How to Relax Like an Insomniac
A New Year's Resolution for the Books
It’s pretty crazy to think that initially my biggest New Year resolution was to overall just get more rest. By any means necessary.
I say it’s crazy because well… I’m an insomniac.
An insomniac. Dictionary definition: someone who is regularly unable to sleep. My definition: a person who avoids sleep to be able to use every minute of the day to simply think.
I don’t tend to get very much sleep, but when I do it is very brief. And usually that lack of sleep is like fuel to another night of no sleep. It’s like an endless cycle. A cycle that I have longed to break.
My dear friend anxiety plays a big part in my lack of sleep because I’m always worried about the ‘what ifs’ and ‘will I have time’. My brain is in overdrive every night before bed trying to plan what I should do next, and how to do it. It’s never ending honestly. And then when my day is starting all of those 'what ifs' I’ve been trying to figure out and my time management plans all fly out the window because now I’m trying to simply find ways to stay awake and not take a much needed 5-hour nap.
Did you catch that? That run on sentence...? That is how my brain functions 90% of the day. The other 10% is actually pretty chill.
But that’s the problem. I don’t want to be only 10% chill. Maybe a solid 65%, because if I'm being quite honest my overactive mind is also fuel for my creativity. On those nights when I can’t sleep, I’m always working on something or coming up with something so it's not all bad. However, not ideal. So, I decided that this year, for real this time, was the year that I am finally going to get some much-needed rest.
And yes, I did come up with these resolutions on a night where I just couldn’t get enough sleep. But instead of just telling you about them, I’m going to guide you along the way. Maybe it could be some use to you or someone you know!
Here is a guide on ‘How to Relax Like an Insomniac’.
Relaxing Tip 1: Setting small goals for the day that gives you time to do things without pressure. I’ve realized that a lot of problems came from the fact that I wanted to try and complete as many things as I could before bed. Bad idea. Being the slight overachiever that I am, I had this thing where I wouldn’t allow myself to sleep until I finished doing whatever it was that I was doing. Whether it be 1am, 2am, or 3am I was up working until the last minute. And being that it was normal for me to not sleep until then anyway, I used that as my crutch. Another bad idea.
So, in order to give myself time and a peace of mind I’ve decided that setting small goals for myself throughout the day was most effective. Instead of trying to complete all of them at the same time, I just space them out instead.
Relaxing Tip 2: If your mind won’t rest, journal! I found the importance of keeping a journal at your side very convenient. Being that my mind runs 10,000 miles per hour at any time of the day, I found it helpful to keep a journal to record anything that comes to mind. If I had an idea for something new, I'd write it. If I just needed to get some things off of my chest, I’d write it. Having a journal helped release my endless thoughts and relax a bit now that I could visibly see those thoughts. Highly recommended.
Relaxing Tip 3: Vibe out to your favorite music till you can’t vibe anymore. This is by far my favorite tip, resolution, whatever you want to call it, ever! I truly find peace in music. I wake up listening to music. I can now fall asleep listening to music. Throughout the day when I’m feeling a bit out of it, I play some music. It doesn’t always have to be something slow tempo to be relaxing. I find that anything that can get your mind off of whatever it is bothering you or can lift your spirit, is relaxing! I believe that to relax you just need to let go. So, if you need to let go to some Hard Rock, K-Pop, or some Blues, so be it. It’s whatever you choose!
Relaxing Tip 4: Exercising till your mind and body can’t take it. Now I know that sounds like pushing your limit, but this is not what I mean. I recently just got back into exercising, because a healthy body is important, duh! But obviously for that reason I have to take it easy to get back into it. However, I find that because of that reason I also get tired very easily. I have no shame whatsoever. So, instead of draining myself before I get my day started, I’ve decided to exercise before bed. Yes, that’s right. Because by time I’m done with just 7 minutes of a simple workout, my body has had enough, and my brain always agrees. But I’d still break a sweat, and after a good sweat I’d take an even better shower. And what comes after a good shower? A good night's rest. I find this very effective. And tiring. (Yes, I am laughing through my pain as I’m writing this.)
Now, I think the final two tips in my new self-made (and experience) guide are the two most important. They can be beneficial to another insomniac or even a person who has no problem sleeping.
Meditating and a bedtime. Yes, a bedtime.
Relaxing Tip 5: Meditate. Simple enough, right? I’m sure when people hear the world mediate, they automatically think of the Buddha pose and going ‘ommm’. However, that is not necessarily the case. Meditating is basically centering and becoming one with yourself. Honestly, it’s so much more than that, but it’s a way to keep it simple. It’s about taking time to reflect, coming back to yourself, and grounding. Simply finding peace. Whether you do it with music, in a quiet space, or in your bed, it’s a good way to relax and just appreciate life around you. Definitely do it on your own time though. It’s more beneficial that way. Definitely something I appreciate now more than ever. And last but certainly not least...
Relaxing Tip 6: Set. A. Bedtime. You are probably thinking by now, “I’m not 5 I don’t need a bedtime”. But I promise it is worth it. As a kid, I found bedtimes to be the most horrible thing there was. As if I was missing something. Yeah, right. Anyway, now that I know my body better, and I’m in the process of learning my body even better than that I’ve realized something. I’ve had a very consistently inconsistent bedtime for a couple of years now. If I went to bed before 12am, I’d be up at the crack of dawn. If I’m up that early with no reason at all I’m definitely going back to sleep, and that turns into sleeping in. If I don’t fall asleep until after 12am, depending on how I’m feeling I’m probably going to sleep the majority of the day, or be sluggish at least. All in all, though, no matter what time I sleep I always manage to only get 6 hours of sleep. It’s crazy! But now that I take care of my grandma, I need a bed sleep schedule.
So, I set myself a bedtime! Now that I pay more attention to my sleeping habits, I had to pick an appropriate time to wind down (which takes a while), exercise, and get washed up effectively so I can be sure to sleep in a timely manner.
Basically, I just need time to make myself sleepy by 11pm-12am if I want to actually get decent sleep. If I’m lucky I'll get a little more than 6hours.
However, my body is slowly adjusting and it’s probably the best idea I’ve ever had.
If I’m being quite honest that is only half of my list. I binge watch anime and K-dramas, to relax. I also play games, go walking outside, paint, take naps if needed, and dance to BTS because what’s better than that?
Relaxing looks like so many different things and ways for everyone. No one person is the same.
Furthermore, I do truly believe that relaxation is for everyone, and everyone deserves it. So, whether it be taking a nice walk outside to get some fresh air or sitting by the fireplace with some tea and a nice book, I think it’s worth it. I know it’s worth it.
What new ways have you found to relax this year?