by Erin Oden, ASW, Clinical Director
One of the best ways to create self-awareness is through practicing a regular nightly routine. This practice is suggested within the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous and is adapted through other 12-step programs, as an essential piece of recovery. People who have a nightly routine share that they are more grounded, self-aware and peaceful. However, if you are anything like me, starting a new habit or routine sounds like it will be difficult and time-consuming. Let’s take a look at what a nighttime routine actually looks like, in order to make an educated decision on adding it into our daily agenda.
Pause and Reflect
A nightly time for reflection need not take hours of your time. Simply take a few minutes to sit on the side of your bed. You can keep a pen and paper in your nightstand, and each night before retiring to bed, close your eyes as you ground yourself and reflect on the day that you just had.
Notice Areas for Growth
Without judgment, ask yourself where you have struggled throughout the day. Where have you been short-tempered? Where have you spoken when unnecessarily? Did you wrong anyone or handle any situations poorly? This is not meant to be a shaming practice, but one to help you to notice areas for improvement so that you can move forward in being the best version of yourself.
How can you do better tomorrow?
Simply being aware of our mistakes isn’t enough; we need to assess how to do better. This will help us to feel accomplished and positive as we handle trying situations with more finesse.
Where did you do well?
Let’s not forget to acknowledge our areas of growth and success! It is often too easy to be critical of ourselves throughout the day, especially upon looking at our mistakes. Remember that you are always growing and changing. Acknowledge how awesome you are!
Finally, put some pen to paper and list 5 things you are grateful for. Ending your daily reflective practice on a note of gratitude will surely warm your heart. By acknowledging the things that we are thankful for, we draw attention to the positive results of our efforts.
You are worthy of taking time for yourself and experiencing the positive results of daily reflection through a nightly routine. This simple practice can help you to lead a life of more dignity and grace, and who doesn’t like the sound of that!