6 Ways to Relax Your Mind for a Good Night’s Rest
If I know one thing about #kitgirls, it’s that we all have a ton on our plates. We have to get the kids to school, before leading the business that we started out of our garage, before doing a load of laundry, before getting a meal on the table. Oh, and we’re supposed to be getting a good workout in there somewhere, right?
With all of the go, go, go, it’s no wonder that we sometimes struggle to relax our minds in the evenings. Our minds are so used to constantly churning and coming up with new, brilliant ideas, that they don’t know how to silence themselves when the time is right.
As Geoffrey M. Glunkman says, “Feel your emotions, live your true passions, keep still your mind.” In order to efficiently and effectively move towards our visions, we must be able to calm our minds and allow them to relax for a bit, too.
In times when our minds seem especially engaged, here are six ways that we can relax our minds to achieve a good night’s rest.
Plan your day the night prior
Oftentimes, when my mind seems to be moving at a million miles per minute, it’s because I’m thinking of everything I have to do the next day. Call this person, email that person, pay the bills, ship product to new customer, and so on. It’s no wonder that our minds can’t stop moving when we’re just keeping a tally of our to-do lists.
Instead of waiting to plan your day until the morning, write down your to-do list the evening prior. Then, lay out your day, hour-by-hour, making sure that your big three are taken care of across your work day. Having your whole list of things to do written down and ready to go will free your mind to allow it to rest and dream.
Practice deep breathing and meditation
One of my favorite methods to relax my mind – when I go to bed in the evenings, during the middle of the day, or both – is to practice deep breathing. Breathe in for a count of five, hold it there for a count of five, then exhale for a count of five. This slow rhythm of breadth allows you to slowly release stress and tension.
Pro tip: If you’re still struggling to concentrate on your breadth, then slowly count your breadths until 10, then starting back at one. This will transition your mind to only think about your breadth, rather than what you had going on across the day.
Write what you’re grateful for in the “Gratitude” section of your journal
At times when our minds are stressed or filled with tension, they’re actually being filled with fear. Fear about our next step. Fear that we’re not moving fast enough. Fear that we made a wrong decision throughout the day. Fear of the boogeyman. There are any number of things that we can be “afraid” of each and every day. But the truth is, many of our fears are irrational and are just holding us back.
To settle your mind before you relax in bed, write down something that you’re grateful for that occurred throughout the day. It can be something small, or something that changed the entire direction of your life, but try to write down something different each and every day. Some days this will be easier than others, but writing what we’re grateful for will re-program our minds to recognize the fantastic things we have going on each day. This practice will help you to prioritize what is really important to you and your family, and will allow you to stop stressing about the little things that can wait until tomorrow.
When your mind just cannot seem to settle, allow it to re-focus on something it enjoys. To do so, visualize yourself somewhere that you feel most at peace. Somewhere that you didn’t have a care and purely felt in harmony with the world. For me, this was a moment watching a sailboat race with I was sailing in the Adriatic Sea on a sunny day.
Think back to that time and picture yourself there in the present tense. What are you seeing? Are there any particular smells you’re noticing? What do you hear? Dive down to the deepest detail. This re-focusing will allow your mind and body to relax and feel as it did in that moment – at peace and filled with grace.
Occupy your mind with a mindless activity or warm bath
Repetitive activities that we do on a regular basis – such as coloring, doodling, knitting, or filling a bath tub – require no work, but minimal focus. The fact that we do have to focus a bit on what we’re doing means that we are unable to think about any stressors we have going on in our lives. Similar to visualization, these activities take our minds off of our everyday and onto something else entirely, allowing them the space they need to relax.
Pro tip: Sitting in warm water actually releases endorphins, which ultimately reduces stress. So a warm bath is rarely a bad idea.
Lavender, eucalyptus, and peppermint, specifically, are known to reduce stress. And there are several ways that you can bring these scents into your home to create your own, personal sanctuary/spa.
Personally, I use a diffuser, which lightly spreads the scent throughout our home. However, you can also purchase sprays, which you can spritz lightly onto your bed and pillow, or essential oils to dab directly onto your skin. If you decide to try out essential oils, then I recommend dabbing the oil lightly on your temples, and on the insides of your wrists and elbows. These are some of the warmest parts of the human body, which allows the scent to diffuse a bit faster.
These days, we all have a lot of activities going on, which can fill our days with stress and tension. But that means that rest is more important now than ever to allow ourselves some relief and space to grow. Relax, take some deep breadths, spray some lavender around your home, and welcome the true feeling of rest.
Jessica Eichenlaub is a confidence coach, freelance writer, and blogger at Semi-Sweet Tooth. In April 2016, Jessica left her 9-5 job as a Project Manager to pursue her dream full time of empowering women to live out their lives in balance. She believes that we can have it all, we just cannot have it all perfectly. Jessica now provides individual and group coaching, helping women to become their most confident selves, while also sharing easy recipes, workouts and life hacks on her blog on a weekly basis. Learn more about Jessica on Instagram or on her blog.