Having a writing coach has certainly kept me accountable, especially during this difficult time of being sick and having to produce some seriously fun birthday plans for my daughter’s 16th birthday. Both have taxed my creativity and energy to the max. With the birthday party, I have resorted to using ideas from previous years that were successful, and with writing, I’ve resorted to writing prompts.
The first writing prompt came from my coach, Milli, but the second one has come from a book my husband bought for me about two years ago. It was a thoughtful gift purchased for me while I was on a trip to Philadelphia. My husband is never thoughtful so the event has stood out in my mind. The book is called 500 Writing Prompts and it has some really fun ones in there. I don’t think I’ve written on many of them, certainly not in handwritten form (carpal tunnel syndrome) but because I knew I had to write something today, I found the book at the bottom on my nightstand and started reading a couple options. Because I’ve listened to Milli about getting overwhelmed with choices, I decided to close my eyes, open to a page, and point to what I would write about in today’s blog post. The first choice was an open letter to the Statue of Liberty. Um, no, I just can’t. Extremely relevant and appropriate for today (creepily so–there are no coincidences) but I need a break from all that Trump stuff. Who wants to cry when one is already so stuffed up? Not me.
Take two led me to the winner because it’s easy–describe your bedtime routine. I know this isn’t the most interesting topic to write about but, humor me, I’ve been sick and stressed and I need something easy that I can write from decades of experience.
When I’m certain it’s my bedtime, I tell all the pets good-night and I head upstairs. If we have my daughter’s dog staying overnight with us, then one of the pets follows me upstairs and jumps on the bed, awaiting my arrival so that he can lay by my legs or feet. I don’t know why I love this so much but I do. It makes me feel validated to be loved by a dog.
As soon as I arrive in my room, I walk up one more stair to my bathroom and turn on the hot water and let it run. My water takes about 2-3 minutes to get hot. I asked to have this improved during our remodel and all our pipes were exposed but for some reason it didn’t happen. So, yes, I’m one of those Californians who wastes water at least once per day. In my defense, we haven’t had the outdoor sprinklers on for over a year, and over 50% of water in most California households goes toward landscaping. Our new landscaping, if it ever gets installed, is on a drip system so we will save water that way.
While the water is heating up, I walk over to my dresser and get out my pajamas and put them on. Are they sexy pajamas? NO! They are comfortable and warm. I have a collection of pajamas from Soma because they’re so soft and cozy. I don’t need to be sexy these days, just comfy.
After my pajamas are on, I take my dirty clothes and sort them into the appropriate laundry basket. The darks go with the darks and the lights go with the lights.
Next, I go into one of my drawers in my vanity and get out a hair clip to hold my hair away from my face while I’m washing it. I check the water to see if it’s hot and then turn on the cold water to get the water to the right temperature. I plunge my freezing hands into the water and try to warm them up. Having an autoimmune disorder like Hashimotos means that my hands and feet are frequently like icicles. Putting them under warm water to warm them up makes it less of a shock when they touch my face. I splash the water onto my face to moisten it and then I grab the bar of soap and create some amazing lather. I apply the lather to my face and get all the makeup off.
My mascara is rather stubborn so there might be a chance of a second washing but sometimes I’m too lazy or tired and go to bed with some mascara under my eyes. Whatever, right?
After my face is washed, I dry it, gently patting it. And while my hands are clean, I yank out my contacts and throw them into the trash can. The contacts I wear are dailies so they can be thrown out every day, and every day I get a fresh pair. Love those things. They’re so soft I forget I’m wearing them.
Because I’m back to freezing, I walk into my closet and get out my giant spa robe and put it on for the teeth brushing portion of my bedtime routine. I get out my toothbrush, put the evil toothpaste on it (I should buy something more all-natural for the strict autoimmune protocol I’m supposed to follow), and then I put peppermint essential oil (so many benefits but look at #19) on my toothbrush as well. I brush for what seems like forever, spit, brush some more, and then rinse. I dab at my mouth again and then turn off the lights, and head over to my bed.
If I’m sick or not feeling lazy, I put a bunch of essential oils into my diffuser and turn it on, always selecting the changing colorful lights. This is a bonus step prior to heading to my nightstand. It doesn’t happen every night but it’s happened the last three so it has a chance of becoming part of the habit. If my husband has followed me up to bed, I don’t put on the diffuser because he does not like things that smell good. If I go to bed first, he can’t complain to me about the smell if I’m already asleep.
Opening the drawer of my nightstand, I look inside and see all the eye masks that I don’t wear, especially when I am dog-sitting Brody, my daughter’s dog. There’s no point in putting on an eye mask to block out the sun in the morning because he wakes up at 6:50 a.m. no matter whether it’s a work day or a weekend morning. At 6:50 a.m., it’s rarely that light so the eye mask would have little worth.
I grab my two prescriptions for my thyroid issue and place them on the night stand so that I can take them without disturbing the dog or my husband. I usually set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. so that I can take the Rx at the same time every single day, climb back into bed, and wake up for the day at 6:30. Levothyroxine needs to be taken an hour before coffee so I figure I may as well be sleeping through that hour!
After my meds are all set up, I take off my robe, put it on my massage chair, and get into bed. Hopefully there’s something to read on my nightstand but if there isn’t, I go on my phone and read peoples’ posts on Facebook. This is not an ideal situation so I try to remember to find something before I hop into bed even if it’s a magazine. I finished my Real Simple magazine last night; it had an extremely interesting article in it about a woman who could never finish anything. She outlined the steps she took to change including seeing a self-help guru, hiring a personal assistant, and seeing a psychiatrist. I thought it was a brilliantly written piece–probably because I am that woman. I have a million projects started and none too many finished. I have such guilt around that but the psychiatrist said her behavior was a hallmark of ADD. Yep, I’m pretty sure I have that. How do I know? I’ve taken Ritalin a few times (not my prescription) and it was amazing what I got accomplished in four hours while the medication was coursing through my veins. I was blown away by the sheer volume of to-do’s checked off. What I didn’t like about Ritalin is that I wasn’t creative and I was slightly mean, especially if someone was trying to interfere with whatever I was trying to accomplish. I’m considering seeing a psychiatrist to get my own prescription. I sometimes get really sad wondering what would have happened to me if I had simply been given a prescription when I was younger?? The world will never know.
When I start nodding off one too many times, I reach over to my lamp, turn it off, and lie back down. Although I have had insomnia my entire life, I’ve never had any trouble falling asleep. I frequently don’t remember turning off the light before I’m passed out. My husband comes to bed much later but I rarely hear him.
The only two times my routine gets changed is when I’m traveling and when I’ve had a little too much wine in which I skip most of the steps and head right to bed, make-up and all!
What’s your bedtime routine? Do you do the same thing every night or mix it up? Do you read before bed? Do you and your partner go to bed at the same time? How many pets are with you when you slumber? Do you have a TV in your room? Is the TV on all night? Tell me how you do the nighttime shuffle.