Lately, I’ve seen so much emphasis placed on the importance of morning routines, but what about nighttime routines?
At the end of a long day, most of us just want to get home and call it a night. We need to remember, though, that evenings are just as important as mornings because they prepare us for the next day.
The moments in our lives are interdependent—one moment can’t exist without the other and every moment helps dictate what the next one will be.
Building a nighttime routine takes almost no physical effort (which is good news if we often come back home exhausted), and usually takes me about 10 minutes to complete. Reviewing our day might feel peculiar at first, but once we get accustomed to it, we’ll find how beneficial it can actually be.
It’s honestly one of my favorite practices of the day.
Reviewing our day means to mentally go over and investigate the events of the past 24 hours. Oftentimes, we’re only mindful during the morning when we’re still calm and not overwhelmed. But as the day goes by, and we have too much on our plate, we gradually lose mindfulness and pay little to no attention to what we’re saying or doing—which is natural.
However, if we review the day, we can spot the moments we were kind, and the moments we were angry. The moments we were patient, and the moments we were not. We might even remember things we forgot happened.
Some of us don’t like to revisit the past and are only keen to live in the present moment. While I wholeheartedly agree, we must understand that the past is a stepping-stone to a mindful present moment. How we work with the past is what makes the difference. We shouldn’t live in the past or get stuck in it, but it’s beneficial to analyze it because it can affect how we act in the present.
If we fail to shed awareness on our actions in the moment, reviewing our day gives us a chance to mindfully scrutinize our behavior. Then, we can resolve the less than desirable actions that occurred during the day and simultaneously celebrate all the good that happened.
With time, we’ll notice that reviewing our day plays a major role in our behaviors the following day. When we’re about to make a choice that we know isn’t beneficial, we can pause for a moment and remember what we advised ourselves the night before.
Here’s a little sample of what to do:
We should sit quietly by ourselves. We can do this practice directly before sleeping, when we’re in bed, but we can also do it when we’re sitting up—as long as our eyes are closed and our minds are sharp.
To start off, we need to look at our day with gratitude. As the Dalai Lama says, we are fortunate to be alive, and we must be grateful for this blessing.
Then, start mentally scanning the day and going through the events that occurred. Don’t choose only the good moments; review the bad as well. Imagine yourself watching a movie without getting stuck on particular events. Pay attention to your actions, feelings, and motives, but don’t become part of them again.
It’s not enough to only look at the action. We must also discern the motivation behind it. How did we feel when we made a certain choice, and what were we thinking at that moment? Looking at the emotional details helps us to stop repeating the same unhealthy habits and continue making choices we found beneficial.
When you come across something you could have done better, stop for a moment and ask yourself, “Why did I do this? What else could I have done that would’ve been more helpful or kind? Am I willing to change my behavior the next time I am faced with a similar situation?”
Forgiving ourselves is an imperative step of the process. Instead of giving ourselves a hard time for making poor choices or engaging in negative behaviors, work on learning from them.
Once you finish reviewing your day, set an intention for the following day. Sometimes I tell myself, “Tomorrow will be a better day. Tomorrow I will be less angry, more patient, and more kind.”
Set an intention that speaks to whatever you hope to develop or improve.
After reviewing your day, imagine yourself closing the book on a chapter of your life, and get ready for the next chapter, which begins tomorrow.
Author: Elyane Youssef
Image: YouTube screenshot
Editor: Nicole Cameron
Copy Editor: Catherine Monkman
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