Your evening wind down

Stress and anxiety are ever present today more that they have ever been, 43% of workday leave in the UK is stress related.  In your fast-paced life, where you are constantly on the go, your evening wind down generally looks like one eye on the television and the other on your smart phone. That’s if you’re not busy preparing for the following day or getting the kids to bed!

Which means you’re never really giving yourself time and space to fully switch off.

We’ve all been here.

As the evening is coming to an end, and you’ve squeezed in just “one more episode” before you brush your teeth and head off to bed. But as soon as you settle, your mind begins to waken up!

Over and over your mind goes, replaying the events of the day, you start to think about the chores you didn’t do and the things you need to do tomorrow. You cannot sleep.

The more you can’t sleep, the more stressed you become.

The reason you cannot sleep is because your body and mind are still in what we call the stress response. Your nervous system is active when it should be relaxed.

It’s highly likely you will wake in the morning with a fuzzy head and feeling over tired. Going into the day not feeling the best version of yourself.

To feel your best during the day you need to sleep well at night.

And that means you need to properly wind down in the evening.

The line of separation.

The line of separation between switching off from your day, winding down in the evening before bed can be a little hazy to say the least.

In my corporate life, my line of separation was changing into my pj’s. Apart from feeding the cats, it was the first thing I did when I stepped through the door!

After I’d cooked dinner, my evening relaxation was a couple of hours spent on the sofa in front of the television. I hate to admit it, my face was often back in front the computer.

But was I really relaxing? No.

What I needed but didn’t necessarily know it at the time was to create space and time in the evening to unwind and to fully relax.

Whilst you may think you’re relaxing watching television, or scrolling through the internet, it’s not real relaxation. Televisions, computers, and mobile devises are built to replicate the natural light you are exposed to during the day. Misleading your nervous system to remain alert when in fact it should be winding down in the evening.

It’s not an easy habit to shake off.

We’ve talked in the past about the significance of establishing a bedtime routine to prepare your body and mind for sleep and healing.

I recently wrote a blog about the Importance of Prioritising Sleep you can access this blog here.

evening relaxation
Mindful movement and sleep.

How do you unwind in the evenings?

Do you have a wind down habit?

Are you in the habit of bringing your work home with you?

The importance of finding time to unwind and preparing for sleep go hand in hand together.

Mindful movement like tai chi, qi gong and yoga has been clinically proven to improve your sleep quality. But also, the quality of your life.  This was very true for both Ram and me.

When I discovered yoga and meditation. I learnt what it really meant to switch off. To unwind. To relax fully. Everything and anything that was occupying my mind was put to one side.

This time I’d gifted myself became my sanctuary. My place to escape.

All the worries and concerns whether they were work or home related stayed outside. Over time because my mind was clearer, I was able to cope better with day-to-day life.

Primarily because I was sleeping so much better. And as a result, I was happier.

meditation for the evening
Incorporating Yoga into your evening wind down.

Yoga offers you a beautiful way to wind down after your day and take care of your mental wellbeing. Yoga asana (postures) and pranayama (breath work) are powerful practices to help release the tensions of the day and aid you for a good night’s sleep. The national sleep foundation recommendations that we should include pranayama and meditation as part of maintaining a good sleep hygiene. Both are incredible tools for managing stress, anxiety, and insomnia.

The system of yoga that Ram and I teach the focus is on the cultivation of awareness or as it’s commonly referred to as mindfulness. The practices we teach switch on the ‘’rest and digest’’ mode of your nervous system leaving you feeling calm and deeply relaxed.

When your nervous system is in this mode, the mind is calmer and quieter, the blood pressure drops, you assimilate nutrients from food more efficiently, and sleep comes easier.

So, it’s perfect for anyone suffering from stress and anxiety and or who may have problems sleeping.

A gentle evening wind down yoga and abdominal breathing practice.

This thirty-minute video guides you through gentle asana and a short abdominal breathing practice to calm your body and mind preparing you for a restful evening and a good night’s sleep.

You can use this gentle practice to decompress and unwind after a busy day. To ease any tensions. Take the load off when you get home from work, or practise before you go to bed bringing your thoughts back into your body and out of your head.

Honour your needs and take this time for yourself to calm and balance your nervous system.

You don’t need any prior experience of yoga to do this practice. Find yourself a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for the next thirty minutes.

You may want to put your pj’s on for this!

If you would like to watch this video in Spanish, please click on this link.