7 Great Ways To End The Day

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The last part of the walk
Tambako the Jaguar

All too often we hear about ways to start the day, with habits and routines we should implement in order to have a good day. What is often missed out on is finishing the day which is a hugely important time to wind down and set yourself up for a good nights sleep and the day that will carry along from that.

1. Have a hot bath or shower

The best thing about a hot bath or shower is that it will relax your tensed muscles. No matter what kind of day I have had I will always try to have a hot shower about 30 minutes before sleeping. It helps calm my mind, plus soothe my head and shoulder muscles. You will also find it easier to nod off if you are warm.

2. Make a warm glass of milk

Sometimes before bed we can get a slight hunger pang, not enough to warrant a meal or snack even but rather to nod us off to sleep. Try lightly heating a small cup of milk, stir in some cinnamon and raw honey and sip on it before going to bed. The milk will help calm the stomach and give a sedative effect, so don’t be surprised if you start yawning soon after.

3. Read something relaxing and inspiring

Firstly and most importantly make sure it is something that interests you. This normally comes hand in hand with relaxing and inspiring. A good book before bed will calm the mind and fill your mind with positive ideas and hope for the next days. Here are a few of my favourites at the moment;

The Miracle of Mindfullness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation

Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer’s Quest to Find Zen on the Sea

Force of Nature: Mind, Body, Soul (And, of Course, Surfing)

The 4-Hour Workweek.

Those are some of the best easy reads I have had in the last month or two. So take a look and see if you enjoy any.

4. Visualise the next day

This takes just 10 minutes and can set things up for your next day. Try just laying down closing your eyes and focusing on your breath. Then move into visualising key points and things you want to achieve the following day or even that week, make sure your visualisations are positive and make them play out to be ideal. Of course this guarantees nothing but it certainly helps. This is a tip from one of my favourite books PshycoCybernetics.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUbK0nql64c

5. Write down what needs to be done tomorrow

Clear your mind, get things off your chest. By simply grabbing a pen and paper and listing out the following:

  • What needs to be done
  • The order in which you will try to do the tasks
  • What’s on your mind

You can clear a load of clutter in your mind that might normally keep you up at night ruminating and worrying.

6. Make a gratitude list

This goes back to habits, by simply noting down at the end of each day a handful of things you are thankful for you will feel much better.

Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful. – Buddha

You don’t need to spend much time on this just note down four or five things that went well today and store them in a journal on your bedside.

7. Do some basic stretches

Stretching before bed is very relaxing. Nothing too stimulating should be done just a few simple yoga poses and stretches will do fine. This is especially useful if you have a desk job or something that has you sitting around all day. It can make your hip flexors and abductors very sore as well as crushing your lower back. So lengthening stretches along with something for the legs are great.

Comments

  1. Alyson says

    Love these suggestions. After a crazy day, sometimes it’s easy to forget to slow down at the end. Thanks for the reminder! :)

  2. Hugh says

    Good list. My evening routine is a cup of decaf green tea and a half hour of reading fiction. My fiction is either a book (hooked on travel writing at the moment) or a good magazine, but nothing too “heavy”. This has worked wonders for me and I often don’t even remember how or when I fell asleep.

    The books you’ve listed in #3 look pretty cool – I’m going to check the surfing ones out.

  3. William Mize says

    I think that folks who suffer from insomnia would benefit greatly from a nightly routine (that and not having a TV in the bedroom :)) – I do a great percentage of your recommendations. I’d also add journal writing – something along the line of Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages”, and instead of cinnamon, I do Garam Masala.
    Highly recommend :)

  4. Luke M-Davies says

    Nice post Chris – some very useful tips that I will be giving a try.

    We are always told how sleep is one of the key ingredients to health and fitness success. This then puts pressure on us to get the best sleep possible, which can actually make your sleep worse as you get into nasty insomnia type mind games. So anything to ease the way to zzzzs is good in my book.

    The stetching point has another aspect. I saw a report once on muscle contractions helping sleep. Try it for yourself – work from top to toe to feel a great release: exercise your jaw/face for a few seconds, tense your chest, curl your biceps, clench your fists and release after a few seconds, tens your leg muscles and lastly your feet. The release after the muscle contractions makes us feel relaxed (unless you give yourself cramp of course ;)

    @ Luke: Progressive relaxation is amazing. I have never tried contracting each muscle one by one, will give it a go this week….

    Ultimately we have to find the best routine for ourselvesand stick to it!

  5. TomGreenwald says

    A warm glass of milk and stretching sounds good for me. :)

    I usually go through a pilates routine while watching TV. It provides a great stretch and isn’t very intensive. It actually helps me to fall asleep faster.

  6. Jen-JensFitnessTips.com says

    These all great ways to end the day! I need to try visualizing tomorrow and preparing for it better. But I do have a glass of milk before bed. I need to stretch more at night too. I think almost every point was something positive. That’s the key right there. Thanks for sharing…great post!

    Jen :)

  7. IPBrian says

    Good list…I keep meaning to read the 4-Hour Workweek and have never got around to it. Thanks for the reminder.

    @ Brian: Thanks. I read it a while ago and it is very inspiring, even if you don’t plan to become the next Tim Ferris.

  8. Happily Active says

    Great tips here! Love the thought of bringing the day full circle and focusing on not only the beginning but the end too. I love the way you incorporate fitness and health into one, creating an all around happy and wholesome mindset. Its key to look and consider all angles in life and this blog does a great job of checking out points of view from a myriad of windows!

  9. Melinda Neely says

    I am having trouble sleeping lately and will give these helpful hints a try. I particularly like the idea of visualization and gratitude, as much of our own happiness is dictated by our own thoughts. Might as well push those thoughts in the right direction!

  10. Bodybuilding Boon says

    The warm milk is an interesting idea. I LOVE milk and have never thought of having it warm before. A drop of vanilla and some cinnamon or a squirt of chocolate syrup….

    All warm while im cozy under the covers sipping it as I watch a late tv show before sleeping sounds like heaven. Not a shabby source of protein either.

    Thanks for the Idea! I’ll definitely be trying that tonight.

    @ Boon: It is not as high in protein as the typical BodyBuilding fare, but it can definitely help you sleep better and therefore grow and repair your body.

  11. Canaguy says

    thanks for putting this out there. I liked it. For me number 6 is actually the one I neglect most and should direct a bit more focus to it.

    I can get to sleep easily but staying there is tougher. Any ideas there?

    @ Canaguy: I find getting up and reading something with a flashlight until I start yawning usually works. Whereas lying in bed just leaves me revving up my mind…. Funny thing is that it is a problem that I have only experienced in the last few years and never really as a kid, maybe the overactive pace of today’s society causes the early rising.

  12. Alex says

    No matter what else you do, a mini meditation–if you don’t already do a longer meditation–is very mind and sleep friendly. A mini meditation may be as short as a few minutes. Do it intuitively, not timed. Those of you who don’t meditate: there are a million books and many methods out there, but among all those, for beginners there’s a gem called The Eight Minute Meditation. If you ever wanted to get started with it–and if you ever tried and failed and think you can’t–give it a go. After years of unsuccessfully trying to get into a regular meditation practice this short, simple, but powerful book helped me develop the skills and habits to meditate twice each day–and feel oh so much better throughout the rest of my life.

    @ Alex: thanks for the recommendation I will definitely be adding this to my next Amazon order. I have actually heard about this through a bunch of people in the past and they all say it is superb.

  13. sian-girlgetstrong says

    You have the BEST posts! I am printing this for tonight and see if it works for me…I am such a terrible sleeper and it sucks I tell you! Can’t wait to read more….

Trackbacks

  1. [...] Sometimes before bed we can get a slight hunger pang, not enough to warrant a meal or snack even but rather to nod us off to sleep. Try lightly heating a small cup of milk, stir in some cinnamon and raw honey and sip on it before going to bed. The milk will help calm the stomach and give a sedative effect, so don’t be surprised if you start yawning soon after. – Zen to Fitness [...]

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