My first resolution of the New Year is to live intentionally.
And I don’t know about you, but that’s a pretty vague resolution. Over the past few days of the New Year, I’ve been trying to find ways to make that goal more tangible, so I attached a lot of smaller goals to it. One of the hardest goals for me to stick to, but also a goal I have been working on a lot longer than it’s been 2016, is setting up a daily routine. As a student, I live pretty spontaneously, so a full-fledged daily routine isn’t really a feasible task for me. Instead, I decided to establish both a daily and nightly routine.
The night is a pretty sacred time of day for me.
My night-time routine is the easiest for me to develop because I am a night owl. As well, I love to having a small winding down ritual to lull me to sleep. I decided to create an easy routine that is minimal and focuses on the pieces required to fall asleep easily and prepared for the next day. I’ve been working on this routine for a few months, but I’ve been doing it consistently for about a week. The best thing about this 4-step routine is that it can be done in 30 minutes or 3 hours, depending on the night, since it’s really just full of essential before-bed activities. And I try to do everything from a witchy perspective, so I can have a spiritual night every night.
In order to give you guys a good look at the night-time routine I try to stick to, I brought my phone along with me and took pictures.
1 – Showering
I am a night-time shower-er. Every night, even as early as 4 in the afternoon, I try to take a nice, cleansing shower. While I am showering, I always do at least two things: wash my face and wash my body. For my facial cleanser, I use a homemade honey face wash that I scrub into my pores with a small, dense brush. I also make a homemade lotion from coconut oil and other essential oils, and I make sure to work that into my skin before I leave the bathroom.
As I do these two steps, I focus on the properties of all the ingredients. The honey wash has orange essential oil and nutmeg, to liven me up and rejuvenate my skin. The lotion relieves my skin of any discomfort and tightness. Eventually I’d like to cleanse completely with homemade and natural soaps. I am beginning to learn how to make bar soap too, so maybe in a few weeks I can give you a recipe!
2 – Preparing for the next day
I do this crucial step in my night-time routine every day, and it is my least favorite and un-relaxing part of the night. There is nothing witchy about this step, but it is integral to my morning routine. Alas, it must get done.
I used to have a habit of just leaving important things like my laptop, purse and keys out and about, strewn randomly around the house. Not only would this cause problems with clutter, but it also makes my second resolution—Slow Down—a lot harder to obey when I’m rushing around, late for the day, trying to find my stuff. So I have been developing the habit of packing all my stuff together and keeping it in the same spot for easy access the next day.
The first real thing I do is pack my lunch and brew coffee (yes, I brew at night, we’ll come back to this later).
Then I pack all of my bags and place them in a big heap on my kitchen counter because, yep, I’m organized like that.
And lastly, back to the coffee. I make iced coffee for the next day, so it must be brewed the night before. Once my coffee has brewed, all I really do is add my goodies everything dissolves while its hot, then I pour it into a cup and stick it in the fridge. This way, all I have to do is put ice in it and go!
3 – Get ready for bed
I would say that this part of my night-time routine is pretty standard for just about everyone. This is where, you know, you brush your teeth, take any medications or vitamins, and comb your hair.
While I do this pretty basic step, I try to have a mini meditation session. Yeah, sure, it’s not true meditation. But I always close the bathroom door and brush my hair quietly by myself and try to forget about all the mistakes I made that day, and all the challenges I have coming the next. Because I can be on auto-pilot during this step, it is easy to truly wind-down.
4 – Relaxation
While I’m still in the bathroom, I turn on my diffuser. I always add a few drops of lavender oils to calm me down into a restful sleep. I love this step because I used to always burn incense before bed, but I noticed the smoke would make my sinuses go crazy. So now, my diffuser allows me to relax my mind and muscles without smoke.
I get into bed, and I usually pour myself one glass of red wine. Spark Plug, my puppy, usually jumps up with me, and I pull out my Year and a Day journal to answer the prompt for the day. I made a challenge to myself (you might remember from Samhain) that I was going to answer a prompt everyday for a year and a day to complete my witchy education. Although this step can easily be forgotten, I think that my Y+1 journaling is one of the most important parts of my entire night. I get to reflect on how my path has grown in a day and answer spiritual questions. I have always struggled with finding a way to live spiritual everyday, and I think this is truly helping.
There is just something about creating a strong and balanced nightly routine to truly bring intention into your life.
One thing I think is important to remember about having a routine, especially one you try to replicate every day, is to give yourself some wiggle-room. My night-time routine is basic, and can take 10 minutes if I want it to. I think this sort of flexibility is the most integral part of a routine. What is your night-time routine? How long has it been established, and does it help you have a more productive next day? I would love to share routines with you in the comments!