How to create a calming evening routine with yoga at the heart.
The nights are fair drawing in now, aren’t they? The clocks went back at the weekend and the darkness is drawing in as the weather continues to play havoc with us.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, this is an excellent time of the year to look at our routines and make any tweaks to help us move through the rest of the year in a state of better balance. Autumn is associated with the metal element which is all about structure.
Have a think about your morning and evening routines. How is your day structured? Do you have time to fit in all the things that you know make you feel good, or are you struggling to get out the door in the morning in one piece?
An evening routine is the perfect place to start as it can aid a restful sleep. We are all aware of the benefits of sleeping well at night as it can boost immune response, even out our mood and give us a better sense of focus and concentration throughout the next day. Not to mention, the world just feels better after a good sleep!
Here are my Top Tips to help you create an evening routine that calms you after a busy day and offers you the opportunity to create that positive structure at the end of your day.
- Food – it’s all about the food, eating a balanced meal at the right time in the evening has the ability to either soothe you or make you feel uncomfortable for hours. Look at the time you generally eat your evening meal at and consider if this is the ideal time for you. We should aim to eat 2-3 hours before heading to bed, as this allows plenty of time for proper digestion to take place.
- Preparation is king – take some time to get yourself ready for the next day. This could be organising lunch and snacks, leaving out the clothes you plan to wear or getting anything ready you need to take with you. I like to make a pot of soup at the weekend and freeze it for lunches throughout the week – it saves me time (and money) as I know I always have something healthy, tasty and homemade in the freezer.
- Wash the day away – I love having a shower at the end of the day because it makes me feel as though I’m physically washing everything, I don’t want to carry forward with me to sleep. I can wash away the negativity I’ve collected from myself and others and watch as all the doubts and worries float away down the drain. If I really need a boost, I’ll head for a bath with some Epsom salts – magnesium in the salts can aid a restful sleep and help to de-stress.
- Release the day – strenuous exercise before bed can be counterproductive as it leads to us stimulating the body rather than encouraging it to rest. But a little bit of yin yoga or light stretching is a great way to ease out any remaining tension and tune into the breath. This can also help with a restful sleep. Check out this 10-minute video, which is a great way to help you unwind at the end of the day.
- Meditate – after I’ve physically washed the day away in the shower, it’s important for me to do the same for my mind and this is where meditation comes in. I think of meditation as a daily shower for my mind, cleaning away any negativity I’ve collected and replacing it with some kinder thoughts.
Your evening routine doesn’t need to take hours to complete, it’s simply a way to signal to your brain that it’s wind-down time. Our brains love predictable routine, so if you take the time to create your own evening structure your brain will reward you by slowing down more easily and allowing you to switch off more readily in the evening.