Overheard in a group of young moms in the coffee shop line: “Every night, ten o’clock. Cheese and crackers.” “I head to the kitchen at 9:00 for cookies and milk.” “Potato chips for little PB&J sandwiches with my evening tea!”
At the end of a long day we are so full! And it’s not just food that we are digesting. It’s the cumulative stress of routines, demands of work, family, and long to-do lists.
We equate a full life with a successful life. The question “How are you?” is answered “I am SO busy.” Busyness keeps us occupied and confirms: I am necessary!
But at the end of a day, when we are tingling with exhaustion and trying to wind down, the quiet night kitchen calls. Tidy up, prepare for the next day, and while you are there, have a little treat.
You probably know that a full stomach in the evening makes your digestive system work harder all night. Your sleep is disrupted and your body has no down time to repair and prep for the next day. Maybe it’s time to cast a new light on your snack with a new nightly practice. Try this in your quiet kitchen instead of milk & cookies:
- Wu Ming Qigong energy movements are great to do before going to sleep. One to try is gentle marching: Start with the left side, raise your knee and let your foot fall flat on the floor. Alternate sides. Don’t stomp, relax your leg and let it drop. Bring your hands in “praying” position in front of your chest. Do this for 5 minutes.
- Sit in a chair and put your attention on your breath. Let it flow in and out. Imagine the empty space in your chest expanding. Let your mind wander and release your to-do list for a few minutes.
- Turn off anything that beeps! Close your eyes, and move your eyes under closed list to the right and left, and up and down. Do not strain, but look all the way in each direction. Sit with closed eyes for a few minutes and rest.
If the promise of your midnight snack makes you happy, no need to deprive yourself. See if your cravings change after a bit of Qigong practice. Make sure to love whatever you choose, and leave your guilt in the cookie jar.