Many of us struggle to get a decent night’s sleep, even if we know, in theory at least, what helps. So, what simple and practical steps can you take to set you up well for a calm mind and settled night of rest?
Colin Reeve and Karen Stone, founders of Peaceful Way Retreats, have shared their top tips to help you move from alert to calm, and towards a peaceful night:
Take 5 minutes as you get ready for bed and list the answer to these 3 questions.
- What are you most proud of about your day?
- What will you let go of?
- What will you focus on tomorrow?
Try writing these down in a notebook, it will be more powerful than just thinking about answers and also give you insights to look back on. The ‘let go of’ question we find really helpful as that’s something we often struggle to do.
There are two options we recommend here and, if you have the time, we recommend both, or even combining them.
A Breathing Practice
This simple, do anywhere practice is a great way to calm your mind and nervous system to ready you for sleep. Take a conscious inhale through your nose (if possible) for a count of 4. Hold for a count of 2. Exhale for a count of 6 through your nose (you may work up to an exhale of 8 or longer with practice). Repeat for 5- 10 rounds and notice any changes.
A Physical Practice
The following exercise is a fantastic way to rebalance and relax. Lay on your back with your legs against a wall and let gravity do the hard work. Use a blanket under your pelvis and maybe for your head. Rest your hands lightly on your abdomen so you can feel your breath. Rest here for 2 -10 mins, simply observing your breath. Slowly bring your legs down and take your time to sit back up.
Imagine the month ahead when you are experiencing great sleep and a peaceful mind, what is the quality that is present? (For example, calm, in control, happy, balanced etc). How does that feel in your body? What do you say to yourself when you feel that? See yourself walking through your life with more of that quality. Look up as you imagine that and smile as you see yourself, as if you were watching a short movie.
Essentially, we believe that the wellbeing is a practice – some days it shows up differently than the day before but there is always something you can do to shift from frazzled towards a sense that’s more conducive to rest.
See the above practices as ways to close of the ‘chapter’ of the day that just passed and get ready to open the next exciting chapter of this adventure we call life. It’s all about bringing more life to your life and that’s what we aim to help those guests who join us on our retreats to experience, practice and take back into their daily lives. Wellbeing is not a practice for retreats, it’s a practice for life.
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