I like late nights. As a kid, I'd be found reading under my covers with a flashlight way past my bedtime.
In motherhood, my penchant for late nights has only been fueled. Exclusively breastfeeding meant I was the sole person up all night and at ages, 4 and 6, I'm still the parent they come to in the middle of the night. Once everyone is asleep, hubby included, the night is my jam. The house is so still and the quiet is balm to my soul.
But parenting and life, is not forgiving for a night owl. Kids wake up early, or at least at reasonable hours to others. I fight hard against the morning and am always the last person out of bed. Usually provoked by sibling squabbles, feelings of guilt, or the numbers on the clock.
Last fall, on a whim, I signed up to learn to be an adult sleep coach. I know the relationship between wellness and sleep, so I knew this course would be helpful for my both writing and my sleeping practice.
And it has been. I've been learning to let go of my night owl ways. Its improved how I feel every day mentally and brought a harmony to my family's weekday mornings.
I've learned all about taking a pause. Small moments throughout the day to process what is happening and deal with it. Small moments to take time for myself.
See, the reason we are often unable to sleep, or even stay up too late, is because there are fewer distractions at the end of the day. In the quiet of the late night, everything that has happened to us, everything that's been swirling around in our brains unleashes and BOOM. Awakeness.
Being purposeful about taking these bite-sized moments has improved my ability (and desire) to go to sleep earlier. I feel more like I've had me-time and have fewer stresses weighing on my mind keeping me up. While I'll always love the night, these six ‘pauses' have helped me improve my night owl tendencies and go to be at a more reasonable hour:
1. Taking pen to paper. There's something so cathartic about the act of writing rather than typing into one's phone. I've been using this journal for daily practice in gratitude (morning and before bed) and writing my to-do list and planning ideas in my agenda.
2. Saying hello. Instead of reaching out to my friends for a scheduled call or when I need an ear, I've made it a point lately to say hello just because. If I find a funny gif that I know they'll appreciate or even feeling silly, I send them a quick pic and a text. It makes me feel more connected and ditches the guilt that comes up from not being in touch as often as I'd wish or having the time for longer calls.
3. Reading over lunch. I've taken to shutting down my laptop and putting down my phone. Working from home makes it easy to use all of my time to be on social media or to work. I'm one of those people who have several books on the go but during the day, I've been reading this and rereading this.
4. Sipping tea. I'm a big fan of loose-leaf tea. The whole process is beautiful, from selecting the blend to tucking the tea inside the bag. My current favourites from Lemon Lily include this one and this one.
5. Listening to music. I love music, but it distracts me from working, and since I don't drive to work anymore, I found myself rarely listening to it. Taking a little break, popping in my headphones and listening to a playlist on Spotify helps me find my way to happy.
6. My nighttime skincare ritual. These 10 minutes or so, signal to myself that it's time I start to settle down. I do this just after my boys go to bed. Otherwise, I'm apt to get cozy on the couch with my laptop or Netflix and lose all motivation. I follow four steps to keep my skin hydrated.
What could you be doing to take a pause throughout the day?
Plus, here's some help with setting up your bedroom for a better sleep tonight.