Have you ever had a restless evening? By restless I mean you feel irritated because there is nothing to do, everyone else seems like they have things going on and you are stuck in your home. Usually, when I have a restless evening it is because I have a big day coming up and I cannot calm the nervous feelings.
So, on these irksome evenings I tend to do a few of the following activities to keep myself occupied and be prepared for the next day.
Read your diary – To save any anxiety when you go to bed, check your schedule and see what you have planned for tomorrow. By doing this you know when to set your alarm as there is nothing worse than waking up and panicking because you are late. If you see that you have a lecture or seminar the next day, you can have a quick read of what it is about, maybe make some pre-lecture notes so you feel prepared. That it is all about really, feeling prepared. Stress and anxiety will impact how much sleep you have, you do not want to be laying in bed panicking because you do not what is happening tomorrow. This leads us to the next point.
Make a to-do list – If you do have something happening tomorrow, write down a list of what you need to do to make your day run smoothly. If you have a lecture, what do you need to do to prepare? What do you need to do after? Say you do not have anything planned, it is still good to create a list. So on this list, write down all the housework you need to do, all the university work you need to do or any hobbies/’me’ time you want to do. If you make the list then you will feel more prepared for tomorrow, you will have the motivation to peel yourself out of bed and you will have no stress caused by a busy day ahead.
Drink some water – So you are loitering around your flat or house and have nothing to do. Ask yourself this, have you had enough water today? If you have been in meeting, lectures or cooped up doing work then you may not have drunk enough water. Due to this, you may experience headaches when you are trying to sleep or tomorrow morning. Have a glass or two while you are making your to-do list.
Call your family – Now this is going to get deep real quick but, if you live away from home, it is important to make sure you are in frequent contact with your family. I have lived my whole life telling myself that I never know what is around the corner. If you have some free time, give your mum, dad or sibling a quick call as you never know what may happen to you or a loved one tomorrow. On a much lighter note, if you are having a problem with anything or want to rant about your day, who better to call than your mum? Again, getting any problems off your chest may make you feel lighter are ready to end the day.
Do the dishes/kitchen tidy – Imagine this: you wake up, get ready, decide you want to make pancakes for breakfast, go into the kitchen and there is a stack of unwashed pans in the sick. Does not sound like an ideal morning, does it? If you have spare time at night, help yourself by doing the dishes. By delaying the chore, you are only making tomorrow more hectic for yourself. Unless you are going to take up at 7 am, I do not think you are going to make breakfast in time before a 9 am Zoom seminar. Not only are you helping yourself but also your flatmates. Doing a good deed and seeing how thankful your flatmates are that you have done their dishes will lift your spirits tomorrow.
Tidy your bedroom – If the kitchen is already clean, take a look at your bedroom and see if that is. Since you are used to the space you live in, you may not notice the mess piling up. Are there shoes scattered around the floor? Are your notes dispersed on your desk? Are there dirty clothes lying around? For your own health and safety, you have to make sure that the space you are living in is as clean as it can be.
Face routine – When you leave your face routine to do late at night, you can sometimes feel like you do not want to do it or you do not do it properly. So why not do it when you are more awake and can do it correctly. The worst thing you can do is break the routine your skin is used to as you do not know how your skin will react to the changes. Plus, the earlier you do it the quicker you can get to bed.
Organise your clothes – Quite a while back I wrote an article all about how to organise your clothes. Everyone gets those weird bursts of energy to rearrange their whole life late at night, so why not do it with your clothes? Make sure all your regularly worn jackets are on hooks, that all your shoes are either put to one side neatly or stored away and that all the clothes in your drawers are neat. It is not pleasant looking at a mess that you have created with your clothes, it can make you feel very disorganised and not so put together. You cannot deny it is a good feeling picking an outfit in the morning when all the clothes are neatly laid out. To be even more organised the next day, pick out an outfit the night before.
Meditate – This is a great way to calm your mind and body to have a peaceful sleep and morning. With a clear head and enough sleep, it will feel easier to get out of bed and you will have a good start to the day. Also, meditation can help in relieving stress, meditate before you go to bed so you do not go to sleep stressed. Then, anything problems that you faced during the day, meditation may help solve them.
Stretches/light exercise – I remember learning in GCSE Science that doing a little bit of exercise before bed can help you lose weight while you sleep. If dieting, exercising or weight loss is your thing, then try doing some light exercise before bed. Perhaps, you could exercise to loosen up a bit, get rid of any stress or anxiety built up in your body or let any anger out. However, do this in the early stages of the evening as your workout may make it harder for you to sleep.
Change your bedding – Not only do you need to do this to fill some time but also for your own hygiene. The amount of dirt and germs that can build up the longer you leave the same bedding on is ridiculously high. Make sure you are changing your sheets every week to two weeks, a month at the most. Also, your bedding may smell over time and you may not even notice. Everyone has heard the term ‘nose blind’ but for those of you that have not, it means when you become used to or oblivious to a bad smell. In my opinion, one of the most embarrassing things that can happen is someone visiting your room or sleeping over and there is an odour. So change those sheets!
Look at your emails – Make this your last moments of screen time before you turn your phone off for the night. See if anyone has emailed to change plans the next day, such as a lecture moving time. Or, someone may have emailed to arrange something. If you have more time on your hands, try sorting through the emails you need to keep and the ones you can delete. Emails take up a lot of storage space on your phone, space which can be used for more important things. Also, it will get rid of that annoying red notification above the app. You do not have to do all the emails in one night, especially not if you have thousands of unread emails. Do a hundred or so every night so it does not get too tedious.
Write in your journal – Not to turn your life into an American teen film, but journal writing right before you go to sleep can help your brain relax and get ready to sleep. This is because you are not spending every moment up until bedtime staring at a screen. Also, writing all your thoughts and feelings that have generated and built up through the day can help you feel less heavy, mentally. Then, when you wake up you can look back through what you have read and evaluate it. Changing your thought process about stressful encounters that happened the previous day into positive or neutral thoughts can help set a more productive mindset for the new day.