It’s funny that I’m writing about sleep.
Because for a year and a half sleep has been hard for me.
I get to sleep fine and, if I’m lucky, I stay asleep for a good solid stretch of time and wake my normal, happy, rambunctious self.
There are other days when a child wakes me or a noise wakes me or my brain wakes me.
And then I find myself AWAKE in that awful way I don’t want to be: Mind buzzing. Worries floating. Fears rising.
The worst of this was when my husband was unemployed.
But, even once we were back on solid ground, financially, I still found myself not sleeping.
I can’t sleep before big life events like birthday parties or holiday dinners.
I guess I’m aging. Boo!
But, rough sleep for me is still really rare. The rest of the time, I am a very good sleeper, perhaps because I try to do a nightly bedtime ritual. I’ve been doing these off and on for years and just now realized that is what I was doing. So, in an effort to help you with your Sleep Challenge …
Here are 5 Sleepy Rituals for Tired Parents:
The Organized Ritual: There’s really nothing more yucky feeling than going to bed with worries and piles of to-dos. So, if that stuff is weighing you down, get it all done first in a nightly ritual. Set a timer for 15 minutes and rush through the stuff you hate like packing lunches, cleaning up or paying bills. This is Essential. The more you prep and organize your life, the easier it will be to sleep and the more carefree you’ll be the next day.
The Peaceful Ritual: I guess you can say that I am a Peace Alchemist. I only just realized this right now. I love rituals. I love peaceful rituals. Life is so drama-filled, so filled with negative things flying at us all day .. and then add loud, energetic children into the mix and well … this quiet-seeker needs a peaceful moment. A peaceful bedtime ritual includes but is not limited to lighting a candle, journaling, listening to some meditation tracks or doing yoga stretches .
The Unplugged Ritual: Really, all of these are unplugged rituals but this one is intentionally unplugged. Shut down all devices at least an hour before sleeping. Maybe longer. This goes for TV as much as it does for your phone. It means shut them down, not put them away. And when you do this, notice how you feel. Do you feel lost, like you don’t know where to turn? If so, this is one you need to repeat over and over until you start to feel joy and possibility right down to your bones.
The Reading Ritual: I love fiction. I wrote a book, in fact. And, I have to read before bed … but, sometimes we have to know in our heart of hearts that reading about crime or mystery or crazy drama might not be good for a peaceful sleep or a peaceful mind. Instead, choose peaceful books to read before you go to sleep. Books like these, in fact.
The Gratitude Ritual: When I started The Abundant Mama Project, I didn’t have a gratitude ritual. I simply listed what I was thankful for in haste and then went to bed. Now, sitting down and doing the journaling and other activities each night has become something I look forward to deeply. Simply noticing the goodness in our lives can be a great way to fall to sleep fast and easily. There’s many ways to begin a gratitude practice but join the Abundant Mama Project if you need a boost — and a community of friends.
Do you have your own ritual that you’d like to share? Please do!
PHOTO CREDIT: Beryl Ayn Young