Anxiety can work its way into every little corner of your life, leaving you exhausted, grumpy, and just plain “over it.” And the worst of it is when all you want to do is crawl into bed and sleep your worries away, here it comes again…anxiety! The world around you is fast asleep, and your thoughts are racing 100 miles an hour all night long when all you want is peace…a.k.a. SLEEP.
This vicious cycle makes you even more exhausted and irritable, which tends to make anxiety worse. So you go around and around on the hamster wheel of worry. So what do you do?
One of the things you may find helpful for nighttime anxiety is routine. After all, there is comfort in routine, isn’t there? If you haven’t established a wind-down routine yet, here are some ideas for you.
Start With a Bath
Water is very soothing for body and mind, helping you reach a calmer, more meditative state. You can enhance the relaxation effect further by using calming bath salts. Using Epsom salt in your tub boosts magnesium, helping you to relax and reduce stress naturally.
Meditate for 10 Minutes
Meditation is a word that can cause anxiety all on its own but believe me, you can learn to do it, and you don’t have to stress about not getting it right. You can even do this while you’re in the bath. Guided meditation is an excellent practice, and just as useful for those of us who simply can’t stop thinking. We need a little help “quieting” our thoughts and guided meditations do the trick. Try looking for one on iTunes or YouTube by typing in “guided meditation”, then listen to the sample clips until you find one that sounds soothing to you. And don’t worry if your mind wanders at first, just refocus and relax. It gets easier the more you do it.
Enjoy a Cup of Tea
Make sure it’s caffeine-free. Something like Chamomile can be helpful. It’s less important what kind of tea it is than the fact that it’s part of your relaxing bedtime routine.
Write In a Gratitude Journal
There is nothing more calming than focusing on the things you are grateful for in your life, is there? Right before you sleep is the perfect time to get your mind focused on everything that is right in your life. Any journal with lined pages will do. Keep it beside your bed, with a pen, and take 5 minutes to write down three things that you are grateful for. Maybe it’s your family, or your home, your health, or someone you ran into that day who made you smile. Take some time to reflect, feel those emotions of happiness and gratitude, and write them down.
Read a Book
Reading can be beneficial in many ways, depending on what books you choose. Be sure to select something that makes you feel good. Something motivational can be helpful before bed, too. The last thing we put in our mind before we fall asleep affects the tone of our sleep and how we wake up in the morning. Taking 15 minutes or so to get lost in a book is a great way to give your brain a rest and focus on something positive before sleep.
I hope you enjoyed these tips and find something useful to help you establish a relaxing routine before bed. Anxiety is a tough one, but you CAN take control by finding coping and relaxation techniques to help you gain the upper hand.
As I like to say “You may have anxiety, but it doesn’t have to have you!”
Do you have a routine that helps you unwind? Share your tips!