LAVENDER BEDTIME MILK + 30 SCREENLESS NIGHTS.

LAVENDER BEDTIME MILK + 30 SCREENLESS NIGHTS.
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This is a liquid lullaby. Because I’m bone-deep tired right now. Because I’m in need of hardcore rest. Because the first six months of 2017 have turned me upside down and wrung me out dry. First there was death (someone who was like a mother to me, after my own died). And then a break-up that was not my own but meant the loss, by default, of someone in my family very important to me. Then the drumming onslaught of publishing and promoting a book (is it on your shelf yet?!). And then another death, and the end of a decade-long friendship, and another death, and…you get the idea.

I feel emotionally battered and relatively uncomfortable right now. All I want to do is lie on my couch and stare at the wall. Sometimes I walk outside and the sun feels sweet on my skin and I remember the blessing of wind and light. I recall how life renews itself, even when there is death. The trees and birds and clouds and arguments and ocean and sex and disappointment—that all of it keeps going. So. I am keeping going. With my very first pop-up dinner collaboration this weekend (join us!). With this lavender bedtime milk. And with an intention I set at the beginning of June with my friend Haley of Brewing Happiness, to spend thirty nights and mornings without my phone—also known as #30screenlessnights.

Lavender Bedtime Milk

Lavender Bedtime Milk

Lavender Bedtime Milk

Lavender Bedtime Milk

Lavender Bedtime Milk

#30screenlessnights came about when I heard Haley chatting on Instagram Stories about wanting to break her last-thing-at-night and first-thing-in-the-morning addiction to her phone. It was a challenge I’d been aware of all year—an addiction I wanted to break in myself, too—so I called her and asked if she wanted to embark on the adventure together. And then I wondered what it would be like if we invited you all to join, too. So we spent the next few days sharing the project on Instagram Stories and talking with you all about your own best practices when it comes to soothing yourself at night and awakening in the morning, phone-free.

My desire to break the morning and evening phone addiction came from a wish to be less distracted and more productive, and to put an end to the death-shame spiral of comparison engendered by social media. You know what I’m talking about—that empty abyss that opens up in the pit of your stomach as you scroll through Instagram and Facebook, telling you you’re not ___ enough. And in the wee hours of the night and morning, that scroll often caught me at my most vulnerable, in the moments when I should be connecting with my truest sense of self.

I also wanted to consciously choose when I tapped into social media and news cycles, rather than waking up to breaking news alerts of fire and brimstone from around the world. Most days, my adrenaline was pumping before I even peeled away the sheets—just reading the news or opening up my email was enough to send me into a tailspin of worry.

I’d had enough. I wanted to own my own time, not be subservient to a small metal device.

Here are the simple guidelines Haley and I followed for #30screenlessnights:

  1. No phone for at least xx before bed and at least xx after waking. You decide what’s right for you.
  2. Create a soothing and nourishing environment: books, oils, candles, calming objects.
  3. Notice your habits and addictions during this time.
  4. Create new routines.
  5. Get into functional self-care.

We kept the guidelines intentionally fluid so that they could be customized to each of our distinct needs and situations. I found myself aiming for at least 30 minutes before bed and at least 30 after waking.

Lavender Bedtime Milk

Lavender Bedtime Milk

Lavender Bedtime Milk

Lavender Bedtime Milk

Lavender Bedtime Milk

My two greatest allies in making the transition were:

  1. the acquisition of an analog alarm clock so that I wasn’t reliant on my phone for the time, and;
  2. the judicious use of both Airplane and Do Not Disturb modes on my phone.

Bringing an analog time-telling device into my bedroom was such a joy I can barely believe I once went without. I regularly turn my phone to Airplane mode for sleep, but putting it on Airplane those 30+ minutes before getting into bed automatically calmed me down. And the gentleness of mornings with a technological respite was dramatic.

In the past month, I discovered a sweet quietude to my nights, and a deeper awakening of energy and productivity in the mornings. In general, I felt myself appreciating my home space more than I usually do—I experienced a physical awareness of the feeling of home, which is a comfort I find to be rare. Without the constant distraction of my phone, I was able to be still in myself, and to make good on the self-care promises I often make but don’t always keep. I had that cup of calming tea. I let myself get lost in a good book. I took a few extra minutes to meditate and do energy work on myself before sleep. I made myself lavender bedtime milk with calming aromatics and soothing honey.

And in the morning, I was tapped into a current of clear productivity that felt like my own, rather than a product of seeing what others were doing on social media and basing my first morning actions on that. I was quicker to get up, make my bed, stretch, meditate, do a bit of reading and writing, and catch up on household chores that I’d typically find onerous. No more scrolling through Instagram. No more opening up email. No more starting my workday from bed. No more girding myself for the apocalypse before 7:30am. Instead, I got up and did what I found myself thinking of as “real person things”. Perhaps it was simply the power of truly owning my time, but those extra 30 minutes of quiet made a wild difference in productivity levels.

Lavender Bedtime Milk

Lavender Bedtime Milk

Shortly after the start of #30screenlessnights, Haley and I separately embarked on a bunch of work-related travel. Neither of us had the foresight to anticipate how this would affect our commitment (definitely should have invested in a travel alarm clock). Very quickly, in the chaos of flights and new spaces and jet lag, I found myself resorting to my phone for nighttime comfort and morning routine. I didn’t mean to—or even want to—but in the space of the unfamiliar, my technological addiction reared its ugly head. I reached for my phone in moments of uncertainty, loneliness, frustration, and longing. Jonathan Franzen wrote a brilliant opinion piece about how we replace our desire for relationship with the oxytocin jolt a social media “like” or text message alert provides.

My travel is just coming to a close, and I’m still putting the pieces of my #30screenlessnights self back together. But for me, this was never just a 30-day commitment. I’m excited to root back down into the solidity and calm of my 30-minutes phone-free in the evenings and in the mornings. I plan to make many a cup of this super soothing, warm, plant-based bedtime milk to relax. And I’m inviting you all to join me. Let’s let the lavender do its centuries-old job of easing us out of anxiety and depression, and inviting in sleep.

Let’s hang out in that pocket of stillness that exists just below the hum of phone life.

 

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LAVENDER BEDTIME MILK.

Prep Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon raw hemp seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • two pinches sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried edible lavender buds
  • 2 teaspoons honey plus more to taste

Instructions

  1. Blend water, hemp seeds, walnuts, vanilla, and salt until the mixture is completely smooth and creamy.

  2. Transfer into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until tiny bubbles begin to form and steam rises. Remove from heat.

  3. Place dried lavender in a tea sachet or disposable tea bag and seal, then immerse in milk and cover saucepan. Steep for ten minutes, then remove sachet and squeeze to release all lavender oils.

  4. Stir in honey to taste. Serve immediately, or blend again for higher foam factor.

  • Kori Flowers

    I’m so sorry for your recent struggles. But as usual your words and advice are beautiful. Is this recipe good chilled or can it be refrigerated? I know warm milk is supposed to do the trick but I don’t want to wake up the house using the kitchen late at night. This recipe sounds perfect for my anxiety-sleepless otherwise

    • Thanks, Kori. It’s good to come together in our joys and our struggles, y’know? I’m just happy we get to show up. The milk is DELISH cold—I actually just finished a jar. Can’t wait for you to try. Lemme know how it goes.

  • Lora Martin

    Sorry that your 2017 has been challenging, to say the least. Can completely understand since 2015 was similarly horrible our house, and I know you already know this, but it does get better with time. Thank you for sharing. And thank you for this lovely recipe and the story of your screenless nights and mornings. Have been considering something similar and you have given me the nudge I needed to get started.

    • Thanks, Lora. So true. Time is really the only true healer. So sorry to hear that 2015 was so rough for you, to. Sending hugs, and excited for you to get started on the screenless project. Keep me posted!

  • Love this 30 screenless morning and nights business… perhaps the irony was me reading your post this morning in bed on my phone. (whoops;) But I love this concept and have been trying to embrace “slower living” and owning my time and break the chains of technology that seem to take over my spare moments. I’m sending you a huge hug and I’m so sorry you’ve had such terrible sad things happen to you this year. There is power in recognizing our sadness, embracing it, and then wildly marching on living our life the best way we know – and not just for us – but for our lost loved ones as well. Keep doing what you’re doing. You are loved and appreciated. I’m a new fan, but still, I’m a fan none the less. 😉 xo

    • Ha! I get it. Thanks for the sweet words and hugs from afar, Robyn. Received and sent back in return. I agree—what else to do but move forward living as fully and freely as we can. And double yes to slowing down. So hard but so nourishing!! Let me know how it all goes for you.

  • Caterina Snyder

    I’m in!! Thank you yet again for sharing all that is beautiful in your life, all that is sadness, and all that is truly and utterly you with a sense of bravery that I can hope to fully embrace with such abandon one day. You inspire me Lily with every post and interaction and sharing your loss and exhaustion gives me hope in the darkness that sometimes surrounds and ungulfs us. Xoxoxoxo

    • Hi sweet lady!! Thank you for being such a beautiful reflection—I’m grateful for you and your sweet words and care. Yes, yes, yes, to it all. Sending love up north to you, husband, and cat. Has your book arrived?

  • Janna Lozow

    Lily, I’m sorry for your losses and struggles in Buddhism all of these situations are considered the path to awakening and it seems that ‘s exactly what it’s doing to you- becoming more conscious of how and where you spend your time. Tapping into your true authentic self to find a relief from the chaos of life.
    Thank you for sharing and creating 30 screenless mornings I have a similar practice but you have motivated me to:
    a) make the milk
    b) purchase a clock because you are right sometimes that’s how you end up “cheating”
    Sending you the best vibes. xx Janna
    http://www.jannalozow.com

    • You’re going to love the clock! It’s been so lovely to have a dose of analog life. And yes, the practice of awakening is constant in every moment. Sweet reprieves of lavender milk and all ;). Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words, Janna. <3

  • Oh my god I could read your writing all day. I’m so sorry for the hardships 2017 has brought you so far. You’ve inspired me to try 30 screenless nights and mornings (oh, especially the mornings) and hopefully my anxiety induced insomnia will subside. I’ll report back.

    Sharni xo
    A Girl & Grey

    • Thank you, sweet Sharni!! Appreciate the love and kind thoughts. Please, please do let me know how it goes for you—can’t wait to hear. Fingers crossed it makes a difference!

  • Brooke

    I’m so sorry this year has been so full for you, Lily. I know you’re no stranger to hard times but I hate that they’ve coincided with such a joyous phase in your life, too–your book!

    And I love this recipe and you and Haleys idea. I started doing that a couple of years ago, and found myself wih meditation filled mornings and evenings with a book (and wine but I’m going to try your milk!). The reading part, especially, has been wonderful as I found social took me away from that hobby, especially.

    Thanks for another beautiful piece of writing, friend <3

    • It’s wild isn’t it? That crazy mix of joy and loss. It feels like a time to widen the container of humanity/being, of all that we can hold and experience at once. And YES to your commitment—I’m excited to keep going with it and am so into your book and wine moments. Love. Sending you huge hugs.

  • britt stone

    can you do this with black walnuts too?

    • I’ve never had black walnuts, but that sounds amazing! Any raw, unsalted nut will work! Let me know how it goes :).

      • britt stone

        will do! thanks. 🙂

  • Rachel Heffington

    Thank you for sharing this, Lily. I need to break the cycle too. It’s so crazy how addicted I am to my phone. I hate it, but since I do depend on it for so much, it happens. Thanks for talking about how we can let it not happen.

    • Marilyn Torres

      Very true. I too need to break the crazy addiction I have with my phone.

  • These photos are instantly calming and I love the idea of this screenless nights challenge. Thank you for the inspiration and sending hugs for everything you’ve had to endure this year. xoxo


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