Daily Mental Housecleaning
There you are…good and tired, ready to have a restful night of sleep. But just as soon as your head hits the pillow, your mind begins rehashing the day: the chaotic morning rush with kids, a difficult meeting at work, calls not returned, and on and on. Your busy mind is working overtime while your exhausted body is tensing up. If this sounds all too familiar, it’s time to do some mental housecleaning. In order to fall asleep, you have to let go of the day. Here are some ways to release the day and get the sleep you need!
- Write it down: Make the next day’s to-do list before leaving work or in the early evening. Then stop thinking of all the to-dos you can deal with tomorrow.
- Stretch: About 15 to 20 minutes before bed, do some gentle stretching to release body tension where you’ve been carrying it all day. Common areas include: neck and shoulders, face (forehead and jaw), chest and the lower back. After 5 to 10 minutes of gentle stretching, sit on a straight back chair. (You don't want to fall asleep yet!)
- Breathe: Once seated, focus on your normal breathing patterns. When a thought or feeling from the day bubbles up, take a comfortable, full breath and a long, slow exhale. As you exhale, release those thoughts and feelings along with any corresponding body tension. You might sigh as you release. That’s okay too. Your mind will wander a lot with this form of meditation. That’s normal. Just keep bringing your focus back as you release with your breath.
Remember, bedtime isn’t the time to analyze or solve problems. Just let your thoughts and feelings go. Clear them out. You can even imagine sending these remnants of the day away. Imagine filling up a balloon with the breath of a long exhale and releasing it into the sky. This is mental housecleaning: letting go of the day so that your body-mind can rest completely.
1514 days 15 hours 42 min ago