Create your own mini evening retreat

15 January 2018 - mindful practices

With our days filled with activity and stress, it’s no surprise that we’re always looking forward to our next vacation. But what if you don’t actually have to wait months before you get the chance to have some R&R?

By creating your own mini evening retreats, you get to have them at any time, customised to your own needs. Plus, they don’t burn a hole in your pocket. A relaxing evening also ensures that you get a good night’s sleep, which greatly impacts your mood and energy level the next day.

You may not have time for this every night, but even doing it once a week helps! Creating the conditions for a relaxing evening is easier than you think. Here are 7 general tips:

1. Prep in advance

Doesn’t it feel great to have everything—food, clean sheets, etc.—ready for you when you return home after a busy day? Here are simple ways to achieve that:

- Try meal planning for your “retreat evenings”. What’s meal planning? Check out this short and informative video by Lucy Fink.
- Or try slow cooking. Your food will be ready by the time you reach home.
- Make your bed in the morning and leave your folded pyjamas on it.
- Leave an inspiring note on your pillow.
- Ensure your schedule is blocked off for “retreat evenings” so that there are no interruptions.

*If you consider cooking a relaxing activity, ignore the first two tips!

2. Eat early and well

According to the National Institutes of Health, late meals can cause indigestion that affects our sleep. Research also indicates that certain types of foods should be taken or avoided at night for better sleep.

3. Enjoy then unplug

Technology impacts our sleep. Scrolling through your social media feeds or binge watching a TV show may feel relaxing for a bit, but it’s important to give yourself a timeframe and unplug after. Try doing so an hour before bedtime.

4. Pamper yourself

Do whatever makes you feel like you’re on a holiday. Put on a face mask while listening to a podcast. Have a long bath (try Epsom salts—they’re cheap and do wonders in relieving muscle tension). Light a candle. Hygge your evening away!

5. Have a wind-down ritual

This relaxes you and prepares you for better sleep. Some suggestions:

- Play with your pet
- Change into comfy pyjamas to send a sleep-friendly message to your body
- Easy, 5-minute bedtime yoga
- Journal or read a book
- Meditate
- Take a walk
- Have a cup of tea (camomile or lavender are calming)

6. Aromatherapy helps

Nothing spells retreat like a calming scent—try pillow sprays or room diffusers.

7. Have a relaxation corner

Have a specific corner in your home where you can relax, preferably away from wherever you usually do your work.

Need some inspiration? Check out the night routines of 8 notable individuals, including Oprah Winfrey and Bill Gates.

- The Mindful Company Team