“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day.”
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, in a letter to his daughter Ellen
Stretch Your Way To Better Sleep
Stretching is important. It improves flexibility and range of motion, increases blood flow to the muscles, relieves stress, improves posture, and more.
And most of us don’t do enough of it.
One reason is that we think of it as a morning activity. But you know what? Stretching is also super beneficial at night.
Doing some gentle stretches or meditative movements like yoga can relax you, leading to better sleep quality. So if you can spare a few minutes in the evening, why not try a pre-sleep stretching routine?
If you’re not sure where to start, check out this article from the New York Times or this one from Healthline – both offer some great sequences of stretches you can try at home with minimal equipment.
Create An End-Of-Work Shutdown Ritual
If you work from home (or your work follows you home), you’re familiar with this problem: you can’t tell where work ends and life begins.
The pings of your inbox follow you to the dinner table. Work-related thoughts swarm around your pillow at bedtime.
Enter the shutdown ritual – a way to say to your brain, workday over.
Your ritual can include whatever you want: giving your desk a tidy-up, saying a specific phrase to yourself (a trick author Cal Newport uses), physically moving to another room… anything that helps you create a clear border between work and personal time.
Two things that are definitely useful to include are an end-of-day review (you can use your Panda Planner daily section for this) and a brief planning session for the following day.
These things help you mentally wrap up your day and get your unfinished tasks and thoughts on paper, clearing your mental space.
Give it a shot – by establishing a shutdown ritual, you can truly “finish each day and be done with it.”
Vanessa Van Edwards, Author & Human Behavior Researcher
As a body language expert and YouTube sensation, Vanessa Van Edwards knows a lot about what makes people tick – herself included. Here’s how she uses her mornings to keep herself motivated.
After waking up naturally at 7 am, she:
- Spends some quality moments cuddling her husband and asking him about his agenda for the day.
- Makes fresh tea using leaves from her garden. “This is the closest thing to meditation that I do. The manual process of clipping, crushing, and steeping the leaves wakes up all of my senses.”
- Does 30-45 minutes of reading while she drinks her tea. “I try to read books that could inspire my work... It helps get me in the right mindset.”
Why it works:
- An 80-year Harvard study found quality relationships to be the best thing for health and happiness. Spending time with loved ones is a must!
- Tea meditation is an ancient practice that can help you harness the many proven benefits of mindfulness.
- Reading isn’t just stimulating, it also increases empathy, reduces stress, and more.
Now, if you don’t happen to have six different types of mint growing in your garden as Van Edwards does, you can still turn your morning cup of tea into a mindful moment. Here’s a simple tea meditation to try for yourself.
Psst… If that invigorating espresso is calling your name, don’t despair – simply do the meditation with coffee instead!