How an evening routine of self-care and reflection enriches and reinforces well-being
Carving out quiet time to reflect in the evenings has cured my issues with insomnia and remedied my mental and emotional health struggles, and transformed my daily life. It took me a while to pursue the right things and to let go of my destructive ways. I once followed a dangerous path that put my well-being at risk.
For me, I had with a weary mind and without realizing it, I self-punished a lot. I pressured myself to measure up to my successful siblings and friends because I had disabilities. So, I assumed that I had to do more, be more, and act on things more.
A few years ago, I was obsessed with the idea of career destination and how if I didn’t work every waking minute, or took a day off, I was lazy. In fact, people criticized me for working from home, saying things like how simple my life was. As a result, I applied more pressure and would put in fifteen plus hours a day into my craft.
Evenings for me used to consist of tying loose ends with work and swimming in my to-do lists. I’d multitask until the eleventh hour, cramming in projects and not caring about the consequences of losing sleep. It didn’t matter to me if I strained my eyes and got a migraine.
And, the worst part: I kept saying to myself; I’ve got to do this, or else! I’ve got to finish that, or else! As an entrepreneur, I raced the clock Monday through Friday, twenty-four-seven. I operated on adrenaline rushes and an elevated cortisol (stress hormone) which hindered me from accomplishing tasks efficiently.
There is a misconception that adrenaline is a good thing. In actuality, adrenaline fuels the fire for unnecessary stress. I often acted like a cave person battling dragons, or my health. I engaged in self-punishing behaviors such as skipping meals, not exercising, and saying negative things to myself. To boot, I was an active participant in exacerbating my health. If something came up at 2:00 in the morning, I’d get up and do stuff. That was me five years ago.
I’ve made several lifestyle changes over the years, not because of health issues, but I wanted inner-peace. How I spend my mornings and evenings shifted. When the sun descends and the 6:00 hour arrives, I begin an unwinding evening routine. Since falling asleep was hard for me, I’d have to wind down much earlier.
As part of my regimen, I built in time to reflect, which propelled me to a new equilibrium: alignment. One thing I do, I keep a journal. Writing at night opens doors and provides new insights on myself, my goals, and the things I want in life.
Reflecting on the things I accomplished each day clears my head. I can see where my setbacks occurred as well as the things that worked and didn’t work. After, I do diaphragmatic, meditative breathing with light stretching. The hour before bed, I practice stillness and prepare my mind for sleep.
Incorporating moments of silence has improved my depression and anxiety. I used to fear stillness and silence, but now I turn to them for healing. I’ve reshaped and rewired my thought process regarding how I treat myself. The feelings of overwhelm and overload no longer stifle me, they’ve gone away. Quiet, reflective time is a remedy that reinforces well-being and promotes a higher quality of life.
Originally published at medium.com