by Susan McCarthy
When you are cleaning out your parent’s estate, you may be focused on the work you have to do at the house. However, providing yourself some self-care with a bedtime routine can prepare you mentally and physically for the work the next day.
Chances are that when you’re cleaning out your parent’s estate, self-care falls to the wayside. You push yourself a little harder while making poorer food choices, forgetting to stay hydrated, and getting less sleep.
However, all those choices will wear you down. You may think you’re saving time chowing down a piece of pizza instead of eating a salad, but what you save in minutes will drag on your energy and attention with each day you push yourself to do more.
One way to give yourself some self-care is by creating and adhering to a bedtime routine. Whether you’re staying in a hotel, your own home, or your parent’s home (where it’s difficult to remind yourself to stop working), creating a plan of evening activities that will help you wind down for one day and start the next day from a calmer space.
How a Bedtime Routine Will Help Keep You Calm and Energized
You may already have a bedtime routine. If you do, try to keep with it as well as you can. If you don’t have a list of actions that you use to wind down at the end of the day, consider incorporating some of the activities listed below.
How will these help you when you’re cleaning out your parent’s house? Well, sorting through your parent’s lifetime accumulation of stuff is all about making decisions. Lots of decisions. There’s something called decision fatigue which basically means that you wear down your willpower with every decision you make throughout the day.
Routines help because they are all about not making decisions. Or more accurately, pre-deciding what you’ll do. Filling your morning with a host of decisions (however small), wears at this set amount of willpower.
This means that making too many decisions first thing in the morning (“Will I need long-sleeves if I work in the attic?” “Do I want scrambled eggs or a waffle or nothing but coffee for breakfast? “Should I check in with my boss this morning or this afternoon?”) can tire your decision-making ability. The next thing you know, you’ve convinced yourself that the blueberry muffin glistening with sugar crystals would make the perfect 10 a.m. pick-me-up.
To make your morning go easier, start the night before.
While routines can sound boring, they help you automate some of those tasks that you do every day. This frees up your mind to be more creative, calmer, and engaged in problem-solving any issues or questions that may arise while sorting through the contents of your parent’s bookshelves and kitchen cabinets.
Build Your Bedtime Routine
Remember, you want an evening routine that will help prepare you for the next day. Morning routines seem to get more attention with bloggers, but it’s your bedtime routine that will give you the time and energy to engage in that morning routine.
How much time do you need for your evening routine? It depends. If you’re staying at your parents’ house, then you may want everyone out of the house two hours before your bedtime. Or you may want an hour of quiet back at the hotel. If you’re home, you may try to stick to the regular routine you have with your family.
You can do some of these actions after dinner when your meal will have raised your glucose levels, giving your willpower and end of the day boost.
Check for Scheduled Appointments
Take a few moments to review your planner or calendar and see what’s scheduled for the next day. Are you meeting with a lawyer or real estate agent? Who will be at the house to help? This can help you plan what you’ll wear or what projects you’ll get involved in at the house.
Pack Lunch or Plan Your Meals
When you prepare what you’ll eat the next day, it’s likelier that you’ll stick to your plans. Make your lunch or start defrosting something for tomorrow’s evening meal to save yourself from ordering pizza (again) or making a stressful dash through the grocery store as you grab things for dinner and try to remember if you have rice in your pantry or not.
If you’ll be preparing your breakfast, set on the kitchen counter the nonperishable components of the meal. You can even set out the skillet or saucepan that will remind you of what you’ve decided to prepare.
If you’ll be grabbing a fast breakfast or eating at a restaurant, you can decide what you’ll eat.
When you plan the next day after eating dinner, you'll be better able to decide in a way that you can't when you're already tired and hungry.
Set Out Your Outfit
Once you know what you’ll be doing tomorrow, you can plan what you’ll wear. Do you need long sleeves and jeans while crawling around the attic? Do you need to remember to bring a clean top or outfit for an appointment? Do you need to plan to do laundry?
Get Ready to Head Out the Door
To save yourself the stress of scrambling around looking for your keys, set your keys, wallet, phone, and anything else you need together.
Clear old receipts from your bag or jacket pockets. Make certain you’re not carrying around a withered apple that was supposed to be your snack…several days ago. Do you need to take anything else with you? If you brought home a box of papers to sort in quiet, do you need to bring it back to the house?
Set Out the Stuff to Help Your Morning Routine Run Smoothly
Whether you write morning pages, do yoga, or engage in some other activity each morning, make it easier to stick to this routine by putting these items in place. When you get up and see that your yoga mat is already rolled out, then you’ll be prompted to move over there and stretch. If you don’t want to scroll through social media while sitting in bed, move your phone across the room.
Tidy up, Put Things Away
If you’re at home, take a quick walk around your house, looking for things that can get put away. This isn’t time to declutter your home. A few minutes of tidying encourages you to put the television remote where it belongs, pick up sneakers that got kicked off near the couch, and pop your glass and snack plate in the dishwasher.
When you get up the next morning, your rooms will be neater and you might not feel so uptight about the tasks that are falling to the wayside while you work at your parent’s house.
If you’re at a hotel, don’t leave your dirty clothes on the floor of the bathroom, put them in a bag or in your suitcase. Organize any papers, or anything else you may have lying around the room. I know, it’s not home, but keeping it neater will help create a calmer morning.
Hi, I'm Susan
Emptying my parents' overpacked 800-square-foot house left me popping handfuls of peanut M&Ms and doing a WHOLE lot of comfort-crocheting. The experience of sorting through mom and dad's stuff also encouraged me to become a professional organizer...so now I can offer techniques that work much better than chocolate.