This morning I read an article from Popular Science on the detrimental effects of being a self-professed and actively practicing night owl. That’s undeniably me – forever up too late, in need of finding the best way to unwind!
Right now is a tough time with everything that’s going on. Nighttime is when my brain revs up and goes into overdrive about everything I thought I had a lid on while the sun was up.
But it has always felt natural for me to stay up later than I should. When I had a job that needed me to be up by 7am, the night before I’d be baking cookies at midnight. When I had a job that needed me to be up at 5am, the night before I’d be baking cookies at midnight. You see the pattern here. I love staying up late and can’t live without cookies.
The Disquiet of Night Noise
I’m prone to going into warp-speed-worry-wart mode late at night, and that keeps me up doing things that most sane people would do at a more reasonable hour. And because I drift off to sleep later than I should, I wake up later than I should.
Since my city is still in a state of lockdown and uncertainty, I’m trying to fill my time by learning new things. But I can grow and learn *only* if my mind knows how to relax, so it can maintain a state of receptivity.
I agree with sleeping and rising earlier – it’s what I’ve always wanted to want to do, but I’ve always lacked the discipline to sleep before midnight or later. I’m always thinking that there’s something I’m forgetting to do with the last remnant of my day. Something I’m missing. Something that will throw tomorrow off if I don’t get it done today, at this last minute of these 24 hours.
It’s complete lunacy and I have to end it.
So, I’ve created a bunch of little habits to incorporate into my daily life that I think might be helpful for you too. Especially if, like me, you have night owl syndrome driven by a brain that doesn’t know where the “off” switch is!
These can be used singularly, interchangeably, or you can make a night of putting them all together before you successfully descend into the best decompression – deep sleep. 🙂
How to Unwind As A Vegan in the New Millennium
First, I want to say that I’ve never been much of a tea-yoga-meditation type of person. I like a cup of tea occasionally, but not routinely. I have had a regular yoga practice in the past, but for no reason other than I like the way it keeps me somewhat limber.
And meditation? That’s something I know I should engage in daily, but haven’t yet. During the times I was obliged to partake (like toward the end of yoga class), I just sat there with my eyes closed, doing nothing more than trying not to doze off.
If meditation is all at once intimidating and strange to you like it pretty much is to me, there’s a way we can do it that will engage us for at least five minutes at a time. And maybe even encourage us into creating a daily meditation habit.
It involves fire. 🙂
Five minutes doesn’t sound like a long time, but we have to start somewhere!
So let’s start.
Candlelight Your Mood
Whenever I feel like I need a boost of serenity, I simply light a candle. But, like a theater enthusiast who needs to set the stage perfectly, I need one that gives off just the right scent without any synthetic fragrances, a powerful one that can infuse a room with its heavenly presence.
Candles have been a staple of my home decor for decades, so I’ve been through them all – commercial brands and independent brands. Some are really good, but there are also a lot of subpar candles out there. If you’re very choosy – like me – about scent and look for a well-rounded aroma that’s not perfume-y or heavily floral or heavily musky, this is the one for you!
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Aveda’s Shampure – The Perfect Vegan Candle
This might be one of those things you didn’t know you needed until you got it, which is the experience I had.
Shampure is a soy wax vegan candle by Aveda, a company known for its plant-based hair care, skin care, and makeup lines. This candle is named after an Aveda shampoo also called Shampure, which I’ve used in the past and love for its intoxicating scent, which is how I knew to try this candle.
The scent is uplifting and induces serenity upon first contact! What you’ll love about this candle is that it does not even have to be lit in order for you to start reaping its fragrant benefits. It’s deeply imbued with its signature scent and can serve as mild aromatherapy on its own, even before you take a flame to the wick.
Since this scent is like nothing I’ve encountered before, the best way to describe its essence is “clean and serene.” Aveda Shampure Candle will shift your mood immediately into a luxurious zone of relaxation. There will be no complaints of its heavily floral or musky odor. It will appeal to everyone in your household!
So now that you have your candle lit and your home infused with the abundant tranquility of Aveda Shampure, it’s time to make tea.
While your water boils, you can choose one of these two amazing teas.
Aveda Comforting Tea – 100% Certified Organic and Caffeine-Free
Aveda Comforting Tea has been a mainstay in my kitchen for 20 years. Yes, 20 years. It’s that good. Like I mentioned before, I am not much of a tea enthusiast, but this one keeps me hooked.
What keeps me hooked is the simple but rich and powerfully delicious combination of peppermint, licorice, sweet fennel and basil. It’s such a uniquely simple blend that you may find just as addicting as I do!
The sweet fennel really ties the flavors of this tea together, so it is a tea that needs no sweetener, no add-ons of any kind. And it’s best that way. When ingredients are 100% certified organic like they are in Aveda Comforting Tea, you’ll taste every robust ingredient in its unique blend.
Deeply minty, with licorice richness laced with sweetness of fennel, Aveda Comforting Tea will soothe your thoughts, calm your breath, and help prepare you for hours of calmness ahead. It’s also 100% caffeine free, which means you can also sip on this relaxing blend right before bedtime.
Click the image below to go straight to Aveda Comforting Tea!
Guava Leaf Tea
Organic dried guava leaves make an amazing relaxation tea!
So much so that I posted an entire article based on the seemingly endless benefits of guava leaves – from hair and skin care to its ability to raise immunity and induce deep sleep.
If you like a tea that is straightforward in its flavor profile, guava leaf tea is exactly that. You’ll love it for its simple and one-note but completely enjoyable guava fruit essence. And did I mention that the benefits of guava leaf are incredibly generous?
It’s important to be careful about where you get your guava leaves, so my suggestion to you is to get them from Herbal Goodness Co. Once you check them out, you’ll see how deeply committed they are to sourcing the highest quality whole food-based ingredients for their supplements that support natural immunity and healing.
Now that your olfactory senses and taste buds have been soothed into a state of receptivity, let’s prepare for meditation. Even if it’s just five minutes.
Five Minute Meditation
Inner Peace Organic Essential Oil
Before you begin, apply your meditation oil. This will help further clear your mind and settle into your journey inward.
1) Dispense about 4 or 5 drops of Inner Peace Organic Essential Oil into a 1-ounce amber or cobalt glass bottle of Jojoba Oil.
2) Close the amber/cobalt bottle lid and lightly rotate a few times to mix the ingredients. Be gentle, don’t shake the bottle.
3) Gently apply your newly mixed meditation oil to your temples, inner wrists, and behind your ears.
If you’ve never used essential oils before, please see my post on helichrysum oil, in which I talk about the importance of carrier oils, and why amber or cobalt bottles are necessary. Never store your essential oil in plastic bottles!
In our case here, the carrier oil I’m recommending is jojoba oil. You never want to apply essential oils directly to the skin without a carrier oil because essential oils are highly concentrated and potent.
Desert Essence makes wonderful USDA certified organic jojoba oil and essential oil blends. These oils are my go-to for their great quality and very reasonable price point!
Now is an awesome time to dive into Desert Essence oils. Get 40% off site wide until June 1, 2020!
But, if you miss the June 1, 2020 deadline, you can still get Free Shipping and Samples with a purchase of $30 or more.
Prepare Your Space
Any dark space will do, any corner of any room where you feel comfortable, quiet, and undisturbed.
If you are unable to be in a totally quiet space, try wearing headphones with meditative music.
My favorite music for meditation is Nawang Khechog.
Khechog is a Tibetan flutist who always brings me to a state of deep calm, no matter what chaotic rumblings my brain is trying to process!
Adjust Your Light
Your space will be dark and quiet, or with meditative music.
The only light that you will have is from your candle, which should be situated at around your line of sight.
You can use your Aveda candle for this – it’s perfect if the flame is still easy to see. If you’ve used that candle quite a bit and the wick has descended deeper into the glass container, you won’t be able to see the candle flame as well. If this happens, find a simple tea light that will allow for the flame’s full and open visibility.
You may set a timer for five minutes if you’d like.
The flame can be still, or may seem to lash out for no reason. Its motion will be unpredictable. Doing nothing but watching the erratic and beautiful movements of this small flame in the dark, you’ll feel your focus sharpen, your mind becoming more centered.
Watch the flame for at least five minutes. You’ll be amazed with what you learn and how you feel on the other side of that small bit of time.
If you’ve ever found meditating difficult, I encourage you to try this method. I’ve always found this method successful – more so than others that I’ve tried, which were all practiced with closed eyes.
Gather Your Peace
You’ll love unwinding and putting your mind at ease with the power of an amazing aromatherapy candle like Aveda Shampure, then indulging in guava leaf tea or Aveda Comforting Tea, both of which feel like a delicious hot bath.
I encourage you to take a moment and use your Desert Essence Inner Peace Organic Essential Oil blend at your temples and behind your ears if you need a minute to regroup and breathe deeply.
Ultimately, I hope you’ll work your way toward the flame meditation. Most meditation methods have been lost on me, but this one really won me over. It feels purposeful, and I like the direct connection with nature – even if it comes in the petite form of a candle flame. I really think that you’ll enjoy and benefit from it as much as I do!
For me, this has been the best way to unwind.
If you give any of these ideas a try, I’d love to hear about your experience!
Are you currently engaged in any sort of meditation practice?
What works for you when your brain is running a million miles a minute?
Let me know in the comments!