CwL Ep110: A simple night-time shift

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Recently Lisa has been reflecting on her nighttime routine. 

It’s had many iterations over the years. 

Like that phase of immediately opening her laptop to get work done as soon as the kids had gone to bed and her husband noticing their nightly debrief and connection moment had disappeared. 

Little tweaks can always be made to improve the tail end of our day.

In this episode, Lisa breaks down how she’s shifting out of the ‘lockdown nights’ routine that has persisted way beyond lockdown. 

It’s simple, and that’s always the best place to start when it comes to building new habits.

If you’re bored of your nighttime routine, if you scroll or binge-watch the night away and that’s not feeling great, if you do endless housework and never get to relax, if you drink too much booze or head to the cupboard when you don’t need to – this episode is for you!

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Prefer to read? Access the transcript here

Hey, it’s Lisa Corduff. Welcome to the podcast where you can expect inspiring, raw, energising, and transformative conversations with people on the path of personal evolution. I’m here to really live my life. And if you are too, these conversations are just for you. I’m really glad you are here. Enjoy.

There’s an interesting thing that happened to me when I found myself living without a partner. And because I’m just always interested in how we come to be doing the things that we’re always doing, I’ve had to go right back to figure out how my nights became what my nights are. And I wanted to share this with you because we’ve been talking the last few weeks about sort of shifting out of this. Well, no, just accepting being in a period of transition, but supporting ourselves to make things as easy as possible for ourselves. Get back into some joy. Find things that are helpful to us living our lives as they are right now. Because I can definitely tell you, the things that I was doing a few years ago aren’t what I need right now. I mean, let’s be honest. There’s been a significant period of change for most of us over the last few years, and we need to acknowledge that and give ourselves grace.

So, where I find myself at night is that there was a fair few years when the kids were little and the only time I really had to work on my business was nap times and I became a ninja at all my kids, all three of them having the same nap time, bless them. They were good sleepers. And I was very into a routine because I needed that time for myself, and so, nights as well, once they went down. And I can remember there just being a point at which my husband pointed out to me like, “Whenever the kids go to sleep, you just open your laptop and off you go.” I miss those times when we would just watch the ABC news, watch 7.30, just reconnect, cuddle on the couch and just be together. I was like, “Man, he’s so right.” But I felt a bit like, “Ugh, how do I get all the things that I need to get done?”

But what mattered to me was having a connected marriage, and so, I would absolutely prioritise that. And I started to shift up how I worked. It made me go, “Okay. Maybe there needs to be an extra day of family daycare for that little one who’s with me three days a week. I might need to shift things up.” Because it was just about coming back to what mattered, what my priorities were and how to not feel stressed and overwhelmed with all those competing demands. And so, nights became a little bit of a mix. There would be times where absolutely I would have to work and I had quite a bit to do. There were other times where they were intentionally created as connection times, and that was super. So, that half an hour, hour after the kids went down, just started to become time and space for Nick and I. When he left and wasn’t there anymore, there was this void and I didn’t really know what to do with it in the beginning.

So, I started working at that time again, and that was not a great habit for me to get into, but I was absolutely doing it because I didn’t want to be alone. I wanted to be distracted by something. I was very sad and I couldn’t be with the sadness in the initial. It was chasing me. I absolutely started to work too much during that time. And then, I met someone and that was another form of distraction at nighttime, I must say, a very welcome form of distraction. But it did actually make me go, “Okay. Yep. I’ve gone back into that habit of working. I don’t want to do that.”

I also cannot continue to distract myself with this pattern. So, I then started to cultivate nights as a time of taking a bath. I was also struggling to sleep. I was struggling to eat much at that stage. I needed hardcore self-care. I needed to actually let myself cry and feel as sad as I was actually feeling, so not that was fun. And then I’m like, “Okay. Good. Feeling much better. We’re done.” And then lockdown started to happen. I mean, everything’s inflow always, that there’s always, there is things are moving even when they feel stagnant. But habits are built when we do something time and time and time again, and I hadn’t really formed a specific nighttime habit. If you have followed along on my socials, you know that I often will reflect on my day and share something on socials at nighttime.

That feels like a really nice thing for me to do as I’m sitting, waiting for my children to go to sleep. I’ve in a limbo state, then I definitely do not do housework after the kids have gone to sleep. It is my time. And what I do with that time has changed and morphed. And what works now might not be the thing that works in another six months. But something happened during all those lockdowns and that was Netflix, Stan, Binge, Apple TV, whatever you want to call it, this habit of retreating as quickly as I could to my bed and just escaping into other worlds, which felt bloody great, absolutely justified, and about the most luxurious thing I could do at that time, but it has persisted. And here’s something that I am often asking myself and it can feel a little bit like sometimes I want to ask myself this question sometimes, not so much and that’s all okay.

But how we start and end our day, I think, really matters in terms of setting a tone. And I’ve worked with enough women over the years to know that nighttime period can be a bit shaky since we’ve all become completely addicted to social media or stream viewing or whatever it is. And the last few years haven’t helped. It just hasn’t helped. I don’t think. And I’m not too sure about you, but been looking to break that cycle, break that habit of what I do at nighttime. And the question that I often ask myself is, is this choice? Because it’s all a choice. Is this choice taking me closer to who I want to be, or is it keeping me in some state? And being in that state, totally fine, unless it’s not. I was like, “I am so grateful that I have access to watch these shows during this 260 whatever days of being locked down.”

But then when it comes time, that excuse isn’t there. I still very much enjoy watching a good show, having a laugh, having a cry, and escaping into other worlds. It’s not bad unless it’s just not feeling good anymore. And I’m not too sure about how your nights are, but maybe it’s just that void of an hour or two on social media is not feeling any good anymore, or the scouting through the pantry to find the next thing to eat. When you know you shouldn’t really be eating, doesn’t feel good anymore, or staying up really late, working doesn’t feel good anymore. Or maybe it’s that you feel like your day doesn’t end until you get into bed because there’s so many chores to do and you’re not on top of anything, and that doesn’t feel good anymore.

It’s at that point that, I think, we have to ask ourselves some different questions. We have to ask ourselves, “Hang on, am I going to make this choice again?” It’s easy to keep doing the thing that we’ve been doing over and over again, our brain loves it because it’s familiar, and that’s okay, there’s nothing wrong with familiar. Familiar is good, especially in times where there is a lot to be dealing with and you might still be in that state. I revert to these habits when everything’s feeling a bit much, and that is absolutely okay and normal and human, but then there’s all these other times where I’m like, I’m frustrated that I’m not doing this and this and this, or that it’s taking me a while to get to sleep, or that I’m watching something and I actually don’t know if this is actually making me feel great or putting me in a total spiral.

So, it’s at those points we have to ask ourselves, “Oh, well, hang on. Is this taking me closer to being that person that I know I can be?” Is this actually helping me live a life that feels good?” And if it’s not, then we just have to have the courage to try something new on, just have the experimental mentality to try something new on, to just see how it feels. Not in a way of shaming yourself for being in a habit that isn’t super great, but just in the way of like, “What to lose? Let’s try something new tonight.” And so, for me, that’s really been about going back to books. Finding that books are a great place for me to escape too as well, but also my place where I get to learn and evolve myself a little bit, where I’ve got more conscious choice about what I’m consuming instead of just blindly continuing to watch something just because it’s on, and it’s kind of an effort to turn it off.

If you’re not enjoying a book, if you can’t get into it, it’s easy to shut it down and look for something else. Or if it’s not actually filling you up, giving you more of what you want, like you just don’t keep opening the book, do you? Well, I certainly don’t. And so, it’s helping me become a bit more intentional about what I’m consuming. But it was interesting to really go back to look at where these habits came from in the first place, and that I’ve been in limbo with my nights for a long time. If my boyfriend is around, it’s a different story. There is a different rhythm to those nights. The nights where I’m on myself, where I’m by myself, I’m like, well, personally, I’m going to tell you, it just feels like living the best of both worlds being able to have space purely for me and then space to enjoy with him. And that could be another episode if you are interested in terms of coming together of refreshing ideas about relationships beyond marriage, but that’s not what we’re talking about.

Now, we’re talking about making choices in terms of how we end our day, that actually serve us. And that, especially at the end of the day, you have made so many decisions. You’ve held so much together. You’ve spoken lots of words, probably throughout the day to people you’ve worked maybe. Well, you’ve definitely worked outside your home, inside your home. You’ve been on. So, what feels really, really delicious to you at nighttime? What would be a really cool way for you to end your days? Or do you just default to the same ways of doing things because that’s how you’ve been doing them for ages? But did you build those habits in a time that’s not right now? Right now, what do you want at the end of your day? Keeps changing for me, but we have to keep asking ourselves the questions.

Rest is like one of my basics. Rest is a foundation of a good life, I believe, being rested and well slept. So, I do get very interested in how best to cultivate good sleep practises. What helps me shut down everything and be asleep by a certain time? Such great questions to explore, and this is the type of thing that we are going to be exploring together in my upcoming new offering. And I can’t wait to do it with you and to walk you step by step through these kinds of questions. Applying just basic principles to the areas of your life, where if there was even just a really small shift, it would actually make a really big difference to how you feel and not coming at it from a place of, I’m such a failure, I just sit as soon as I can. I just switch off and I sit on the couch for hours on end, and sometimes I even fall to sleep there. And who am I? This isn’t who I want to be. None of that.

You’ve been doing what you are doing and it’s okay. All of it is okay. And it can continue unless you’ve got the feeling like you don’t really want it to, and that there might be a better way to do things. That’s when we get to try it on, just try new things on, doesn’t have to feel hard or onerous or like work. It can feel like a big juicy, giant experiment.

That’s how I treat it because our brains will resist change. It will keep us doing the same things over and over, except for if we just look at this as a little bit of fun and a chance to experiment with doing new things that feels exciting, that I will walk towards, or it’s getting much closer and I cannot wait. I cannot wait to share how we can do all this together very, very soon. Stay tuned.

Hey, if you feel like you’ve tried all the silver bullet approaches and read all the books and podcasts, and you still find yourself treading water a little bit in your life, then I want to let you know that there’s something brand new that I’m creating that is going to flip the lid on the way that we create change in our lives. I don’t know about you, but things right now have to feel a little bit more fun, a little bit lighter, a little bit easier, and still take us where we want to go. I’m really excited to be sharing more about this with you soon. So you’re going to have to stay tune.

Hey, if you are enjoying the conversation, then it would mean the world to me. If you head over to iTunes and give us a rating and review, it really makes a difference. And it’s my intention to get as many of us involved in real conversations that really changed the game as possible. Thanks so much for your help and I’ll see you in the next episode.

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"I’m here to help you break free from the stories holding you back, and create change that sticks"

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