Tag: night time rituals

Acknowledge the Good

A couple of years ago I posted about a gratitude jar. The jar I’d begun using became needed elsewhere, so I took all those little slips of paper, and placed them in an empty Voluspa jar. Last December, I sat down in the middle of my bed with the jar, and read each one.

I remembered cutting paper into strips, writing something I was grateful for, and placing it in the jar. The jar wasn’t very full, because walking by it isn’t enough. I have to pause long enough to write something down. It’s funny, but I was the most grateful for sunlight. The unfolding of each piece of paper and reading what it said, felt like a ritual. I refolded each one and placed them in a baggie for the jar to be used as a vase.

One of my most loved books by Julia Cameron is The Sound of Paper. I don’t know which I love more, the book itself, or it’s title, because I’m enamored by the sound and feel of paper. I want to experience that year-end ritual again, so I started a new jar, in hopes that by this December it will be packed full. The key is to sit it where it doesn’t fall into the background of the everyday, so it’s by my bedroom window waiting, every time I enter.

Empty Voluspa jar.

Here’s some examples of how often I see this jar.

  • First thing in the morning, while opening the drapes.
  • When I walk back in to make my bed.
  • Sitting on the floor, during meditation.
  • When I pet the cat who’s lounging in the morning sun.
  • To plug in my phone for charging.
  • While getting dressed, or anytime I retrieve something from the closet.
  • Anytime I’m in my room gazing out the window, the jar is there.
  • Running the vacuum through the room.
  • Closing the drapes at nightfall.

Some days I’m overwhelmed by goodness, while other days, I need a magnifying glass to see it. No matter if it’s a lot, or just one thing, there’s always something to write on a sliver of paper and place it in the jar.

Pause… breathe… and acknowledge the good.

Set the stage

I don’t have a set time to go to bed. Knowing how many hours sleep is needed, the earlier I go to bed, the earlier I wake up. If I stay up late, I wake up later than usual, but that’s okay at the end of the week. I prepare my bedroom first thing in the morning for evening, by making my bed and removing all evidence I was there. When I walk in later in the day for sleep it feels inviting, restorative and pleasing to the eye.

The sheets are changed once a week, or every two weeks, depending on the week. Invest in yourself by owning good sheets and pillows. Think of sheets as your favorite shirt you can wear all day long, without even noticing it’s there. It feels that good to your skin, like your skin really vibes with the fabric it’s made from. Sheets should feel good to your skin. The higher the thread count, the more luxurious the feel.

These are my favorite at the moment.

Sheets are an item I need to walk into a store for. No shopping online for these, but I’m the same way with my shirts. If I see a set that appeals to me, I unzip the bag to feel them. I don’t pull them out of the bag, just a touch is enough. They can be expensive, but on sale is a sweet find. The true test is wrapping myself up in them. Once purchased, I take them home to wash them in perfumed wash and place them on the bed to in hopes they add quality to my sleep. The smell and feel is a win.

The bed is my main piece of furniture in the room, but here’s a table on each side of the bed holding some of my favorite things. It’s not a workout room, storage room, or an office. It’s designed for sleep. There’s a vintage vanity chair at the foot of the bed to sit and put my shoes on before leaving the house. Sitting on the bed, messes up the bed! 🙂

I’m single, so I get away with as much bling as I want. My bedroom isn’t girly by any means, but there are feminine touches. Pillows and blankets add a cozy feel. For color, I stuck with the classics: white, silver and gold, but any item with bling fits the room.

Vintage Vanity Chair. Voluspa mercury glass candle nestled in a Bath and Body Works Coaster. Backdrop-My favorite custom drapes made 15 years ago.

I go in and light a Voluspa candle 30 minutes before bed.

This little chair made it’s debut in a post written in February of this year. That weekend I went to a local vintage shoppe and found some pieces for my room, so even back in February I was staging for better sleep. At the end of that post, I admitted drinking Bluebottle Cold Brew and it was late in the day. This journey revealed I cannot do that and sleep. You can read the post here, and see more bedroom items purchased that day.

The final thing that helps me drift off to sleep is a nighttime tea. When this finding sleep experiment began in August, I tried lots of teas, but always came back to this one. It’s affordable and can steep for up to 15 minutes, so by the time it’s done steeping, it’s the right temperature to drink and enjoy. Another good one is Jetlag PM, by Tealeaves, but it’s more of an investment.

Pukka Tea

This concludes our little series. Thank you for following alongside me, and here’s a recap of what was brought to light:

The journey begins to a good night’s sleep. Next up was Know Your Flow. I stopped drinking coffee by noon. Then Mama Knew Best showed us that it matters what you watch before bed. Determine how much sleep you need and go to bed in time to get it, but don’t overdo One More Minute. When you wake up in the morning, sit up in bed to prevent falling back to sleep.

Thank you for your love, kind comments and support. ~ Barb.

One More Minute

I’m tired today, but I also know why.

To know is revolutionary. Knowing where I messed up allows room for improvement in that area, and there’s always room for improvement. The simple fact is…I overslept.

I know how much sleep my body needs. It runs with optimum capacity of 7 hours sleep. Looking back on my life, it varied and could run on less when I was younger. The body knows what it needs. All it asks is we pay attention.

Photo by David Mao on Unsplash

What you just read was written yesterday.

It’s a new day and I’m not tired. It’s 7:30 am and I’m listening to it rain as I type. My goal is to publish at least one post a week, and Wednesday’s at 9:00 am work best. I woke up an hour ago and sat up to drink from the water bottle beside the bed. Soaking up this morning stillness, offering up gratitude for a new day.

It would have been easy to stay in bed and listen to the rain, but I didn’t want a repeat of yesterday. My body naturally woke up after 7 hours sleep and I know the key to success. Get out of the bed. If I lay there telling myself, ‘One more minute’, I’ll fall back to sleep and wake up an hour later feeling tired. That’s not a good tired.

This all started month’s ago while creating simple habits. I was tired of disappointing myself by putting things off. Laying in bed in the morning was one of them. I knew if I laid there long enough, the inevitable would happen. A simple habit is just that. Placing my feet on the floor and butt out of bed is relatively simple.

What a difference it makes waking up before dawn and watching the day begin. I get to start the day instead of oversleeping and falling into the day that began without me. My mind is clear, the body is refueled, and I think this is the first morning post I’ve written with no coffee in my body, which is terrifying.

Coffee will appear soon enough. I just wanted to share this special part of the day. I’m going to tag this post and schedule it for 9:00 am, so I can keep that promise to myself. I encourage you to give your body the sleep it needs, but not one more minute.

This is part of what seems to be the never-ending series of how to get a good night’s sleep. You can read them in order here:

1. A Good Night’s Sleep

2. Know Your Flow

3. Mama Knew Best

Know Your Flow

To prepare for sleep, I chose to halt the flow of day into evening. Work was one of them, which was mentioned in the previous post, and we’ll dive deeper into working from home soon. Today we’ll keep walking toward a good night’s sleep.

Photo by Pietra Schwarzler on Unsplash

You know my love for coffee, and the coffee bar was always flowing, until I got serious about a good night’s sleep. It didn’t take long to realize coffee was making me restless in bed. It was tough to admit, but my mind is fueled by coffee, so it would not relax if I drank it late in the day. I would lay in bed and continue thinking just like it was morning.

Now, I stop the flow of coffee by 2:00 pm and sometimes before noon, which is instrumental in a good night’s sleep. I’m learning a good night sleep takes discipline and saying no to the flesh. One day, my daughter offered me the rest of her Chocolate Cold Brew after 4:00 pm, and sadly I poured it down the drain.

Life will tempt you on your journey. Walking out to the mailbox, this was waiting.

Blue Bottle Coffee Subscription

Normally, I squeal with excitement when Blue Bottle arrives. A month ago, I would have raced into the house and started the kettle for a Chemex. My excuse would be, “I haven’t tried this blend before!” It’s tempting to give up a good night’s sleep, but when we know better, it’s time to do better.

I watched my actions as the morning coffee flowed into afternoon and then evening. When it became night, I felt trepidation because I had crossed my boundaries that day and wasn’t sleepy. I hadn’t had a successful night’s sleep in months and I don’t believe we’re supposed to dread going to bed!

There is a flow to this life, and being mindful of what flows into my day and at what time is an intricate part of having a good night’s sleep. Coffee now has a slow flow and a stopping point.

Maybe it’s not coffee for you, but if you’re having trouble relaxing your mind to fall asleep, there’s something in your body from the day that thinks it needs to stay awake. Know your flow.

A Good Night’s Sleep

That has been a mission of mine all year. What would it feel like to just drift off to sleep? It hasn’t happened since childhood.

Photo by Eirik Skarstein on Unsplash

I’ve been working from home for almost 10 years, but this year there are more people than ever working from home. For me, it was by choice, so I could home-school my daughter, and generate income. It’s been a huge blessing for us, but maybe you’re wondering if it’s a blessing, or a curse.

One of the most important things you can do for you and your family is get a good night’s sleep. Trust me on this.

I dedicated the entire month of August to finding a good night’s sleep. It began by looking at what I was doing presently because obviously that was not working! Each person is unique and maybe you think you’ve tried everything to fall asleep. Stop trying.

The body knows how to drift off to asleep.

SIMPLE HABIT/MINDFUL SLEEP, BY OREN JAY SOFER

Little by little I began taking things away that came naturally to me. Working late at night was an interesting find. That was first to go and the hardest to resist. Just last-night a notification came in on my phone from a coworker with a question. I could feel her frantic vibe and my reflex pattern was to help.

​My first mistake was reading the email at 10:30 pm, because I could feel my mind click over to work mode. I paused and reminded myself of past experiences. There is nothing work related happening at night that cannot wait till the next day and given a bit of time, it’ll probably sort itself out.

Photo by Andriyko Podilnyk on Unsplash

Turning the phone to silent, I laid it face down on the table and walked away. Working from home doesn’t mean work takes up residence in the home. Set a time to stop working, and refuse to look if any comes in, so the brain has time to relax. Our bodies know when it’s time for sleep, but do we?

Thank you for spending time here today. There’s more to unfold of my journey to a good night’s sleep.

Here’s the rest of the mini-series.

Part 2: Know Your Flow

Part 3: Mama Knew Best

Part 4: One More Minute

Part 5: Set the Stage