Where do you start when every part of your life’s out of balance? Should you start with the laundry mountain? Or maybe writing a to-do list? Or maybe you should start eating healthier and taking your vitamins? Ohhh — the possibilities are endless. Instead of trying to do everything, I have one tip for you. It’s the best place to start. If you do this one thing, everything else will be easier (including the laundry mountain!).
Below is the podcast version of this article. The podcast explains things so much better than a blog post. I invite you to listen and also hear some examples and enjoy some laughs! Subscribe to the Podcast by opening your favorite podcast app and typing “Balanced Working Moms” into the search or click here for a link to the podcast on iTunes.
I’ve given a lot of advice over these years. You’ve hopefully heard a lot of it!
It’s interesting that my #1 advice hasn’t changed in all this time.
It’s funny because this advice is so simple.
It’s not profound.
And it’s not something you’ll see anywhere else.
Can you guess what it is?
My number #1 advice is *drum roll*……
To start becoming balanced, you need to relax before bed.
Why does this work?
Why is this routine so important that with all the advice I could possibly give, why would I choose relaxing before bed as my #1 advice?
It Resets You
The reason for this is that you need a reset.
Here’s what happens if you don’t rest or relax before bed.
You have a busy day at work.
You come home, feed your family.
You do homework.
You do your chores.
I’m guessing something stressful may have happened during your day. Just a guess.
Maybe you were in a meeting that didn’t go well and it stressed you out.
Maybe your kid fought you about doing homework.
Maybe you’re just physically and mentally worn out.
But here’s what happens.
If you don’t relax before bed, you never let go of that stress that’s building up.
The Stress Builds Up
The stress sits in your body, mentally, physically, and emotionally.
It’s like a balloon that gets more and more filled with air.
You know what’s going to happen if you don’t let that air out?
Yup. It’s going to pop.
And that pop won’t look pretty. It may look like:
- a physical illness
- snapping at your family
- a bad mood that never ends
- lack of organization because you’re too tired to care.
You see where this list is heading…..
Pretty much anything you don’t want in life is the consequence of your stress building up.
Sure, you can tell me that you exercise. You meditate. You light candles. You do all the things.
But from what I’ve seen, you can do all those things but if you don’t relax a bit before bed, that ball of stress is going to keep building
Why’s This So Important?
Why is resting before bed so important?
I’ve found this to be true for me, and many of my clients will tell you this is true for them: A shift happens when you relax before bed.
It helps hit the reset button on your life.
Even if you’re an insomniac and don’t sleep well, relaxing before bed helps you feel more rested. More able to cope with all the things life throws at you.
There’s something about it that changes everything.
In my journey, this is the one thing I did that moved me from being an overwhelmed Mom to a calm and more balanced Mom.
Let me share with you a note that I got from someone in our Facebook community.
I think she describes this better than I ever could.
Just 15 minutes resets everything.
If you’ve never done this, give it a try and send me a DM and let me know the results.
What Do I Mean by Resting?
I’m going to warn you in advance, you’re probably not going to like my definition of resting.
It’s not easy to do but this is the definition that has the effect of hitting the reset button and getting you off the stress hamster wheel.
To rest before bed, you can’t use any screens (except a Kindle – though some clients have told me they don’t even use a Kindle).
This means no phone. No computer. And I’m sorry to tell you this, no TV.
But this, my friend, is why it works.
Your brain has been stimulated the whole time you were awake. You need to give it time to process. Chill out. Not work so hard.
And you can’t do this when you’re on a screen.
In my opinion, it’s not about blocking the blue lights, though that’s an added benefit, it’s more about being able to rest your brain. No stimulus from the TV, social media, nothing.
That, my friend, is true rest.
What Will You Do?
Here’s what you’ll do to relax. Instead of being on screens, you’re doing things to wind down before bed. Maybe have a shower or bath. Put on your PJs. Put on face moisturizer. And take time doing all this. Not rushed like you do now after watching a show. Or half asleep.
I find since 2020, I’ve had a really challenging time forcing myself to relax before bed.
I want to be on screens or do other things like clean my house — more than ever before.
But I force myself to at least not be on screens. If you do just this one thing that’s enough.
For extra credit, you can read a book, listen to soothing music, put lotion on your feet. Talk to your spouse. Journal. Actually set up your diffuser. Anything that’ll help you unwind and chill out.
What if I Have No Time?
Especially if you have young kids, it may feel like this advice is impossible. You don’t have time to breathe, let alone relax before bed.
If this is you, try to at least not be on screens or do housework, talk on the phone, or do other invigorating things before bed. Keep things as low-stimulating as possible. Dim the lights. Create an environment of shutting down.
We’ve talked about all-or-nothing thinking on this podcast and this is an example of where you can find ways to do it imperfectly but still do it, no matter how busy you are.
What Do You Think?
Are you willing to give this a try? I know it sounds too simple. But trust me, this works so well. It’s the first step to creating the balanced life you’ve always dreamed of. If you don’t do this, it’ll be hard for you to feel balanced.
This first small step is the first thing you need to do to create a calmer life where you aren’t exhausted all the time.
Are you willing to give it a try and dip your toe in? You’ll be shocked at how this one teenie tiny thing will change everything.