It's no secret that we love a good morning routine. We've come to learn, however, that the rituals we do to wind down before bed are just as important. Whether you take 10 minutes or a few hours, it's precious time that you have set aside at the end of the day to take care of yourself. Our new series Weekend Wind-Down highlights the nightly routines of the people we admire.
There's no one better to kick things off than Nathalie Kelley, whose passion for her evening rituals mirrors that of any role and creative project she takes on. The actress currently stars in the romantic dramedy The Baker and the Beauty on ABC.
As an actress, I am used to irregular hours and crazy sleep patterns, but I have been using quarantine as an opportunity to sync my circadian rhythm with the rising and setting of the sun. My evening ritual begins at least two hours before my bedtime, which is 8:30 p.m. these days!
The sun is still out, but it's not oppressive, and I take in the opportunity to soak up some vitamin D in my new converted health-and-wellness zone on my roof patio. I've been really getting into sound healing and using the vibrations of tuning forks, chimes, and crystal bowls to shift my energy to a calm and centered space.
I also take the opportunity to turn off my phone and devices at this point so I can have two hours before bed without blue light. Studies have shown it disrupts our hormones and sleep patterns.
Now I turn my attention to one of my favorite beauty rituals: Gua Sha. Gua Sha is an ancient Chinese technique of gliding a jade tool over the face to de-puff, increase circulation, and release micro knots and tension in the face—which are often the cause of wrinkles
I really take my time these days to do it right, starting at my neck, then face, always in upward motions, counteracting against the pull of gravity. If you want to learn more, you can look up tutorials by Lanshin. She also sells the tools, but you could even DIY your own Gua Sha tool with a porcelain spoon.
Then lastly, I finish up with my new obsession: facial reflexology. I make sure to stimulate the points that promote relaxation and good sleep, signaling to my body that it's time to wind down.
On a good day, I am able to squeeze in some trigger-point release and rolling. Why should the fascia in my face get all the attention? These days when massages are not an option, it's nice to be able to do that for yourself. This time also coincides with the time of day my kitties are most active, so I make sure I spend this quality time with them being playful, made much easier by the fact that I usually don't have my phone.
Tea ceremony time! I will usually have a little pu-erh tea leftover from the morning that I drink mindfully. Most of the caffeine has been eliminated in the rinsing of the leaves, so it doesn't mess up my sleep patterns, but this is usually time for reflection, gratitude journaling, and if I have a burning question I use a form of divination like The I Ching.
One night a week, I treat myself to my favorite show currently on the air: The Baker and the Beauty. Am I a little biased because I happen to be in it? Yes, of course. But it's honestly such a beautiful, heartwarming, uplifting show that I would watch it even if I weren't in it! Even though the premise sounds like a fairytale (famous girl meets "normal" guy and they fall in love), the story and writing are so grounded in authenticity, and the actors are so funny!
I call it my weekly medicinal dose of love and laughter. The fact that everyone who watches it agrees and loves the show as much as I do is the most satisfying feeling an actor can have. On these nights, I always go to bed with a big grin on my face!
Bedtime for me! I go to bed with the sun, and I am training myself not to turn on any lights before bed, or if I do, it's ones I have replaced with red lightbulbs. This ensures maximum rest so that I can wake up refreshed. Or as refreshed as one can be when their cats wake them up at 4:30 a.m.!