The idea of mindfulness is to improve your health and wellness by reminding yourself to always live in the moment. It’s not very clear whether you can do that in your sleep but the next best thing is to end your day with mindful practices.
Because mindful practices relax the mind and the body, the following 4 mindful things to end your day can help you to relax your mind and body for a better night’s sleep and a more calm and productive tomorrow.
While most exercises can keep you up longer if you do them right before bed, yoga and other exercises that you can do at your own pace are different. While you wouldn’t want to do just any yoga before bed – some can be pretty fast-paced and tiring – there are some yoga poses and vignettes that are perfect for just before bed. If you have a favorite online guided yoga channel, they probably have a special video of yoga for just before bed. You can also ask your real-world yoga instructor whether they have any recommendations.
Most yoga workouts designed for right before bed focus on light stretching and restorative poses. These can help you to work out any muscle tension or kinks that you may have from the day and focusing on relaxing your body can help to calm your mind. These benefits make yoga a great way to end the day for a better night’s sleep.
2. Body Scans And Progressive Muscle Relaxation
Some more great mindfulness activities for just before bed are body scans and progressive muscle relaxation. We’re including both of these under one heading because they’re pretty similar but there might be one that you prefer. Otherwise, you can always do both – provided you stay awake long enough.
“Progressive muscle relaxation” involves taking a moment to check in with your body by paying attention to how it feels, one muscle group at a time. This involves lying down and then clenching or flexing your toes for ten seconds or so and then releasing. Focus on how the area feels and then move up to flex your ankle, your calves, &c. This can be very relaxing but it can also help you to identify areas that might need a good stretch or a light massage.
“Body scanning” is similar to Progressive muscle relaxation but it doesn’t include flexing your muscles, it’s just about feeling how they feel. It can still be calming and might be good to do before or after a body scan if you haven’t fallen asleep yet.
3. Breathing Exercises
Breathing exercises and other forms of meditation are also great mindfulness practices to end the day. There are some simple breathing exercises that can help to relax you, like taking a deep inhale while slowly counting to five and then exhaling while slowly counting to five. If you want to look for other exercises or want a little help with your breathing exercises, consider looking online or through your app store for guided meditations.
A simpler and just as powerful mindfulness practice to end the day is simply monitoring your breath. Some people like breathing exercises but taking natural breaths and paying attention to how the breath makes you feel as it enters and leaves your body can also be calming.
4. Practice Gratitude And Setting Your Intentions
A final mindfulness activity involves gratitude and a little light planning. Mindfulness is about living in the moment. Sometimes the moment isn’t so pleasant but there’s always something to be grateful for and science shows that being grateful has a number of physical, mental, and emotional health benefits.
A related activity is to do a little light planning. Don’t get bogged down by details, as this can make you more stressed. Instead, try “setting an intention” for the following day. Your intention can be something vague but should be something positive, like “Tomorrow I’m going to communicate my feelings better.”
Mindfulness is gaining momentum as a movement because of its potential to relieve stress in our bodies and minds. As a result, it’s no wonder that mindfulness activities can be such great ways to end the day.
As you practice your mindfulness activities before bed, remember that it’s okay if you fall asleep while practicing. You don’t need to try to keep yourself awake until you finish your body scan or anything like that.