Waitress Life: My After Work Self-Care Ritual
In that time right before bed, after I've gotten off work late, I need to roll, stretch, and essentially trick my body into calming back down from a stimulating day.
I'm a host/server at a super delicious restaurant called Irenia in Santa Ana. Though I only work two nights out of the week, I def. still feel the effects on my body, which is why I'm so glad I had the good sense to train as a yoga teacher.
When I get off work late at night, I feel wired in that tired-but-awake, still-clenching-my-teeth kinda way, like I need to stretch out the excess energy and stress in my legs. It keeps me up at night, so I've developed my own after work yoga/sound healing ritual to calm down my nervous system. It focuses on three areas of healing.
First, I turn off my lamp and leave on my wake-up light that mimics sunlight and sunset. It's like the iPhone's night shift but for real life. I turn it down low so my brain gets less blue light stimulation and more "natural," amber light to signal that the sun's going down and it's time for bed. Guess that makes me a ~biohacker~ now.
After I change and wash up, I lie down on my bedroom floor and use crystal bowl sound healing to calm me even more. I like this album on Spotify. It makes me feel like my brain is vibrating and getting a massage from the inside. I feel focused and meditative. It's especially good with ear buds in.
While I listen to that, I roll my upper back on a foam roller to undo the damage from slouching my shoulders. I'll also do extended puppy pose which can be intense, but sooo good. It's easy to tense up the upper back/shoulder/neck area when you're carrying trays and food around.
Then I get into some basic leg stretches like standing forward fold (touching toes) to decompress my spine, and cobbler's pose (soles of feet together, knees out) to get into my hip flexors.
Foot stretches feel so good here too. I'll just crouch on my toes and roll my weight forward and back to get the soles of the feet and toes stretched. This also gets into the calves. I roll my feet on a tennis ball to massage them out. Then I lie on my back, feet to the sky and point, flex, and roll out my ankles. I use half monkey pose to stretch out the tops of my feet. Gotta say, never forget foot health.
Back twists are important too. They make me feel like I'm wringing out the stress from my torso and back and I literally feel less tension afterward.
I do this for about an hour before I'm ready for bed. Sounds like lost sleep when I get home at midnight, but it's an hour well-spent because it ensures I fall asleep faster. There's nothing worse than lying awake in discomfort when all I wanna do is sleep.
Feel free to try any of these things and let me know how it goes!