time? One thing to try is to set what is called a "Bed Time Alarm." This is a reminder to shut down the electronics, and start winding down from your day. See suggestions below for what are good ways to do this.
Not sure what time you need to go to bed to feel your best? Here's a simple equation to follow.
What time you need to wake up for your morning routine and how many hours of sleep you want to get.
For example, here's my equation: Wake up at 7:30am with 9 hours of sleep = In bed by 10:30pm, Bed Time Alarm at 10pm.
Think about trying to sleep in the heat of the summer without air conditioning. It's nearly impossible, isn't it? The best temperature to get great sleep is around 65 degrees.
The external environment is just one piece to the sleeping well puzzle. A couple things that can increase your body's temperature, causing you to toss and turn all night, are eating heavy meals right before bed and relying on an alcoholic night cap to fall asleep. Mid way through the night, when you start to digest, your body temperature increases. I don't do this often, but I always, without exception, wake up a couple hours after going to bed feeling uncomfortable, sweating, and have a hard time going back to sleep.
Tip: Try to eat at least a couple hours before you go to bed and have an herbal tea night cap instead of your favorite adult beverage.
What winds me down from the day may or may not work for you...but here are my go-to activities to unwind before bedtime.
1) Take a warm bath. If even for 5 minutes. Add a few drops of lavender, geranium, or clary sage essential oils.
2) Find stillness. While sitting on the floor, in your bed, or on the couch. Fall in love with your breath for 2 minutes.
3) Lay on the floor, with your legs up the wall. Put your hands on your belly and notice your breathe in your belly,
4) Write for 10 minutes. Set a timer and just let your pen flow over the paper. Get out your thoughts from the day.
Like the idea of writing before you hit the hay, but don'e know how to get started? Be grateful. Visualize what happened in your day that fill you gratitude. You can write these down or it can be a mental practice. Embody this thankful nature for things small like the smell of your morning coffee or big like engaging in work that you love. It all counts!
Tip: Start with writing or saying "I'm Grateful..." then follow it with "I'm Grateful for this because..."
Do you have specific questions about your bedtime routine that you want to get answered? Or want help brainstorming ideas to get better sleep. Check out the Revive Your Day Workshop for more info.
Find out what your biggest bedtime challenge is by clicking below.
In my world, evenings are sacred. Well, I actually believe that my entire day is sacred. But at the end of the day, when I'm done with work and my professional responsibilities are done, I make time to be present by following these ABC's (MNOPQ's).
How are your evenings? Do you want to choose to make them calmer, but don't know where to start? The button below will give you early access to Reclaim Your Day, a method to balance your busy schedule. It's an option to begin the process of designing the day of your dreams. Every. Single. Day!
Eating mindfully brings me to the present moment, every single time. I get to taste the foods in my mouth, their textures, temperatures, and notice the speed at which I chew. This way of consuming food forever changed the relationship I have to food. It gives me permission to eat when I'm hungry, to eat till I'm full enough, and to enjoy the act of eating. I no longer feel guilty for eating what I choose or feel disconnected from my body when I eat.
**Simple Tip: Sit down to eat and take three deep breaths before you begin eating. Notice how it changes your experience of nourishing your body.
Just like you, I have days like these. Mama said there would be days like these. And she was right! The ones where I'm exhausted, haven't had a break and just want to pour a huge glass of wine, or two, and numb myself from feeling anything. Just like you, I will do exactly that some days. But before I do, I make sure it's a choice, rather than a reaction, habit or pattern that isn't serving me. If I observe that I've done that too many days in a row, I'll opt to take a bath, write in my journal, or have a nice cup of herbal tea instead. These options let me decide what is best for me, rather than just imbibing because it's "what I always do."
**Simple Tip: Before you go to the bottle, or whatever your vice is, next time you have one of those days, ask yourself "What would it feel like to choose something else tonight?"
Making conversation after a long day doesn't have to be like pulling teeth. I've found that the way questions are asked makes all the difference in the world. In my family, my wonderful mom is known for asking 20 questions to get all the information out of us...but they were usually yes/no questions. She wouldn't get the information she was looking for, so she just kept asking. Now that I'm in the business of asking questions, I want them to be thought provoking, high mileage questions.
**Simple Tip: Ask these questions to get your next family conversations started.
For most of the day, the task list is dictated by someone, or something else, other than our passions. The evening is a great time to ignite desire towards what you love. One of my favorite Rumi quotes says, "Let the beauty that you love, be what you do." In the evenings, I carve out time to cook, play board games, teach yoga, journal, connect with dear friends, and have date nights with my sweetie. These are all things that I love, and I make time for them. Again, it's a choice to plan these into my week.
**Simple Tip: Look at your calendar for the next week. When can you spend time in the way you want? Schedule it!
I'm a huge advocate of spending quality time with others, and even with myself for that matter. It is my top Love Language, which means that's how I want to love and be loved. If you spend intentional time with me, you'll win my heart over forever! How many of you come home, plop down in front of a screen and give your half-assed attention to those you love? May I suggest something different?
**Simple Tip: Make a family rule to turn off electronics for at least an hour during the evening so you can actually eat mindfully, stop being distracted, have open conversations, learn about each others passions and spend some quality time together.
These are just a few ways that let me choose how I spend my day. What are some of the ways you unwind from your day? Share them below.
Want to learn more? Sign up for a Reclaim Your Day Workshop!
By now you've probably gathered that my day has mindful self care sprinkled throughout. It's not that I take an entire day off to treat myself. I truly believe that mindfully nourishing myself can, and does, happen every day. I talked about some aspects that create my Wake Up Routine, Mid Morning Routine, and Lunch Routine in previous posts. This week's post is dedicated to a time of day that is the most difficult for me to find routine in. So as I write this, and as you read, please take these ideas, suggestions, encouragements with a grain of salt, as I also truly believe that there are exceptions to absolutely everything. But when I'm on, and things are groovin', these ABC's (or JKL's) will always show up during my afternoon routine.
Just like I mentioned in my Mid Morning Routine, daylight is important to feel alert. This is true in the afternoon as well. I love taking walks just after lunch. My body feels lighter, my mind is clearer, and from questionnaires that I've been sending to an special group of Reclaim Your Day fans, some feel anxious, overwhelmed, and fidgetey during lunch. A great way to ground those sensations is to breath fresh air, feel your feet on the earth, and to soak up the natural light in the afternoon.
**I'm taking my own advice this afternoon and going for a walk around the block in the rainy PNW before I continue writing the rest of this post.**
For most of us, the afternoon is a time of distractions, interruptions, and low productivity. Returning to work after lunch usually entails checking social media, fumbling around for the next task to complete, and getting interrupted by others making sure you received the latest "TPS Report." Am I right?!
Imagine what it would be like if you had a mindful plan of action when you came back to your desk. One that encouraged you to work on a project with total engagement. Maybe even some excitement. Okay, let's not go that far. But what I'm encouraging is to know when to say no. The late Steve Jobs once said: “Focus is about saying no.” No to endless scrolling. No to needless distractions. No to useless conversations. Here are a few suggestions of how to set these boundaries.
When you are interrupted by someone or something else, use these time management tools to help you out.
When you are your own worst distraction, play with this option to hold yourself accountable.
Recognize that your time is valuable. If you are distracted by constantly saying yes than you are giving your value away for free. Just something to think about.
The afternoon slump can be a real thing. Especially if you stay inside, behind your desk, getting interrupted every 15 minutes. Turning to your trusty cup of coffee seems like the only thing to keep you alive, alert, and enthusiastic, right?!
Not for me anymore. There was a time when the 3pm coffee run was what I thought I needed, but after tuning into my real needs, I learned that I am super duper affected by caffeine. If it have it after 11am, I have trouble falling asleep. This consequence was enough for me to decline the mindless invitation (aka distraction), and figure out what I really needed. When I started giving myself permission to get outside, eat a nourishing lunch, limit distractions, engage in interesting work, this break wasn't needed anymore.
What would you like to incorporate into your afternoon routine so that caffeine isn't the only option?
Not sure how to get started? I'd love to help you build an afternoon routine that energizes you and leaves you feeling vibrant! Click below to gain early access and receive discounts to Reclaim Your Day, a method to balance the crazy busy of your schedule.
What is your biggest workday challenge?
I am on the journey to create joy and live with full happiness. And my wish for you is to do the same!
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