Everyone has a long day at work occasionally that leaves us stressed, exhausted and needing a break from the daily grind. Unfortunately, you can’t always take that break, especially when one long day is followed by another.
The good news is that, by practicing simple acts of self-care at night, you can get into the right mindset and tackle the next day with renewed vigor. Here, Forbes Coaches Council members share their favorite nighttime self-care routines to help you get prepared for a busy morning.
1. Rank Your Tasks By Urgency And Importance
When I am feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work on my plate, I make a list of all that is on my mind after dinner. I then score each item by urgency and importance using a 1-3-5-10 scale, with 10 being the highest. The highest score is the priority; and I sleep better that night. – Mary Patry, ITeffectivity, LLC
2. Keep A Journal
One form of self-care at nighttime is journaling. Recording our thoughts allows us to reset our minds for a refreshed start the next day. Journaling can also be useful for creative purposes. Typically, there is less noise surrounding us at night, presenting ample opportunity to reflect, put pen to paper and write out some of our ideas and motivations. – X. Carmen Qadir, Coaching & Consulting Experience, LLC
3. Listen To Music And Meditate
One form of nightly self-care that works for me is listening to music and meditating. About an hour before bed, I like to begin winding down the evening by listening to soft music and practicing a 15-minute meditation. It calms my mind, allows me to release the stressors of the day and provides an opportunity to reset and begin anew. – Erica L. Reynolds, E. L. Reynolds & Associates, LLC
4. Eliminate Distractions Before Bedtime
Remove all distractions before bedtime. Go to bed early. Clear your mind of distractions through meditation, deep breathing and thinking of relaxing moments so that you’ll sleep well. – Jay McDonald, Middleton McDonald Group, Inc.
5. Stick To A Consistent Sleep Schedule
Sleep. I know it seems obvious, but going to bed and waking up at the same time each day can be magical. What those times are matters less than getting eight hours of sleep and making sure that your sleep/wake cycle is consistent. I have artist clients who go to sleep at 3 a.m. and wake at 11 a.m. Since making that simple change, they have stopped getting sick, have a lot more energy and get more done! – Debra Russell, Debra Russell Coaching, LLC
6. Write Down Five Critical Tasks To Do In The Morning
Before I go to bed, I write down the five most critical tasks to be done the next day. In the morning, before checking email or making calls, I do those (and only those) tasks until they are complete, or until I hit a logical stopping point (e.g., when the next step is reliant upon external input or resources). Having accomplished this, I have much more energy to tackle the remaining list. Success breeds success. – David Taylor-Klaus, DTK Coaching, LLC
7. Review Your Accomplishments For That Day
I take time to review my accomplishments for that day. Only 15 minutes refuels me, boosts energy and gives me a different perspective. This helps my brain relax, de-stress and prepare for the next day. I do this at the end of the day, and I only focus on what I did that day and the impact I had. I write this down and review it. Then, I think about the next day and the impact I would like to have. – Shelley Hammell, Sage Alliance, Inc.
8. Set Aside Time To Participate In A Joyful Activity
Self-care is an important component of holistic well-being. When feeling tired or stressed, set aside uninterrupted time to participate in a joyful activity. Perhaps it’s going for a run, playing with the children, reading a good book or meditating. These things activate good hormones and can create a sense of wellness. – Deborah Hightower, Deborah Hightower, Inc.
9. End Your Day With Gratitude
Ending the day with inspiration and gratitude is the key to starting the next day with the right energy and mindset. Techniques that help me in the evening include resetting and putting aside the to-do list, jotting down the top three things I’m grateful for that day and only reading positive content before bed. Over time, small positive habits or hacks can help us burn bright rather than burn out. – Elisa Mallis, Center for Creative Leadership
10. Do Something Kind For Yourself
Especially on the demanding days, I make sure to balance the stress with some extra loving self-care. I do something nice for myself, such as taking a nice bath or an extra long walk, meditating or playing with my dogs. The trick is to do something soothing to the nerves and kind to the self. This allows me to recharge batteries to face my next challenge in top shape. That in itself feels nice. – Agata Dulnik, Ph.D.
11. Know Yourself And What You Need
Practicing self-care means knowing yourself. We are not all night owls. Sometimes the best self-care means stopping for the night, even if you haven’t met your goals for the day. Getting a good night’s rest and starting fresh in the morning can be a terrific productivity hack, and it doesn’t require spending money on any gadgets or tools! – Kathy Bernhard, KFB Leadership Solutions
12. Manage Your Energy Before Going To Sleep
I need time to de-stress before sleeping, or I will dream about the project for the next day. I try to manage my energy by being grateful, remembering when I successfully completed a similar task or project, making sure that I have everything I need for the morning, clearing my tasks for the current day so that I have few surprises in the morning and talking to my loving partner. – Maureen Metcalf, Innovative Leadership Institute
13. Close The Day Out With Time For Reflection
Think through your day in terms of what you had planned and what really happened. This introspection is necessary for personal growth and will teach you the most important lessons of the day to help you prepare for the next. Then, plan your next day. Once done, simply rest and do something you enjoy. – Jorge Gutierrez, BMOC Group
14. Prioritize What Fulfills You
Leadership is an inside job. I prioritize what fills my cup before I tackle what’s on my plate. Instead of starting my workday by opening my inbox, I scan online journals and periodicals for articles and the latest research in my field. When I find something of interest, I pass it on to my LinkedIn followers. This feeds my need to learn and teach anew each day. – Sheri Nasim, Center for Executive Excellence
15. Maintain A Consistent Bedtime And Unplug
Hold the line when it comes to boundaries and rhythms. Regardless of what the current and next day’s activities may be, maintain a consistent bedtime, stay away from screens and unplug. If you don’t hold the line, then it is hard to know when to stop and start, and you will actually diminish your effectiveness. – Billy Williams, Archegos