Getting out of the house and going off on an adventure with friends can be a great way to recharge, but don’t underestimate the restorative power of staying home alone! I am a person who loves company, and I would consider the most enjoyable aspect of my jobs to be interacting with other people. That said, I don’t need any convincing of the value of staying home alone. There’s something to be said for cultivating a balance between company and alone time—I had days during grad school where the only person I spoke with was the person at the checkout counter for dinner. That can be very difficult. Alternatively, after an energetic day of working while teaching, talking, and writing, sometimes there’s nothing so valuable as a little peaceful time at the end of the day. Whether you’re recovering from a long day of work or a challenging workout, here are 3 ideas to have a glorious night in. You schedule dinners with friends, so choose one of these when you next schedule your very own night in.
1. 60 Move, 60 Rest.
Balance out your night in by beginning with an hour-long yoga workout. Clear out a nice space for your mat and do something to make your yoga practice extra inviting— use a spray with tea-tree oil to clean your mat before you begin, collect some pillows to use as props for some concluding restorative yoga, or light some scented candles and turn the lights off to make your environment more calming. Take the time during your yoga practice to pause in any poses that feel especially good to you at that moment; let your body have what it needs, whether that is a more energetic or more relaxing practice. Do your own yoga practice, or, if you’d rather not think at all (which is sometimes quite nice!) follow along with a sequence from a magazine or an online video—I’ve created a few streamable yoga workouts if you need some help with that too!
After your hour of movement, use your yoga props, whether these are your pillows collected from around the house or your traditional yoga blocks, or even some additional blankets, to set yourself up in a restorative asana like viparita karani, aka “legs up the wall,” or baddha konasana, bound angle pose. Now, begin your “rest” period of the night in. The idea here is to find a more “yin” yoga pose in which you will be extremely comfortable for 5-10 minutes before you just bundle up in your blankets. While in your yin yoga pose, do something restorative for your mind: read a book of short stories, a magazine (keep in mind it doesn’t need to be super intellectual—it can be just a fun one that you like!), or turn the TV or Netflix on for your favorite show or a movie. If you need ideas for yin yoga, see December’s blog for ideas and visuals for “legs up the wall” and “bound angle pose”—these two are especially good for TV watching and reading respectively. I like doing this because I inevitably stay a lot longer in the passive stretch because I’m enjoying reading/watching something. This would also be a great time to do pigeon pose for a little longer on each side. Alternatively, have a mini-nap in your yin pose, and then jump into your pile of blankets for reading/watching whatever you’d like.
2. 20 Core, then Spa!
If you’re feeling as though you need a shorter little burst of activity before you relax for the night, try 20 minutes of core work! Grab your yoga mat for a mix of planks and crunches, or your medicine ball for standing core work like the “woodchop” exercise. Abs/core targeting movements are great in that they’ll get you warm quite quickly, and a little can go a long way towards making you stronger if you even set aside twenty minutes once per week.
After your workout, give yourself a home spa night! Plan ahead by getting some great smelling bath products for yourself, take a long shower, paint your nails, or use that 10 minute long hair treatment mask for which you would not normally have the time. Take as long as you like.
3. Somehow, Someway, Take A Break!
The idea behind a fun night in is to do something other than what you normally do in order to give yourself a break from the usual routine. Routines are wonderful because they make you more efficient and help you accomplish everything from smaller daily tasks to larger long-term goals. However, breaking free of your set schedule can help you to recharge, approach your everyday life with more vigor and energy, and give you useful space to reflect. This can also be additionally reenergizing if you let yourself have a full night just for you.
Use your dinner as a way to “take a break”; especially if you typically cook, give yourself a break from doing the dishes, and instead pick yourself up a meal to-go, or have a favorite restaurant deliver your dinner. From there, give yourself permission to “take a break”—I recommend avoiding the internet, email, and other social media as best you can. Instead, plan on watching a movie, bundle up in all of your blankets and drink some tea, do a little gentle stretching, or take time to otherwise enjoy your night in any way YOU really want.
Just as you schedule the necessities of life, take time at the start of the new year to be sure to schedule time that is just for you. Spend a night in, relax, rest, and recharge for all the exciting adventures in the year to come.