I know this happened to you before. Perhaps even last night. You’ve been lying there in your bed for hours and simply couldn’t fall asleep. Your mind racing – constantly thinking either about your job, things you need to do the next day that make you feel uneasy, financial problems or people you feel harmed by.
Whatever the issue, you can’t get it out of your head, so you try to solve it then and there. Before you know it, hours have passed. Then you start worrying about the fact that you won’t get enough sleep. And you are back on the wheel of worry. It’s a tiresome ride. I know - I’ve been there.
I certainly had my fair share of this oppressive feeling and I’m very familiar with my mind spinning on its late-night hamster wheel of worry.
It took me a long time to get a grip on this recurring habit and I would like to share my best tips and tricks with you so you can get out of this vicious circle and start experiencing better sleep and improved peace of mind. Here are 6 habits I incorporated into my daily life and even though I have the occasional relapse I feel like a heavy burden has been lifted off my shoulders. Give it a try – it’s worth it.
Although exercise may not actually solve the issues that are causing you to feel anxious, engaging in even mildly challenging physical activities takes your mind off things. For me, taking long walks to and from work enables me to clear my head and calm down.
2. Relax and take care of yourself.
Enjoy your time with people who make you feel good. Do more of the things you love and that make you happy and leave you feeling good about yourself. Try taking a bath and pamper yourself a bit. Fact is: You need to feel comfortable and energetic. If you are unhappy or self-conscious you easily get caught up in the worrying trap.
3. Do not reach out for trouble.
Don’t read your emails once you left the office (trust me, I know the dangers of synced email accounts on your mobile phone) and try to resolve all potential worry triggers before leaving your workspace. I know this is a tough one, especially at the end of a long and stressful workday, but sometimes 20 additional minutes at work spent on resolving a problem can spare you a shitty evening as well as a sleepless night.
4. Be organised.
If you have a lot of different tasks or a difficult challenge to face the next day, take some time, create a list and write down every single thing you need to do. This way you will have it out of your mind.
5. Clear the air.
If you feel treated unjustly by someone, try to clear the air ASAP and sort the issue out straight away (oh, now you caught me: I’m still a massive coward when it comes to this, but I’m improving). If this is not possible for some reason, again, write down your thoughts and feelings. This is the next best thing, since this way you can reduce the worries and anxiety and by treating the issue more rationally you avoid reading too much into a given situation. I guess you know the scenario when you think about how you should have reacted in a certain situation or how you will react once this situation recurs. What a nightmare.
6. Write it down.
If despite all the precautions you find your thoughts spinning again throughout the night, just take the time to get up and write everything down to get it out of your head. If this occurs frequently, why not leave a notebook and a pencil right there on your nightstand? You always can think about the issues written down the next morning. You might be surprised to find that this won’t be required as often as you think.
Always remember: In the morning everything usually seems much brighter and most of your worries will turn out to be much smaller than you saw them the night before.