How to Reset your Mind and Sleep!
Holiday’s are fantastic! The chance to have a break from work, from life and just enjoy yourself. Great food, late nights, sleep ins and down time.
Returning to work all fresh and pumped ready to go….. or not?
I’ve just returned from a family holiday to Bali, escaping Perth’s winter, to defrost my bones. It was a brilliant holiday complete with all our favourite restaurants and bars, great weather and an earthquake for a bit of excitement. I switched off all calls and limited my work thoughts. Funnily enough, I tend to come up with new content ideas when I’m on holidays (and supposedly switched off) so I returned with a few mental notes and lots of exciting ideas. Let me just add here, I’m a small business owner and I absolutely love what I do.
By my second day back at work, I’m feeling tired and overwhelmed. My sleep patterns are all out of wack and I’m still awake late at night with my mind racing, yet getting up earlier with a to-do list an arm long.
Energy levels = I think I need another holiday….
For me, I’m usually an early to bed type person. Most nights, during the week, I’m in bed by 9pm or 10pm at the very, very latest. I fall asleep really easily and quickly (yes you can hate me). I like to, and function best, with well and truly 8 hours sleep. When I’m on holidays, my nights consist of later dinners, drinks, socialising, then even when I head to bed I might read a book or binge on some Netflix. Sleep ins or ‘nanna naps’ get me through and time is really irrelevant when I’m in holiday mode. So, you can imagine the impact this has on my body clock when I get back home.
As I laid in bed last night at 11pm with my eyes closed telling myself to go to sleep, it was time to kick in my ‘sleep reset’ tools.
Here’s are 3 steps that help me to get my sleep patterns reset and back in to my working week. Relaxation, sleep music or sleep stories are always great to have playing in the background whilst doing this, however not 100% needed.
Close your ‘inner eyelids’
Now I know what you are thinking, we don’t have inner eyelids. Correct we don’t, I use it as a figure of speech. When we are laying in bed with our eyes closed willing ourselves to go to sleep, our minds still racing, our eyes still moving, why does it matter if the lights are on or off? Can you tell the difference if there is a light on or off with your eyes closed? For some reason, it feels like we can?
Here’s what I do, close your eyes and lay comfortably in bed. Now with your eyes closed already, picture yourself, in your mind, closing your eyes slowly.
When we tell our mind and visualise closing our eyes, with our eyes already closed, it relaxes our eye muscles and things tend to feel darker. Our eyes may have dropped, along with our eyelids, and now be looking down also making it feel darker. We also tend to relax the muscles around our eyes in the same step. Either way, it feels like we have closed another eyelid and the room has just got darker telling our mind we have closed our eyes and are going to sleep.
The mind is a very powerful thing! Once we make a decision in our mind, our mind will do everything it can to find evidence to prove the decision is right. If it hears, we can’t go to sleep, then yes it will show you exactly why you can’t go to sleep and give you example after example. If it hears and feels, we are going to sleep now, then it’s looking for examples and reasons to go to sleep.
Relax your muscles
Have you ever noticed that when you are trying to force yourself to sleep, however your mind is racing, that your muscles are also tense. My mouth and lips are usually closed and I’m focusing my mind on trying to go to sleep which is actually keeping my mind active and therefore doing the exact opposite! My mouth and lips are actually ever so slightly apart when I am in total relaxation and my tongue naturally rests on the top of my mouth.
On a side note, did you know that? This really blew my mind when I first heard it. I always thought that a relaxed tongue sat in the bottom of your mouth but no it actually rests at the top or back of your mouth.
So, let’s relax our muscles, starting with the rest of our face, our mouth then all the way down to literally our last toe. Think of each body part as we go and relax each muscle ensuring there is no tension or muscle activated.
Our body should be like a floppy doll and drooped into our bed. There is a sinking like feeling as we go deeper into our sleeping position.
Breathe like a Navy SEAL!
Breathing is so simple right. It’s second nature, of course I’m breathing. How we breathe and the speed at which we breathe impacts your entire body, specifically our mind.
Slowing down our breathing is the first step for so many medical events eg panic attacks, high blood pressure, exhaustion, extreme heat, anxiety, and the list goes on. It is the simplest thing to learn, in fact we already know how to do it, and the simplest thing to master the technique to change our sleeping and relaxation patterns. This is also why it’s one of the key skills in meditation.
Let’s give it a go! We are going to breathe in for the count of 4, hold the breathe for the count of 4, breathe out for the count of 4 and hold for the count of 4, then repeat the process. This process not only slows down our breathing helping with the flow of oxygen, it also gives our mind something very simple to do and that’s count to 4. The old ‘counting sheep’ theory. If your mind is counting to 4, it’s not thinking of every other possible thought that runs through our heads late at night.
If our mind is still wondering, then we refocus on our breathing and counting or start from step 1 again.
The power of the mind truly is an amazing thing. When we understand it’s ability and the influence it has on every decision and choice in our lives, we can then benefit from the real power.
How do you feel when returning from holidays?
Do you have any tips or tricks to recorrect your sleeping patterns?
Are you feeling tired just from reading about sleep and relaxation. I’m certainly not judging you if you need a sneaky little ‘nanna nap’….. count with me…. 1, 2, 3, 4……
Amy challenges mindsets in people to own their performance and amplify engagement. She is a human behaviour specialist, with 19 years experience of more than doubling engagement and market brand scores. With her balance of tough love and infectious energy, she creates purpose-driven teams who get results! Amy takes people out of their comfort zone, challenge their mindset and help them bring passion and purpose to every work day.