Everyday life is busy, and the demands of fitting everything in is often a juggling nightmare that sends you in the direction of Uber Eats and a Netflix binge on a Friday night.
And that’ A.O.K. But what if the transition out of the Monday-Friday hustle and into the evening or weekend could be a little more gentle, calming and intentional so that you can really feel like you’ve left the working world behind?
When I was juggling full-time office life my transition from my ‘working day’ into my restful night, was one of my most meaningful actions, with the biggest return on investment.
ROI success! Now that’s something we can all get behind. Here's my A-B-C, easy as 1-2-3 rituals:
A. Aromatic ambience:
Think diffused essential oils, incense, fragranced candle - the highest, natural quality you can afford of any of these. As soon as I walk in the door I would prepare my aromatic medium of choice and like Pavlov’s Dog - it was a instant signal to my brain that I was preparing my home space for relaxation, personal comfort and a little bit of luxury and joy.
Ancient and indigenous cultures all share the rituals of burning fragrant woods, plants or resins, anointing with balms: the Egyptians buried Tutankhamun with Frankincense, Mesoamericans work with Palo Santo; Hippocrates (AKA the ‘father of medicine’) sites Ancient Greek preparations including Myrrh, Cinnamon and Cassia.
Aromatherapy is a wondrous, natural and easy way to quickly enhance and lift moods.How? Essential oils when inhaled ’encounter nerves that send messages to an extraordinary mechanism called the limbic system. This part of the brain controls memories, moods, emotions, recognition and even learning.’ (Ashley, p. 49).
Me personally, I am a fan of my ultrasonic steam diffuser and I don’t settle for anything less than therapeutic grade essential oils. My younger self used essential oils in a ceramic oil burner, but I now know that pharmacy bought oils are often adulterated with synthetic compounds which are harmful and disruptive to the body’s endocrine system (hormones- eek you don’t wanna mess with them!) and burning / heating oils kills the naturally occurring chemical compounds that carry the wellbeing benefits.
B. Evening bathing
Bath, shower, foot soak - you decide! But the more time and frequency you invest in recognising your bathing ritual as a separation from your daily grind, into your evening unwind the more powerful it will become.
I personally used to save my bathing for evenings because I used the stream of shower water cascading over my body as a symbol of washing away the debris and muck of my day.
If you take a bath, add in magnesium (Epsom salts) to soothe muscle tension and support deep sleep. Make sure you soak for at least 30 mins to reap the full detoxification benefits. You can even imagine the detoxification process taking place and when you release the water at the end of your soak - similarly with the shower - imagine sending all the muck and debris of your day down the drain, leaving you refreshed, recharged and reclaiming your body and energy for yourself and the rest of your evening.
C. A healing brew
Yes wine is wonderful and the red variety is full of antioxidants, but before you pour that glass, how about a few moments by yourself with a mindful cup of healing delight.
I’ve talked before about Hot Cacao and Chai elixirs, but if you’re simple exhausted or not enthused by spiceful and herbaceous concoctions, then spend an extra few bucks on a organic, high quality herbal tea. My favourites are Pukka and Yogi Tea. They offer a flavour for every mood and constitution. Women’s blend for supporting the monthly cycles, energising blends for gentle pick-me up, digestive blends for the churning tummy.
Choose one or two types that feel indulgent and luxurious.
So to distill that all, simply follow the ABC routine below:
A. Set the aromatic ambience of your home space or bedroom
B. Go and bathe with the intention of releasing the tensions and stresses of the day
C. Get super comfy and take 10 minutes to sit with your hot brew of choice and breath gently and ease-fully as you settle into your home sanctuary ahead of the evening or weekend
I truly hope these are of benefit and I'd love to hear how it goes for you if you try it out!