“I didn’t always know what I wanted to do with my voice, I just knew I had to do something.”
And so he did. Three years ago, Riley reed challenged the status quo and what it means to be an artist with the launch of his creative studio, Woke up the beauty. Reading the insightful prose that accompanies the stories of the subject it captures is akin to witnessing the magic. Whether it’s helping us rethink life and purpose through poetry with Arielle Estoria or showing us how to live with joy and liberation like Keon Saghari, Reed’s pencil and paper is his microphone, and we are all ears. “What I’ve come to find the most is that the birth of Woke Beauty awakened something inside of me.” she writes. “No amount of words could express my gratitude.” The feeling is mutual.
It’s safe to say that we are emotionally and spiritually moved by the socially conscious storyteller and photographer, and we wanted to know more about Reed’s life beyond the page. So today we put the focus on our wellness editor by sharing more about her. The Sunday night routine, how her weekend rituals set her up for success, and why encouraging breathing and calm is so important to reduce stress and control those cortisol levels. Because just as a good night equals a good day, a happy Sunday brings a happy week.
Read on to learn more about Riley Reed’s Sunday Night Routine …
I do my best to block out Sundays to rest, but if I’m honest it doesn’t always happen that way (working on the boundaries of work). Whatever happens, I leave the second half of the day open to flow freely so that I can start my Sunday night routine in the early afternoon. Much of my week is a mad rush. I have a tendency to underestimate how long things take. Time, in essence, is elusive. With a long Sunday afternoon / evening routine, I don’t have to worry about packing things. I can finally relax and let things happen however they can.
Take it outside.
My Sundays are often spent with my husband, Jack. If it’s sunny, we love spending the day outside. We will hike or take a dip in Barton Springs. It is so nice to be together in nature, even if it is just a walk in the neighborhood with our dogs. The sun sets in front of our house, beyond the oak trees and I love to see it just before it splashes through the glass of our front door.
Walking without a phone feels rhythmic and meditative. Allow my mind to think freely with each step.
Sometimes I go with my husband, Jack, so we can share our thoughts. There is something so close in walking in step with someone you love. Movement encourages dynamic conversation or comforting silence. It is a great way to sync body and mind. Starting and ending the day with a walk feels cyclical and ingrained. It also relaxes our young and energetic Pitbulls.
But first … clean!
I start Sunday nights with a walk before scanning the house to make sure it’s clean and tidy. My days are so busy and with a good chunk of my work at home, things definitely add up. While maintenance is ideal, it is not always possible. Someone has to concede.
I like to use Sundays as a reset, clean slate. The sound of the dishwasher and clothes is soothing and relaxing. It feels like you’re literally washing away the dirt for the week.
I wash my hair once a week (maximum). It is an important process and usually involves a hair mask that takes time to work its magic. It’s true that Jack and I tend to have Eurostyle dinner (quite late). I’ll start cooking around 7pm (while my mask does its job) and I’m going to love making a batch of nut muffins for the week while things simmer. I have a tendency to skip breakfast and, personally, it doesn’t prepare me for a lot of energy or productivity. Nut muffins are easy to drink and a great source of nutrition. After dinner, I wash off my hair mask and do my skincare routine.
Jack and I are huge moviegoers. We love being nerdy in movies and shows. Right now we are actually in Mare of Easttown. Before going to bed, I do a big brain dump, jot down my wins and lessons from the previous week, and scan my schedule for the following week to make sure I have everything in order. Sometimes I meditate for a few minutes, other times I read some pages of a quiet book, always with a lit candle. We usually turn off the lights around 11pm.
Favorite candle: Diptique Baies
Favorite hair mask: Curls Blueberry Bliss hair repair mask
Favorite mask: Cosmedix
Start your nightly routine in the morning.
As a soloist and artist, every day is Wednesday. My “fears” are not specific to Sundays, but I have anxiety at night. In fact, I recently had a panel where I learned that my cortisol rises between 7 and 9 pm. When I feel anxious, my energy rises and my brain tends to spiral. I worry that I haven’t done enough or will miss something the next day. I conjure up falsehoods and worry about anything that comes up in my cyclical thoughts.
To combat increased stress and embarrassment, I actually do my best to have an efficient morning. Steven Pressfield talks about the small earnings that lead to productive work and a calm mind. I exercise early and follow a regular supplement routine. I don’t drink coffee after 10 am and I keep it in a mug. In this way, my body can maintain its balance and establish itself steadily as the day progresses. In the evening, I like to sum up my accomplishments and lessons for the day and my intentions and priorities for the next day.
Mantra I love: Wholeness and fluidity.
If I work Sunday night, it’s just writing. It is the day to clean, to reset. No matter what I write, I feel like I’m doing it. I think a lot … almost all the time … and many times about serious or esoteric things. Writing allows me to empty my mind so that I have more space to relax, have fun, and spend quality time with my relationships.
Turn off your phone.
I am very careful not to see anything that activates or to check some accounts (email, bank, Instagram, etc.). There are too many external forces that could affect my thinking and I can’t afford that on a day off. I also do my best to save Sunday nights for myself and Jack, which means I can’t socialize outside the home. Much of my work is dedicated to people. Setting that limit is really important.
In the past, I had a lamp, a candle, a dream journal, moisturizing oil, and the current book that I am reading. But we recently got rid of our nightstands while redecorating our bedroom. I have loved having a clear space next to the bed. I heard that the bedroom should be dedicated to sleep, privacy, and nothing else. There is something so beautiful, simple and sacred in that intentionality.