I rolled over in bed, surprised Danny wasn’t up yet. It had to be getting close to dawn.
Nope…1:37 am. And I was wide awake.
Being the worrywart that I am, a middle-of-the-night wake up like this would typically be tied to a thought that was replaying over and over in my head that I just needed to let slide.
This time, surprisingly, I couldn’t pinpoint a worry. So, why on earth was I awake?
Then, it occurred to me. I’ve read hundreds of time that I shouldn’t do what I did at bedtime, but I did it anyway. I stared at my phone.
After the kids went to bed, I felt like a bit of a self-care rock star. I found a DIY mask on Instagram, and I actually did it instead of thinking, Wouldn’t it be nice if I had the time to do a mask?
I considered grabbing a book off of my nightstand for those 15 minutes of mask-time, but, instead, I picked up my phone and fell down the rabbit hole of Instastories.
When the 15 minutes were up, I washed my face and brushed my teeth, looked at that book again while I climbed back in bed, and, again, picked up my phone, this time scrolling through Facebook. Then, I started reading articles I had saved on Facebook, turning off the light in the process and reading in the glow of my phone while Danny went to sleep.
I know better. In case you haven’t read or seen the research as many times as I have, articles like this one in Psychology Today point out that screen time before bed can mess up your circadian rhythm, suppress melatonin, decrease REM sleep, make you feel less alert when you wake up, and more.
So, of course I was wide awake at 1:30. And 2:30. And of course I’m dragging a bit this morning.
I’m pretty good at convincing myself that vegging out on my phone is self-care. But, really, true self-care requires me to be more responsible than this.
Just because my day was challenging doesn’t mean I’m entitled to do something I’m well aware won’t make me feel good later. In order to take care of myself, I sometimes need to make the choice that doesn’t feel as good in the moment.
Months ago, I had a pretty strict rule to not be on my phone after 8:30 pm. I noticed that I felt great when I was doing that. And I certainly wasn’t miserable for the choice I was making. In fact, I was reading a whole lot more, which is something I always tell myself I “wish” I “could” do.
Holding myself accountable for what will feel good later, and not just what will feel good in the moment, is a requirement for true self-care. I could just sit on the couch and catch up on a show, but going for a run would feel a lot better. I could just sit on my phone to allow my brain a chance to turn off, but shutting off my screens before bed will feel a lot better too.
So, if you see me on social media after 8:30, call me out on it. 🙂