Welcome to the Adrenal Recovery Challenge

Welcome to week 1 of our Adrenal Recovery Challenge. This week’s challenge is going to focus on helping you build your own personal evening routine. I hope you’re not overwhelmed by the word “challenge”. The last thing I want is to give you “more stuff to do.” That’s how we ended up in this situation, isn’t it? But yet what we have before us is decidedly challenging, is it not? We’ve sorta been programmed to meet certain standards of performance or benchmarks of busyness.

The challenge then is to step off of the hamster wheel of wasted energy and to instead literally CRAFT a life using a series of routines to function as scaffolding on which to build and live out our highest priorities.

Wow! There’s actually a ton of stuff to unpack in that lengthy sentence. But today, I want to focus on two primary concepts–routine and priority. Those aren’t super-sexy words, are they? Perhaps you have attached some unconscious synonyms to these words. Maybe repetitive, boring, monotonous, serious, or sonorous? I want to help you view these concepts instead as friends. First, priorities: to help you say no to some of the stuff that often ends up on your plate. And routines: to give you permission to make time for yourself through rest and self-care activities.

Building Your Personal Evening Routine

Last week, I shared with you my routine, but only as an EXAMPLE. I definitely don’t want you to use my routine as yours. Why? Well, for one thing, the things that nourish my soul might not do the same for you. If you’re going to be successful at making healthy changes, you don’t want to look at ANY of this as a set of rules to follow. You have to be nourished and supported in your choices. Another reason is that I had to create an evening routine that aligned with my family dynamic. Your family will have its own rhythms that you will have to accommodate. Just don’t be afraid to ask your family to make adjustments to help support and accommodate YOU! 🙂

So here are your assignments for the week:

1. Acquire a journal or 3-ring binder, depending on your preferences. I will be offering several worksheets to help you throughout this challenge. You may be like me, and just prefer to print out the worksheets and put them in a notebook. Or you may be a creative who is inspired by decorative journaling. In this case, just use the worksheets to guide your journaling. The important thing is to choose a method that you will enjoy using and that will support your journey rather than derail it.

2. Create a self-care master list. Using the LifeCraft worksheet provided at the end of this post, I want you to write down Every. Single. Thing. you can think of that brings you joy, energy, or peace. Write down everything you would like to incorporate into your life on a semi-regular basis. All those things that you never have time for because you have convinced yourself that they are selfish or not as important as accomplishing something. No one is going to read this list except you, so don’t worry about what anyone else might think of your desire to bird-watch, drive the back roads with the radio blasting, go antiquing, or watch make-up tutorials on youtube. If you wish you had time for it, write it down!

3. Refine the list. Look over your list and put a check mark next to anything that could become part of your ideal evening routine. Don’t worry about categorizing everything else just yet. Just focus on your evening time.

4. Create a structure. Here we have to work backward a bit. If you have a non-negotiable morning wake time, you need to start there. During the first few weeks of working to heal your adrenals, you need to get as much rest as possible. A good minimum starting point is 8 hours. This gives you 30 minutes for your body to settle down and doze off. Then you are left with 7 1/2 hours, which works out to be 5 complete 90-minute REM cycles. So, for example (and this is only an example–please do not hear me giving you a rule to follow!), if you have to get up at 6 a.m., you will probably shoot for a lights-out bedtime of 10. On your Evening Routine worksheet, the bedtime that you calculate is the first entry, but it will go at the very bottom of the page.

Closer to the top of the page, you will put your early evening activities, such as dinner, kitchen clean-up, family time, kids’ bedtime routines, evening appointments that you may have, etc. I have also included a row to indicate who has certain responsibilities. It’s very important to enlist your children or spouse to help as much as they are able, so that no one person shoulders all the responsibility for the necessary evening chores.

5. Plug in your self-care activities. Once you have all the regular evening activities written down, I hope that you have a good chunk of time to devote to your self-care. This time will likely occur between kids’ bedtimes and your own. But if you find that you just don’t have much time, you may have to get creative. Perhaps you can enlist your spouse to handle the children’s bedtimes so you can have some down time. Then you and your spouse might have more time together before your bedtime. Or your downtime could occur while the kids clean the kitchen.

Whatever time you have left, begin plugging in some of the self-care activities that you chose. Remember, this should be completely customized to meet your needs. If you enjoy predictable routines, you may just include a few things on your list that you do each night. On the other hand, if you prefer more flexibility, perhaps you will block off chunks of time for certain types of activities. For example, maybe on your list, you have multiple things that could help your physical self, such as a bath, shower, cup of tea, yoga, etc. Then you could choose a different activity each night. Other chunks of time might include mental/emotional/spiritual activities. You may read a book or a devotional. You might journal. Maybe you listen to relaxing music.

Get Ready to Enjoy Bedtime!

Remember, the point of all of this is to ready you for restful sleep. Doing too much could actually put your brain in overdrive and keep you from getting the rest you need. Take time to complete your worksheets and then relax into the plan you created for yourself. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to begin your self-care each evening. (As I typed this sentence, my own alarm went off. :-D)

Once you have come up with a working routine, how about hopping over to the Facebook Group and let us know what you’re doing. Also, I’ll bet you know some folks who would greatly benefit from joining you on this journey. Invite them to participate in the Facebook Group and share this article with them. It’s more fun with friends, and the accountability will help you both!


Life Craft List                   Evening Routine