Relax & Unwind: Night Routine for Lockdown

Okay, so there's not much that the world seems to be agreeing on right now. However, this is one sentence that is universally guaranteed to receive an internal nod upon reading: developing routine is absolutely crucial to our daily lives in this 'stay at home' era. For many of us, it seems as if time rolls into one indistinguishable mass of days and weeks. This is why it's important to establish a morning and nighttime routine to allow your day to flow smoothly, but with the distinction and structure necessary to avoid the feeling of not being able to decipher between today and yesterday. Below is everything you could possibly need in a night routine to relax and unwind. I don't do all of these steps religiously each night, but having a flexible range of activities in mind to choose from is great for adapting your routine depending on your mood that night. If a morning version of this is something that you'd like to see follow this post, let me know in the comments - otherwise, enjoy!





My Night  Routine: Favourites


 Listen to an Audiobook

For many of us, Lockdown has been a time full of ‘firsts’. The first time basing our days around a tightly packed schedule of banana bread baking and afternoon walks. The first time that we’ve had to politely tell so many people: ‘you’re on mute’. Or, perhaps for some, the first time that you decided to have an Ill-advised career change to supply management (I’m talking to you, toilet roll stockpilers). Personally, however, this month has seen me try out my first ever audiobook. Although the concept of audiobooks isn’t new to me (I can probably recite word for word one particular Audible advert that seemed to form a borderline obsessive relationship with every YouTube video I watched for the next six weeks), it’s one that I’ve admittedly never been that interested to explore further. Surely a book can't be as enjoyable if you can't even read it yourself, at your own pace?



However, something in my mind evidently changed one day this month as I was scrolling past the Audible banner at the top of my Amazon account and decided - with nothing to lose thanks to the 30-day free trial - to give an audiobook a chance. And, I guess you could say... I learnt not to just a (virtual) book by its cover.

Not only was I wrong in my assumption that an audiobook couldn’t be enjoyable, I was almost doubly wrong when I found myself realising that - at least for certain book types like autobiographies - it can actually be more enjoyable. I decided to choose Becoming by Michelle Obama as the title of choice to christen me into the world of audiobooks, considering its impressively high ratings (and, come on, because it's Michelle Obama). There’s something special about hearing the words spoken in the distinctive voice of the author themself, that your own reading voice just can’t do justice too. Plus, switching to an audiobook has given me the chance to read at times when I couldn’t before. Making a meal? Turn on an Audiobook. On your daily walk? Turn on an audiobook. Settling down before bed but lack the energy to concentrate your eyes on the page of a physical book? Then simply let Michelle Obama read you a bedtime story!

I also couldn’t help but notice that David Attenborough’s new book is on audible, and narrated by none other than Sir David Attenborough himself. Just imagine the total state of zen created by listening to David Attenborough's voice at night - images of idyllic natural landscapes floating through your mind as you drift off into a deep slumber. Well, either that or relaying dooming climate change statistics in your mind before falling into an eco-anxiety fuelled nightmare...

Or, read a regular book



If I didn’t quite manage to sell the audiobook life to you (or I scared you away at the eco-anxiety dream part - sorry) then there’s always good old-fashioned reading. I won't go in-depth with this one, however, if you're stuck on book suggestions, you can check out my recent post on cosy books to add to your 2020 reading list, or take a look at what I'm currently reading (and loving!).

Currently reading:



There's Aibileen, raising her seventeenth white child and nursing the hurt caused by her own son's tragic death; Minny, whose cooking is nearly as sassy as her tongue; and white Miss Skeeter, home from College, who wants to know why her beloved maid has disappeared.

Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny. No one would believe they'd be friends; fewer still would tolerate it. But as each woman finds the courage to cross boundaries, they come to depend and rely upon one another. Each is in a search of a truth. And together they have an extraordinary story to tell...


Set the scene

 On nights where you simply want to relax to the sounds of nature and not have to concentrate on a narrative, then look no further than Calmed By Nature.

Calmed by nature is a YouTube channel that provides videos designed for deep relaxation, focus and sleep. Each video is animated, and also has the perfect nature audio to accompany it. Most videos have a duration of 8 hours, so you can listen to the relaxing sound of raindrops on windows with soft background jazz throughout the entire night. What I love about Calmed by Nature (and I'm sure the same goes for other channels that offer similar content) is that there's the right video for every ambience: 'cozy cabin ambience', 'campfire by sea ambience' and (my personal favourite) 'cosy fall coffee shop ambience'.






Stretch

Now that our mind is at ease, it's time to offer the same level of serenity to our body. Stretching allows us to strengthen our muscles, increase flexibility and reduce the tightness of joints - all whilst allowing the mind to simultaneously destress. 

Tip: If lockdown has left you working from home, you may find that you want to search for more targeted stretching videos on Youtube that help ease the tensions created by 'tech neck' and sitting too much.




Reduce your Blue Light Consumption
It has become increasingly more common knowledge over recent years that the more time we spend staring at the blue light emitted from our phones and devises, the less sleep that we will get at night. Regardless of the fact that blue light affects our sleep, I think a digital detox is something that we can all appreciate in lockdown anyway. If it's not a challenging enough world to be living in already, we have an entirely separate digital world where all of that negativity is put under a microscope and spread from app to app. We're working digitally. Communicating digitally. Sharing and viewing the lives of those who we follow, digitally - sometimes whilst inadvertently comparing them to our own. Not only are we affecting our sleep, but often our sub-conscience too; by consuming social media before we go to bed - whether we know it or not - we have likely reminded ourselves of some news story we'd rather have pushed aside or given our mind's some negative avenue to explore whilst we sleep.


Calming Skincare
Whether you have time for a quick 5-minute facial, or a half an hour uninterrupted treatment, skincare is a great way to leave your body feeling clean, calm and refreshed before you go to sleep.

Product rec:
Skincare in itself is a calming activity, but when you can get products specifically designed for their calming effect then it really is a win-win. Dermalogica's sleep sound cacoon is probably the best example of this that I've tried: it does wonders for the skin and sleep. With motion-activated French lavender oil and calming Sandalwood and Patchouli, allow your senses to be soothed with aromatherapy to encourage restful sleep and healthy, glowing skin. Experience the relaxing aromas as you drift off, and the unbeatable radiance as you wake up and get ready in the morning. 



 


Other Ideas:


  • Journal (e.g reflect on your day, keep a gratitude diary, etc)
  • Plan your week ahead
  • Pick Out Your Outfit For The Next Day (and, yes, I know there's nowhere to go, but this is one of the best things to do at night to make you feel motivated in the morning. Perhaps it might even add a sprinkle of normality back into your life).




  • Have a cosy movie night (film, blankets, snacks - go all out!)
  • Call a friend and have a catch-up
  • Do a relaxing activity: draw, paint, crochet, etc
  • Make a hot drink
  • Listen to a relaxing playlist





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