Here’s what it means and how to get out of it

You’ve had a busy day and you spread yourself so thin during the day between work, emails, meetings, chores, etc. that you no longer have time for yourself. Then comes bedtime, and you’re ready to indulge in leisure, catch up on the latest social media updates, check the streams, maybe an episode or two of your favorite show. It’s almost midnight, but you’re not done with your quota of relaxation and fun. You appease yourself by saying — I deserved it!

So, in an honest attempt to unwind, you end up skimping on sleep, the key to truly unwinding after a hard day’s work. It’s a typical case of Revenge Bedtime Procrastination, and truth be told, it’s plagued most of us.

Simply put, it is the deliberate delaying of sleep to save time for oneself. It’s like taking revenge for not having time for yourself during the day by arranging your free time at the end of the evening to the detriment of your sleep. And it’s not watered down, but it’s a form of self-harm, without you even realizing it.

How can we get out of it?

1. Take breaks at work

Breaks are a way to recharge. You are bound to feel drained and exhausted if you work continuously from 9am to 5pm, or maybe even beyond. No matter how short, breaks are necessary for productivity, focus, mood, and energy levels. And, when we say break, it means a break without gadgets. It can be a coffee or tea break, a light conversation with your loved one, a quick dance or music therapy. This way, you wouldn’t wait for the moment when you close your shop and gorge yourself on gadgets and social media because you’ve already filled your cup throughout the day thanks to short breaks.

2. Self-discipline

It all comes down to self-discipline. No trick or hack ever works without self-discipline. When you recognize that you’re stuck in the loop and pattern of burnout, frenzy, and guilt, you need to put in effort and discipline to get out of it.

3. Practice self-control

Self-control is the restraint exercised over one’s actions, emotions and impulses. It takes a split second to pick up the phone and open social media. But as soon as you are committed to it, it sucks you in. Through self-control, one can be more aware of one’s impulsive actions like aimlessly picking up the phone or surfing the channels. That’s not to say self-control can curb your bedtime procrastination, but it can at least weaken the habit pattern. And it’s like a muscle. The more you practice self-control, the stronger it becomes.

4. Set an intention

Doom scrolling happens when we decide to aimlessly pick up our phone or turn on the TV and surf channels. Without intention, we are forced to spend more than necessary. And it might not be your fault! Social media algorithms are designed to keep you hooked on them. This is precisely why setting an intention becomes necessary. Ask yourself: Why do I want to surf the internet/social media/TV? How long do I want to invest in it? How do I want to feel after this? Leisure is not the problem, but doing it without intention and that too at the expense of your sleep is.

So what can you do to unwind after work if not social media time or gadgets?

In addition to practicing the above, build your unique and sacred evening ritual. A lack of structure in your evening routine can make it easy for you to resort to social media and other unhealthy activities to unwind. Your evening routine may include some of the following:

  • Take a warm, luxurious bath, with hot water, maybe bath salts, a candle, and music.

They are not only powerful sleep promoters, but they also allow you to relax without gadgets.

(The author is an expert in holistic nutrition and lifestyle – integrative medicine and lifestyle)

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Posted: Sunday, March 27, 2022, 07:00 IST

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