For so many parents, it’s only when the kids have gone to sleep that they can actually unwind and take stock of the day. But so many parents fall into bad habits. When you’ve had such a stressful day, you feel like you need a glass of wine, television, and all the chocolate in the world. But in doing this, you are greatly neglecting any level of self-care, but this is so important, not just for unwinding properly, but ensuring that you bounce back as a better parent when the sun comes up. The right ways to unwind are so important. So what are the best ways for you to relax so you can rest and recuperate properly?
Set the Scene
Your bedroom should be a place for calmness. So many people have a television in their room and stay up late on their devices but also use the bed as the place to do some last-minute admin that they couldn’t get around to doing earlier. Instead, you’ve got to get into the mindset of making your bedroom more like a sanctuary.
The right bed can do a lot, but you can also put little things in place to ensure that you are telling your brain and body it’s time to unwind. Getting into your favorite loungewear, perhaps lighting some candles, and putting on soft music could also form the basis of a nighttime routine that is preparing your brain and body for sleep. What most of us do is keep going until we get tired and go to sleep but it’s far more important for us to learn how to wind down. When you start to wind down, this means you can get rid of the stresses of the day, rather than going to sleep with these things on your mind.
Doing a Brain Dump
A brain dump is one of those tricks that can do a lot for purging your mind of unhealthy thoughts. As parents, we have so many things that we need to keep track of. When we need to prepare ourselves for the next day, one of the simplest things we can do is write a list of absolutely everything we need to do. It gets it out of your brain onto paper so you shouldn’t worry about it. But what about all of those niggling thoughts? In this instance, think about all the things that have been playing on your mind all day, but take the opportunity to write them down and do a proper brain dump.
You might realize that a lot of the things you have written down are just pointless things you are holding on to. We can easily feel stressed out by something that happens, whether it’s dropping a plate of food or making a mistake when we were driving. The fact is that once you get these things out onto paper, you can either realize that they are wasting precious brain cells or there are things that you can do better next time. Whatever it is, getting it out onto paper can do a lot for you in the run-up to slumber time.
Screen Time: Yes or No?
A lot of people want to go on social media after the kids have gone to bed because it’s their way of catching up, but you need to get the balance right. It can be helpful to reply to messages that people have sent you and do all the message admin, but half the problem is when they reply to your messages.
The best thing you can do is to set yourself a time limit to do all of these things. You might feel that you need to reply to these things instantly and it will hang over you if you don’t, but when you get into this mindset, you reply to messages and then have a quick scroll on social media and before you know it, a lot of time has passed and you need to go to sleep. Doing this is setting yourself up for a fall the next day, not just because you’ve spent a lot of your time on social media but if you haven’t got a blue light filter on your phone, you are going to disrupt your sleep in subtle ways. This is why a time limit on social media is crucial.
Make Time To Let Everything Go
Stress is one of those things that we can take to bed with us, and when we are feeling emotionally tense, chances are we’re going to be physically tense too. When you are sleeping with tension, you’re going to wake up feeling worse than when you went to bed. Learning to let things go is so important because you are getting rid of all of those stresses so you can start tomorrow with a blank slate.
This is why having a variety of winding-down techniques can do a lot. It’s about choosing the right ones for you. Some people like to meditate, but they feel it takes a lot of effort. Instead, think about things like deep breathing. Just a couple of minutes of box breathing can do a lot to calm you down. Another thing that is fantastic for destressing is progressive muscle relaxation. You tense and relax one part of your body, and go through every muscle in your body which has been shown to work wonders on people with chronic anxiety. The best thing is that it’s five minutes out of your time, so you can still watch that TV show or have a glass of wine if you really need it!
Whatever you do to destress, you’ve got to have a dedication to your own personal care. When the children finally go to sleep, we can feel like this is our opportunity for freedom. Therefore, we try to stay up a bit later or we engage in those unhealthy practices. Rather than doing these things all of the time, think about having some good self-care practices and a little bit of what you fancy! Try looking after yourself first, and then you might be surprised as to what you think you really need to unwind.