In my rose-tinted mind, my evening routine involves chamomile tea, writing poetry in a journal and settling into a cozy bed with pristine, fluffy, white hotel-style bedding.
Not my evening.
My evening routine usually involves beer, tv, children refusing to go to sleep, and me crashing into my unmade bed. Sometimes I manage to floss my teeth before bed and I pat myself on the back if it happens.
Someday I might have the zen, hygge, peaceful evening routine of my dreams. It’s not the stage of life I’m in right now though, and that’s ok with me.
I have managed to add one element to my bedtime that helps me feel centered and grateful though. I’ve been doing this for the last year or so, and I call it my 5-4-3-2-1.
- 5 prayers
- 4 things I’m grateful for
- 3 best moments of the day
- 2 things I did well
- 1 thing I can improve upon
I was raised Catholic and although I haven’t been practicing, per se, in the last few years, I want to find my way back to some form of religion. I can recite 5 prayers – Hail Mary, Our Father, Glory Be, Angel of God, and the Memorare. I start with those.
From there, I move on to choosing 4 specific things I was grateful for that day. I try to get pretty granular here. I’m always grateful for my husband and kids, our home, food, etc. so I look for the tiny things that are unique to that day. Tonight, for example, mine will be snuggling with my daughter while eating goldfish crackers, appreciating how kind and loving my best friend is to my kids, listening to my baby boy say “uh duh” all day, and wearing comfy Zella leggings.
Then I move on to the 3 best moments of the day. Sometimes these can overlap with what I’m grateful for, but not always. We had a really nice family dinner tonight so that will make the list. So will the thought of my son waving to me when I went in to get him up from his nap. I’m still working on the last one!
Once I’ve got my 3 best moments, I turn introspective and think about what I’ve done well. Today I’m especially proud of how little I used my phone. During the week I don’t get a ton of playtime with my kids, but this afternoon we had a few free hours. I didn’t want to waste any of that time scrolling through Instagram, which happens. (Not proud of it, but it does.) I’m also pleased that I managed to get in a quick workout.
Finally, I determine one thing I could’ve done better. I don’t get down on myself, but rather, use it as a learning opportunity. Today’s item is related to my husband. He was outside using the snowblower (in late March, it’s ridiculous, go away winter, whyyyyyyyy) and I wanted him to come in and take the kiddos so I could focus on getting dinner ready. He didn’t come in as soon as I asked him to and I sent a snarky text to my best friend about him. It wasn’t necessary – it was a reaction to being frustrated. My brain was saying “it’s getting close to the kids’ bedtime, we need to eat soon or they’ll be late getting to bed and if they’re late getting to bed, they’ll be crabby in the morning.” Ridiculous. Also, my husband is awesome and our driveway is cleared of snow. All this is to say… I needed a shift in perspective. I’ll be mindful of this tomorrow.
The 5-4-3-2-1 helps me relax and reflect each night as I’m winding down. Sometimes I complete it while stretching before climbing into bed. Other times I run through it while already laying in bed… although I tend to fall asleep before I can finish! I blame those kiddos who don’t sleep through the night 😉