The nighttime ritual to nourish your lifeNov 03, 2021
A successful early rise without the multiple snooze depends a lot on what happens the night before. Your nighttime ritual affects the momentum your morning creates for your day, and then the quality of your evening, which circles forward to the next morning and so on.
Some of the don'ts are obvious: don’t watch the news or scroll social media to bed. Don’t eat late. Those are too much for your body to process; too much agitation where your energy must now break down and digest some heavy stuff when what your body’s natural rhythm really wants to do is go to bed. When you load on more stress each night, your body begins to have trouble falling asleep or sleeping through the night.
What’s less obvious are the self-love rituals. These rituals signal your body to prepare for sleep so that you can ease right into rest and relaxation. The natural rhythms of nature is also on your side, so once you decide to truly participate, the entire universe begins to carry you.
Here’s what I walk many of my clients through. Any or all of these are excellent ways to nurture your mind and body into a calm, relaxed, self-loving, luxuriously safe state:
- Boil water as you brush and floss your teeth. Once it’s boiling, put it in an insulated thermos next to your bed overnight so that when you wake up, it’s hot enough to warm your insides without burning your mouth. In the morning, hold it in your hand, say "thank you for my life," and take a few sips.
For your evening ritual, take a few sips of warm-to-room-temperature water, but not too much. This is your final water intake for the night.
- Put out your yoga mat, meditation cushion, blanket, and whatever else you need to be able to automatically walk to your practice space and anchor into the next morning.
- Take a brief moment to check your calendar for tomorrow, and then be done with it. This should not prompt emails or phone calls. Plug your phone in to charge. Set your alarm if you need to, and silence your phone. No more news, social media, streaming, or starting a new project or serious conversations for the evening.
- Give yourself a warm oil massage (abhayanga). Place a small glass container of sesame oil in the remainder of the boiled water for a few minutes as you lay a clean towel on the floor of your bathroom. If you love baths, run a bubble or epsom salt bath, one without synthetic fragrances (they negatively impact your nervous system). You might turn on some gentle yoga mantra to elevate your soul. Other music can work, but pay attention to the energy of it and observe how it impacts your sense of self and sense of security. You can also light some beeswax candles - the healthiest candles you can use. Wrap yourself in a towel, grab your warm oil, and take it to the bathroom. Sit on the fresh towel on the floor, put some oil on the palms of your hands, and start massaging it into your skin with long strokes (and slow, round strokes around the elbows, knees, belly, and heels) from top to bottom. Sit and meditate for 5-10 minutes. This gives the oil time to draw toxins out through your pores, hydrate your body, and soothe your nervous system. When done, pat off the excess oil with the towel you had wrapped around you, leaving a thin layer. Or, enjoy your wonderful bath and pat dry afterwards.
If you choose not to do abhayanga, run your feet under cold water for 3 minutes, letting your feet lovingly and briskly rub each other. Pat dry and massage some oil into your feet.
- If you need to read, this is not the time to read romance novels, thrillers, or anything that will leave you agitated, analyzing, or processing. Check in with how the material makes you feel on a deeper level. Does it bring on rest and a sense of security? Or agitation, fear and excitement?
- If you’ve skipped #4, consider listening to yoga mantra and chant for 5-10 minutes and/ or do the one simple breath for 3 to 5 minutes. Make sure any light that’s on in the room is soft, dim light.
- Say to yourself: I will get up by (5:45) tomorrow morning.
- Lie on your left side and close your eyes by 10 pm. It supports better sleep for most people.
- Upon first waking up in the morning, if it’s after 4 am and you feel rested and awake, get up. Don’t go back to bed, it’s a big mistake, trust me! Don’t worry about whether or not you’re going to be tired later. You’re going to be tired later if you keep snoozing your alarm later. Better to take a short nap mid-afternoon than to start looking for stimulants or spiraling into a crappy afternoon.
- Start the morning off in meditation. No chores, emails, scrolling, news, or playing any other role in your life if you can help it. Simply connect with your soul, and your ego. You’ll eventually tap into the infinite intelligence that lies within you.