I was speaking with a coaching client this week, and as I listened to her rattle off the list of things she’d done that day, I literally sat back in my chair and exhaled FOR her! She was so wound up I thought she might take off into the air right before my eyes. It was like a triple-caffeinated toddler had taken her place on our call.
As she ran through the list of things still to be done that day and lamented how late she’d probably have to stay up to finish them all, I posed a question that stopped her in her tracks.
“How will you wind down tonight?”
I may as well have asked her how she planned to master time travel! She looked bewildered.
I wasn’t surprised.
Winding down is a lost art.
But there are few things that will do more to help you get a good night of restful sleep and a jump start on the next day than this important ritual.
If you’re currently spending the last hour of your day:
catching up on work on your laptop or iPad
arguing with someone
scrolling through your social media feeds
…then YOU need a wind down ritual!
To craft one, take a look at this starter list I put together to inspire you, and then adapt with your own ideas.
Ideas for Creating a Wind Down Ritual
Clear the space of clutter
Dim the lights and pull the shades
Turn off the TV, the computer, and the phone
Turn on soft music or white noise (I use the Spa music channel on Pandora)
Make a cup of herbal tea or hot lemon water
Take a bath or a shower
Take off your makeup and use an amazing moisturizer
Get into the coziest, softest clothes you own
Use a fragrance diffuser or linen spray that you love to signal that it’s time for rest
Read an uplifting or inspiring book – nothing too heavy or too dramatic
Journal – at a minimum jot down three specific things you are grateful for
Spend a few minutes in silence – meditation, prayer, or just being quiet
Drift off to sleep
In practice, I mix up my wind down ritual from time to time so that I don’t get bored with it, and of course, there are nights when I short-change it because I have an event to attend or a project to finish.
But I can say with absolute honesty that I sleep like a baby every night that I take the time to do it well. And as an extra bonus, that restful sleep is like a secret weapon when it comes to my productivity the next day.
So try it! Design your own wind down ritual – one that is authentic to you.
And follow along with us this week as we explore the other side of your day – that very first hour – and why it matters more than you might think.
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This is based on a blog post originally published July 12, 2016