The key to a happy and productive day starts the night before, however, evening time can bring on a tremendous amount of anxiety for many. Being able to unwind and prepare for the following day is essential. Here are 8 tips for reducing anxiety and stress at night.
1. Prepare for the Following Day the Night Before
There can be too much chaos in the mornings. A lot of our stress can be coming from every direction. Planning your day the night before can ease your mind before bed. Thinking about all the tasks you need to do the night before can seriously bring on the Sunday scares… but any day of the week. Take 10-15 minutes out of your evening before your nighttime routine begins to organize and plan for tomorrow. Knowing exactly what you’re going to be doing when you wake-ups the following morning can relieve some major anxieties you might have.
2. Night Routine
Having a solid nighttime routine is a sure-fire way to reduce your anxiety at night. A consistent routine will trigger your brain to know it’s time to unwind and relax. Commonly many incorporate self-care habits to soothe and relax. Baths, showers, skincare, and meditation are all great habits to add to your routine because they begin the unwinding process and are proactive ways to reduce anxiety at night rather than ruminating. The point of a bedtime routine is to set yourself up for a restful night and to fully decompress from the day’s stressors.
Studies show that exercise is necessary to maintain your mental health. Stress affects the brain, which means it affects the body at the same time. Incorporating exercise into a small portion of your day can truly upgrade your mental health and anxiety. Physical activity produces endorphins and in turn, the endorphins help boost your overall well-being. Exercise is known to reduce tension, elevate, and stabilize your mood. Exercise will also aid in your sleep.
4. Avoid Procrastination
Some of us are natural procrastinators. It may because of sheer laziness or you may truly not know where to begin. Regardless of where you stand, this can be a huge stressor for your anxiety and trigger your mind, especially at night. Putting things off may make you feel better in the short term but as we know instant gratification usually never ends well. Sometimes your anxiety can induce procrastination. A few tips to kick procrastination: Set a timer for a certain task and see how much you can get accomplished, Get organized and plan, and setting simple and achievable goals are all great ways to avoid procrastination to reduce anxiety at night.
5. Cut Caffeine
Hate to break it to you, but your morning coffee and your afternoon iced coffee break can be the cause of your nightly anxiety. Coffee is a natural stimulant. Duh, we all know this. But have you thought about how coffee and anxiety have the same effect on our body? When you get anxious how do you feel? Restless and nervous, irritable, shaky, trouble with digestion, and fast heart rate. How do you feel when you drink coffee? Trouble concentrating, restless and jittery, rapid heart rate, insomnia, and gastrointestinal issues. Sounds pretty similar. The FDA encourages less than 400mg every day and less than 200mg per serving. Too much coffee can carry over to your nighttime activities if you consume it too late. Try limiting your caffeine intake to before early evening. Consider even staggering your days throughout the week with no caffeine at all and see how you feel! It’s going to be hard, but you can do it.
Taking time out of your day to reflect, show gratitude, and clear your mind is a great way to decompress and find the simple pleasures out of your day. Studies have shown that meditating and gratitude have lengthened life expectancy. Being able to relax your mind and body is a vital step to settle the inner turmoil and chaos. If new to the meditation world. I suggest starting with a guided meditation on youtube or even an app like Smiling Mind or Headspace.
Cracking open your journal and brain dumping everything before you go to bed can truly transform your nighttime anxiety. Don’t think of it as a diary, but a place for the good, the bad, and the ugly. Many say journaling has transformed their life and mental health. Journaling allows you to work through your feelings. Sometimes you need to put it down one paper for an alternative perspective instead of going around and around in your head. Journaling is a great outlet for self-expression and self-reflection. Taking a deeper look at the roots of your anxiety can be minimized with a closer examination. Taking 20 minutes out of your evening to download all of your thoughts. It might just change your life.
8. Get off your screens
There has been more than enough research to show that anxiety and depression are linked with our phones and extensive amounts of screen time. Our mind interprets blue light from our screens as daylight making it increasingly harder to get a restful sleep if consumed too close to bedtime. Too much social media has also proven to impact mental health and increased anxiety. Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook can send us all spiraling down a rabbit hole. Sometimes our thoughts can be consumed with comparison from highlight reels, political debates on our feeds, and memes. All of this can be overwhelming and truly over stimulating for our brains especially after a long day of work and social interaction. Try setting limits on your phone for screen time. You can even set the limit on specific apps like TikTok and Instagram.
It seems like at this point in 2020, anxiety is a full-blown personality trait that everyone seems to be struggling with. The state of the world is distressed, but that doesn’t mean you always need to be too. Try out some of these tips and tricks to ease your mind and reduce your nighttime anxiety.