Larissa Carlson, aka The Leo Style, is a lifestyle blogger and mother of two who documents her life through creative storytelling. Larissa wanted to find a way to help instil a feeling of calm, instead of chaos, in her time before bed; which has led to an evening routine that allows her to create ‘me-time’ before tucking into bed.
Larissa Carlson shares her experiences and tips on how to make time for yourself before bed …
After a busy day, it’s important to unwind. My husband and I wanted to develop positive habits around sleep hygiene, to create a nightly mantra that we can live by. These rituals are a huge part of my life, helping both hubby and I unwind from the busyness of the day - they help me spiritually, emotionally and physically. They are my secrets to waking up a happier and more well-rested mum.
I truly believe that what we choose to do at night directly impacts on our quality of sleep, significantly influencing our mood and energy levels for the next day. Chatting with other mums about shared sleep concerns has inspired me to share my own tips and tricks. I truly hope the routines below help you get on track and encourage a bit of me-time before bed - we totally deserve it!
‘EVENING ROUTINE’ - POWER DOWN
We switch our phones to airplane mode around 8:30pm so that all connections to our phones have gone, unlike in silent mode, where we can be tempted to check our notifications. Phone distractions are gone for the 8+ hours of sleep we aim to get each night and claiming back this time means I can focus on myself and my family. I can still use my alarm in flight mode, everything else can wait till the morning, where I can be more focused and ready to deal with it.
‘EVENING ROUTINE’ - CLEANING BLITZ
After the kids are put to bed, my husband and I play a game we call the ‘30-minute blitz’. We set the timer for 30 minutes and spend that time tidying the house. Hubs and I are quite competitive by nature, so it ends up being a battle of who gets more done, we are often surprised at how much housework we finish together in these 30 minutes. Cleaning for a set time means we don't overwhelm ourselves each night before bed, the bigger cleaning jobs can be spread across the week and the house is organised for the next morning.
‘EVENING ROUTINE’ - OUTFIT SELECTION
This evening routine is engraved in my core, a tip I learned working in the retail, fashion and styling worlds. If you plan your outfit the night before, it’s one less task to complete in the morning and an effective time saver - especially because our entire household does this before bed (the kiddies too!). I am a big believer that there is power in presentation, so when I am confident with my outfit choice and know that I look good, I feel good, which means I am more empowered to tackle the day ahead.
‘ME TIME’ - BEAUTY TIME
To me, cleansing my skin at night is a luxury. Sometimes it takes 5 minutes, other times it’s 25 minutes. I'm not counting though, as it’s the most indulgent time in my night where I lock myself in my bathroom and switch off from the outside world. At 34, I am completely intentional and purposeful with my skincare. Eye cream, serum, a rich night cream and a trusty lip balm are non-negotiable, giving my skin all the help it needs, while it renews overnight.
‘ME TIME’ - TEA RITUAL
My husband’s cue to put the jug on is when I am doing my beauty routine. Most of the time it’s peppermint tea because of its calming properties that leaves you feeling relaxed and releases stress and mental pressure. Peppermint also has antibacterial properties that helps fight off disease and improve your immune system. If you are like me and enjoy tea before bed, be sure to choose a tea that is free of sleep-disrupting caffeine. You should also avoid adding sugar to your tea before bed, since sugar can promote wakefulness.
‘EVENING ROUTINE’ - DAY PLANNING
While sipping our teas, Isaac and I get our diaries out and ensure we are on par with our schedules. Even after nearly 8 years of being together, we are continually looking for ways our communication can be improved. When you are busy parents it can be all too easy to forget to chat to each other about new events or changes to schedules. My husband and I have been able to greatly help our understanding through this commitment.
‘ME TIME’ - TURN-DOWN
Every night I turn down the beds in our home. I remove the extra decorative pillows and ensure the blankets are folded down, so our bed is ready for us sleep in. I spritz essential oil (containing lavender or chamomile) that helps promote relaxation and restful sleep. I am a massive fan of linen and appreciate the feel of high-quality sheets and bedding. But, even more important is the bed you choose to sleep on, a place for your body to recharge, relax and dream. I have been a Sealy Posturepedic fan for the last 16 years (3 beds to-date!). My friends give me a bit of grief when we talk beds, they say I have ‘started at the top’ and they are right! There is no turning back for me in terms of the comfort, support and durability that Sealy Posturepedic beds offer - and as a mum I can't afford to lose sleep!
‘ME TIME’ - REFLECTION & GRATITUDE
My last evening routine is the most important, my husband and I hold hands (or cuddle) and take a minute to reflect with gratitude. We tell each other three things we are grateful for; it could be something positive that happened during day or a wonderful thought or reflection. Gratitude makes me more aware of the good things in my life. It shifts my mindset to positive, no matter what happened in my day, keeping my worries at bay. For me, giving gratitude nightly has given me greater satisfaction and happiness in my life. When I switch the light out after giving gratitude, my heart is full.
Like most mums, I am busy! The kids, being a household executive, having an equally busy husband and running the blog. We all have bad days, but I refuse to have bad nights. My evening routines help prepare me for my various roles each day.