Bad Habits & Bedtime Routines
I have a lot of bad habits. One of them is literally never being away from a screen.
My days used to pretty consistently look like this:
7:30am: Wake up, check phone.
7:30-8am: Lay in bed, scroll for 5-10 minutes before getting up.
8am-9am: Watch YouTube videos while getting ready.
9am-6pm: Do work on a computer all day, "just checking" socials every hour to see any notifications that have popped up since last checking.
6pm-7:30pm: Check e-mails just *once more* before making supper. Watch Netflix while cooking.
7:30pm-9pm: Work on personal projects (editing videos or podcast, still on a computer)
9pm-11pm: Crawl into bed, watch Netflix.
I used to keep Netflix playing as I fell asleep, because there's something comforting about the sitcom laughter of Friends in the background.
I've seriously struggled with cutting back on screen time. It's hard because my work requires me to be *on* constantly. To show up. Be present. Engage. Create. Upload. Respond. Repeat.
Then again, it's kind of a poor excuse.
When I looked at time spent on my phone - doing aimless things, like scrolling and "checking updates" - work wasn't the true reason I was constantly looking at screens. It was just.... out of boredom.
And sometimes, not even boredom, but out of the need (or fear) to be forever present online and not miss out.
"Miss out" on what? I don't know, to be honest. Nothing that exciting ever happens within a few hours that requires me to check my phone constantly. Any big news, friends text. Or family calls.
So I turned off notifications. Literally all of them.
Instant relief. But I'd still feel anxious and antsy at times, feeling tempted to check in and finding my fingers mindlessly opening apps like second nature. Old habits die hard.
Bedtime was one of the biggest struggles. I LOVE sleeping, but have always had a hard time falling asleep. I was a night owl as a kid, and am the type of person who leaves the TV on all night to feel less alone (while my iPhone sleeps under my pillow).
So what's a girl with a screen addiction to do?
I've had an on/off relationship with meditation. It intimidated me for a LONG time. The culture. The pressure. I didn't *get it* and so I felt like I wasn't doing it right. (I talk more about this in Episode 9 of the Self-Care Sunday podcast).
That changed about a year ago, probably because it was exactly what I needed in that moment. I took a guided group meditation class at Moment, and was hooked. I spent the summer taking meditation breaks on my patio, in the sun, and finally feeling my mind letting go of this constant need to be *on*. I downloaded Headspace and went through daily meditations like clockwork. But then, I felt stuck again.
I don't remember how I found Yoga Wake Up - probably on Instagram (ironically) - but this app has become a game changer for my bedtime routine.
Yoga Wake Up is basically a (the first ever) yoga alarm clock. Instead of waking up to that super annoying phone alarm, you wake up to a 10 minute guided meditation. There's different meditations to choose from, some are more active on the yoga side while others are more peaceful and calming. I originally downloaded it to test it as an alarm (hint: I'm NOT a morning person). But I found after a while that the best solution for me was to wake up without an alarm (whenever I can - I work for myself, so this is a feasible option).
Instead of using it to wake up, I started using Yoga Wake Up to fall asleep, and it is seriously the best thing I've ever tried to break the bad habit of extra screen time in bed. Now my bedtime routine looks like this:
8:30-9:30pm: Run bath, listen to podcast instead of TV show.
9:30pm-10pm: Wash face, brush teeth, drink water, get cozy.
10pm: Get in bed, turn on Yoga Wake Up, fall asleep.
Of course, every night doesn't perfectly adhere to this (it's currently 9:18pm and I am not writing this in the bathtub). For those that are curious on specifics - I listen to the Muladhara Meditation with Ali Owens every night. It's 12:52 minutes long and 99% of the time I fall asleep in the first 10 minutes.
And, if you've read this far, I'm seriously impressed - I thought blogs were dead. Anyways, kudos to you! If you want to learn more about Yoga Wake Up, I interview the founder Lizzie Brown and we discuss her story & thoughts on self-care/yoga culture in Episode 8 of the Self-Care Sunday podcast.
If you want to give Yoga Wake Up a go - you can use the code SELFCARESUNDAY to save $2 on your monthly membership (which works out to be less than 1 latte at Starbucks for a month's worth of unlimited meditations!). You also get a 7-day free trial (download here).