Jolene Hart, CHC is the bestselling author of five wellness books, including Eat Pretty. Below, Jolene unpacks the most important step in your nighttime self-care routine that you probably aren’t doing: energy release.
Her newly released, Ignite Your Light and its companion journal Shine On, are guides to your personal energy’s role in beauty, healing, and joy. Read through and find a new dimension to add to your nighttime ritual…
For years, we’ve been taught to focus our nightly self-care routines on things like skincare, high thread count sheets, and setting the thermostat to the ideal temperature. But, to me, the most important step in a nighttime self-care routine is a practice of regular energy release rituals.
Regularly letting go of the day’s drama and trauma through energy release rituals will help you become more resilient in dealing with stress and may help you more effectively rest and recharge during your hours of sleep.
Why you need end of day energy release:
Over the course of any given day, we take on the energy of places, people and even objects that we encounter. Each interaction, likely dozens in a single day, produces an energetic exchange that has the power to shape our thoughts, emotions, even physical pains or tensions.
These tiny shifts in our energy easy to ignore or suppress during the day. As we wind down at the end of day, incorporating a simple routine to release them all can be beneficial.
Unreleased energy manifests:
+ physically as tightness, pain, tension or disturbed sleep patterns.
+ emotionally as anxiety, sadness, dissatisfaction or a feeling of unsettledness.
+ mentally as cyclical thinking, overwhelm or overstimulation.
Over time, the weight of our daily energy exchanges, especially the negative ones, can lead to inflammation, burnout, or even immune dysfunction as the stress of unreleased energy takes a toll on our physical and mental wellbeing.
Scientific study shows that repressing our energy and emotions actually suppresses our immune function too, leaving us vulnerable to a host of health issues.
A suppressed immune system can diminish everything from beauty (speeding up the aging process and slowing collagen production that results in visible skin aging) to our stress response (making you more prone to chronic conditions, mental health issues, and even hormone imbalance that impacts weight, fertility, and mood).
Nighttime Energy Release Rituals
There are many ways to incorporate energy release rituals into our nightly routines and many of them are intuitive. If you’d found yourself doing some of these things naturally, I encourage you to lean into them and truly make them nightly rituals!
Physical release rituals: move intuitively, sweat in a sauna, soak in a hot bath, stretch deeply, use a foam roller on tight muscles, practice breathwork.
Mental release rituals: journal your thoughts, write tomorrow’s to-do list, clean out clutter, prepare for tomorrow morning, put away devices.
Emotional release rituals: cry it out during a sad movie or song, chat with a friend, watch comedy and laugh until your stomach hurts, forgive.
Spiritual release ritual: pray, recite a mantra, spend time in nature, smudge your space.
Here are four very specific rituals to try that couldn’t be simpler..
Take a beat | The key to energy release is simple: give yourself a moment to stop to notice your energy at the end of the day. Just “noticing” is the first step to making a shift of any kind. It’s also the step we’re most inclined to miss in our busy lives. Decide when you will do this each day within a ritual you already have: turning down the bed, pouring a glass of wine, making a cup of tea?
Double Cleanse | You can combine your energy release rituals with your regular self-care. For example, as you cleanse your skin, call to mind whatever you need to release from the day and let it be rinsed or wiped away. Or do this in the shower, imagining the cares of the day rinsing down the drain as you go.
5 Minute Journal | The Chalkboard has talked a lot about The Five Minute Journal which is a great tool for this. You could also simplify it further by keeping a notebook of your choice by your bedside and making a commitment to journal for just a few moments every evening. My journal, Shine On is also a great tool for this. Sink into the feeling of calm and clarity as you journal your reflections on the day.
Move through it | Visualize energy moving out of your tense spots as you stretch before bed. Think through your day. Write things down as needed. A yoga flow like this one is helpful too. It also helps to mix up your release practices to address physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual release as needed — find more ideas in my book, Ignite Your Light.