3/9/2017

My Evening Routine

My Morning Routine x Ashley Neese
It is well established that a morning routine can set you up for success. I was an early adopter of a morning routine thanks to an incredible yoga teacher I studied with years ago. She suggested a few simple Ayurvedic rituals including dry brushing and oil pulling that made a significant difference in my life. These rituals have helped me become more present. Instead of jumping out of bed and immediately feeling stressed about the day, I carve out a little time for myself to slow down and ease into my morning with mindfulness.

In recent months, I have been looking to get more out of my mornings, specifically more energy. While adding more rituals could help me achieve that goal, it dawned on me that if I pay more attention to how I end my days it will automatically enhance my day. In order to get the most out of each morning, I need to bring awareness to how I am ending each day.

I’ve had trouble with insomnia at different points in my life and implementing an evening routine has been a huge help in regulating my sleep so that I can get some much needed rest. Last summer and fall, I went through one of the most difficult bouts of insomnia to date and I tried out many different practices to find which ones were the most supportive for me. Over the last few months, I have fine-tuned my evening routine and it has greatly improved my ability to fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up refreshed.

My Evening Routine x Ashley Neese
The beauty of a morning and evening routine is that you can design them to fit your lifestyle, align with the season as well as your changing needs. As some of you know from my previous post on stress and adrenal health, I am a huge fan of Gaia Herbs. When they reached out to me to partner again on a post about evening routines I jumped on the opportunity. Gaia asked me to add their Golden Milk to my evening routine for a while and see how it impacted my evening. I’ve been making golden milk from scratch for years and what I love about Gaia’s is how easy it is to incorporate.

Including Gaia’s Golden Milk in my evening routine has made my nights extra restorative and a part of my day that I really look forward to. This Ayurvedic-inspired formula is designed to nourish and support, something we can all use to help us unwind after a long day.* In addition to a warm cup of Golden Milk, I have several other practices that help me ease into sleep and wake up replenished.

Please keep in mind that how you go about your day impacts your sleep as well. Start by choosing one or two of these evening practices to incorporate. After a week, take note of your energy levels, mood, and the quality of your sleep. Then add another practice and notice how things shift. Continue adding practices until you establish a routine that works for you. Over time you will look forward to your evening routine and it will become an integrated part of your life.

My Evening Routine x Ashley Neese
Unplug

Align with the sun and dim your lights as it goes down. This sends a signal to your body that it is time to start slowing down to prepare for rest. I highly suggest minimizing screen time and try to take a technology break until the next morning. It is okay to have your phone on for emergencies, but try to avoid scrolling through emails before bed as this keeps your nervous system very active. This is a great time to connect with your loved ones, pets or plants in your home.

My Evening Routine x Ashley Neese
Golden Milk

Sipping a warm cup of Golden Milk is a wonderful way to wind down the body and mind. This delicious evening treat has come to replace dessert most evenings and is part of my night that I savor. Gaia’s Golden Milk is an herbal formula that supports rest and nourishes the body. It contains turmeric, which supports healthy digestion, a key factor in restful sleep, ashwagandha which promotes normal sleep patterns and black pepper which is traditionally paired with turmeric to aid in absorption.* Golden Milk also includes the aromatics cardamom and vanilla and dates for sweetness.

My Evening Routine x Ashley Neese
Foot Massage

Massaging my feet is a very simple Ayurvedic ritual that has been a staple in my evening routine, especially during cooler months. Taking a few minutes in the evening to massage your feet is an excellent way to pull your energy downwards and help prepare the nervous system for rest. The feet have several marma points on them, or Ayurvedic pressure points, that correlate with different areas of the body. By massaging the feet you can, in effect, bring your entire body into a state of relaxation.

Wash and dry your feet. Apply slightly warmed, organic, cold pressed sesame oil to one foot. Massage the sole of the foot using circular motions then on top of the foot. Next massage the ankles. Start with the big toe and apply a little pressure to the base of the nail. Massage the toe from the base to the top. Repeat with the remaining toes. Massage the length of the foot top to bottom. Repeat the steps with the other foot. Put on clean, light socks to sleep in.

My Evening Routine x Ashley Neese
Gratitude List

Writing a gratitude list before bed is a great way to take stock of the day and focus on the things that went well. Often times we’re really hard on ourselves and are reluctant to carve out time to give ourselves praise. Making a gratitude list makes it easier to access the good in each day and gives us something sweet to reflect on before falling asleep. My partner Nic and I enjoy saying our lists out loud, it’s a fun way to learn about each other and stay in connection. This is a fantastic practice to do with children as well.

My Evening Routine x Ashley Neese
Breathwork

To calm myself right before bed I like to practice a breathing technique that soothes the nervous system and helps me completely unwind. If you have an active mind, this is an excellent practice that supports a restful night’s sleep.

Practice lying down in bed. Close your eyes to take the focus inward. Breathe in and out through the nose for a few rounds to settle in. When you are ready, make each exhale 2-3 counts longer than the inhale. Continue with pattern until you are completely relaxed and calm. Allow yourself to drift off to sleep.

If you want to feel supported in creating a life changing evening routine, share your daily mindfulness affirmation with us for a chance to win a year’s supply of Golden Milk and Califia Farms Almondmilk, a private breathwork session with me,and tickets to a Wanderlust 108 event. Contest ends Wednesday, April 19, 2017, at midnight PST. Also, check out Gaia Herbs on Instagram for ongoing giveaways in the next few weeks. Good luck!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

This post was created in collaboration with Gaia Herbs. All thoughts, ideas and opinions are my own. I really appreciate you for acknowledging the incredible sponsors that support meaningful  content.

Photos x Marielle Chua

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© ASHLEY NEESE 2017