Aug 12- Routine

Meditation: Headspace, Sleeping
Length: 10 minutes
Where: In bed, Los Angeles
How It Felt: Relaxing

Did a sleep meditation last night! I’m working on a nighttime routine, which is huge for me. I’ve never had a routine, never wanted or needed it. I generally have two modes: one- so exhausted I fall right to sleep, or two- I’m not tired so I’m going to stay up and enjoy the night! Putting myself to bed for the sake of going to bed has never been my strong suit.

Lately, piece by piece, I’ve been putting together the type of routine that helps me get sleepy! It’s true what all the experts say- you can train your mind to recognize “oh, I guess it’s time for bed soon.” I knew that. I believed it. I just didn’t care much before.

But it’s more important than ever that I learn to get sleepy more or less on demand, as I contemplate heading back to work for real sometime in the next… soon. Soon I hope. Anyway, I will need to get used to ever changing schedules again. Sometimes you have an audition in Santa Monica at 9 am, which means “leave 2 hours for traffic, minimum.” Sometimes you’ll be on set until 4 am, or have a great show that runs until midnight and everyone is too jazzed to just go home. The nature of this business, outside of a regular TV gig- and, frankly, even then quite often- is hours that change all the time.

And you don’t want to be tired all day! At least I don’t. It’s miserable and you need way too much time in the makeup chair to depuff! Being sleepy when you’re doing the thing that makes you happiest out of anything in the world is such a bummer.

So, my routine. Some things I’ve finally learned that help me get to bed at a not-ungodly hour:

– I come into the bedroom early to “set it up.” I put a fireplace video on the TV, I turn the noise machine on super low, I make sure the bed is cleared of any random items, and usually spray a little lavender spray on the comforter. Oh, and I connected the bedroom lamp to a smart plug so there is a nice, soft light waiting for me.

– I try to wash my face when I come to set up the bedroom, or just generally early in the evening. I hate washing my face when I’m tired for whatever reason and it makes me procrastinate going to bed. Plus I have a long skin care and beauty routine- this is what happens in your mid-30s!- and it takes forever. (Oh, the days when I could face plant in my makeup, wake up, wipe away mascara smudges, and run back into the world, looking dewey and fresh. If only!)

– Once I’m in the bedroom, which is much easier now that it’s cozy and ready for me, instead of a dark, quiet scary zone, I sort of shift into autopilot. If I’m in the middle of a good book, I’ll keep reading while I finish getting ready. If I’m anxious or need to turn my brain off, I’ll switch the TV to a funny, relaxing show and leave it on quietly in the background. (Nothing suspenseful or super interesting! Nothing that will make me think, “just one more episode…”)

Hopefully my face is done, but if not I wash it, floss and brush my teeth, then stretch. I stretch every single night of my life for at least fifteen minutes, but often much longer. It helps me relax, it helps keep my restless legs at bay, and generally makes me feel good. I start with pigeon, always- my hips get tight! Then usually move on to my foam roller, then a series of leg, back, and hip stretches, depending on what my body needs. Keeps me nice and flexible!

At some point in that routine, I do double pigeon and spray some magnesium oil on the top foot, add a few drops of lavender, and give myself a little foot rub. The magnesium is the number one thing that has helped my restless legs. Since I started using it every night, I think they have maybe bothered me three to five times. It’s a godsend!

The lavender just smells yummy! And helps relax me. I used to love it in a diffuser but it gave my poor kitty respiratory issues, so using it on my feet is perfect, since I inhale it while I stretch, then tuck those puppies away under the covers where the scent doesn’t bother him. Because you all know we are cuddling at night!

Then I climb into bed and stretch my quads, tucking my feet under my bum one by one. Then, I’m sleepy!

Sometimes I’ll add a meditation in there, either on the floor or, as last night, to fall asleep to. It’s nice! And, better yet, it’s working!

It’s been nice to use the down time of this pandemic to improve things about my life, from this routine to meditation to more regular workouts to my relationships to, generally, myself. It can feel like time is just slipping by us some days, but I know I can look back and see the difference between pre-pandemic and now. I’m more intentional. More mindful. More present. Much more likely to set clear boundaries, stand up for myself, say no. I’ve readjusted so many priorities.

Now, to tackle that morning routine at some point! That’s probably my Everest. Oof. Mornings are rough for me! But I know I can do it! I revamped my nights, after all!

One step at a time.