With the start of a new year comes the time for many of us to re-think our daily routines and big goals. As creatures of habit we have had morning and evening routines since we were children, but as we get older thoughtful routines often fall to the wayside. Practicing healthy morning and evening routines has been shown to alleviate bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety, and improve sleep quality. Remember, in order for the habit to stick it must be realistic, so tailor your daily routine to your lifestyle, when exactly you need to wake and sleep, and when you prefer to do things like exercise or be more creative. REST by Umay has been designed to support your wake-up and wind-down routines with a mindful practice called Thermal Meditation™ , because even a few moments of active rest can go a long way in optimizing how we feel and how we navigate our day.
Here are a few tips to help you create a daily routine:
- Rise with REST: Cooling can refresh our eyes with natural tears and focus the mind. The Rise session on REST was designed to help you jump start your day in just 90seconds with a burst of cooling or a gentle warm to cold session.
- Make your bed: Now that you are ready to get up, make your bed to accomplish the first task of the day. Completing one task such as making the bed can start a cascade of productivity, and according to author and entrepreneur Tim Ferris “if you win your morning you win your day”.
- Hydrate: While it may seem obvious, many of us tend to reach for our coffee before our first glass of water. Try and reverse this order as it’s important to hydrate our bodies after a long period of sleep to aid digestion and metabolism.
- Head outside for a walk: Letting your eyes and skin access natural sunlight in the first 30 minutes of waking is essential for Vitamin D production (known to reduce risk of cancers) and triggering earlier nighttime melatonin production (to fight insomnia, premenstrual syndrome, and seasonal affective disorder).
- Practice gratitude: This can be done with the help of books such as The Five Minute Journal to help set a mental framework for the day. Practicing gratitude has been shown to produce “greater levels of positive affect, more sleep, better sleep quality, and greater optimism and a sense of connectedness to others”.
- Practice the 20-20-20 rule: Taking frequent breaks from screens and building an awareness of your blinks is an important step in maintaining healthy tech hygiene for your eyes and your mind. Just like any other muscle in our body our eye muscles get tired when focusing consecutively for 20 minutes or more, causing computer vision strain. To avoid this, every 20 minutes, take a break and blink while looking 20 feet away for 20 seconds to give your eyes and brain a break.
- Recharge with REST: This session provides an opportunity for you to actively disconnect from work and be more present in your home life. Take just five minutes to find a space to lie down and recharge your batteries.
- Warm bath or shower: According to neuroscientist and sleep specialist Matthew Walker, “taking a hot bath before bed can drop your body temperature once you’re in bed, in addition to making you feel sleepier and more relaxed”. The best time to do so is one to two hours before bedtime.
- Stretch: The word ‘yoga’ means ‘union’. The act of exercising both the mind and body is one of the oldest practices shown to improve overall balance and wellbeing. Practicing yoga has been documented to lead to improvements in quality of life, physical performance, depression and sleep quality, making it a great wind down activity.
- Read a book: A throwback to your childhood bedtime routine, reading a book is a good habit to get into that involves no screens. Try and find books you enjoy that aren’t too action-packed or thrilling to maintain a calm state.
- Next day to do list: If your mind is still busy it can help to write down a detailed to-do list to clear your mind before bed and improve sleep onset.
- Wind down screen-free with REST: Make the last moments before bed sacred. With the majority of us looking at our phone up until the last minute before falling asleep, we fail to prepare the mind and body for a restful and restorative sleep. Just like we make a commitment to not eat anything after brushing our teeth, REST helps you unwind with non sleep deep rest, so you can break the habit of making screens part of the bedtime routine. Change the way you go to sleep and feel more refreshed in the morning with a 7-9 minute warming REST session. Use REST in bed to help your body prepare for sleep, restore tired eyes and signal to the mind that it’s time to rest.
Change is not always easy, so remember to start small and choose 1-3 new habits that will bring you the most joy and impact. Starting and ending your day by putting yourself first can help optimize your well-being and what the day brings. How do you like to wake up and wind down? If you have additional ways you like to start and end your day, or other times you like to use REST, leave them in the comments below.