In this cost-of-living crisis, there are many of us who spend our last few moments before sleep wondering – and, let’s face it, worrying – about where the money will come from if things become even more expensive.

The answer for many of us is we really don’t know how we will cope financially if costs keep rising when the money in our wage package just seems to go out as fast as it comes in these days and our so-called disposable income gets smaller and smaller. That’s a really uncomfortable thing to think about in the dark of the night just before sleep and it’s often the reason why sleep seems to evade us. Of course, it’s really understandable why we think about things like this when the house becomes quieter and our mind begins to process what’s been happening in our world that day. It’s a rare day we don’t hear “cost-of-living crisis” being mentioned through one medium or another.

In response, I’m reminded of something I remember hearing as a child about folks who know “the cost of everything and the value of nothing”. Case in point are these final few moments before we sleep. They are so valuable, they are so precious and they can really inform how well we sleep and – perhaps more crucially – how well we feel when we wake. As you know yourself, lack of proper restful sleep really does make life seem harder. No matter what the cost of living is, there’s massive value in being able to live our lives in the most personally fulfilling way. It’s nigh on impossible to find and feel fulfilment and ease when one feels exhausted. Which brings us to our first exercise.

Mindfulness exercise

The moment you get into bed, put the phone away. Ideally lie on your back, but if it’s not comfortable for you, then lie in whatever position works best for you.

Now close your eyes, place one hand on your belly and one on your chest and begin to count as you inhale, one, two, three, four. Exhale one, two, three, four, five.

Now, it’s important that you’re trying to feel the breath as you count. Sometimes what happens is we get caught up in mindlessly counting rather than feeling the breath, so do the best you can.

Over time, you’ll find you’re able to count to five, six, seven on the inhale and maybe seven, eight, nine on the exhale, but my prediction is that you’ll be fast asleep for your best night’s rest in a long time before you even realise you’re sleepy. That is just one benefit of placing real value on deciding what you give your attention to before you sleep.

Physical exercise

This might take a bit of thought, but the challenge is to spend a “free” day out in nature: going for a ramble by the sea, up a hill, in a forest or a lovely garden or public park nearby. Sunday was traditionally the day to go out for “a drive” and spend time with family. Not many of us still have that tradition, but maybe there might be value in revisiting it? This does not have to cost a thing; in actual fact, it might be a really good experiment to see if you can have a day of real value without it needing to cost you anything.

Have a good breakfast before you set off, pack a lunch filled with the things you enjoy to eat and a flask filled with your favourite drink, invite one or – if you’re lucky – a couple of your favourite people to spend this free time with you; perhaps even ask them to pack a small picnic as well and share time and food together.

At the end of the day, as you lay down to rest, reflect on your free day, ask yourself did you find that there was true value in what you did? Could you put a price on it?

Something to ponder

The cost of something is conventionally determined by external factors, whereas the true value of something is subjective. Don’t get caught up in the belief that every object and experience’s value is determined by its price.

Objects and experiences are as valuable as they feel to you. In this temporary crisis, our spending power may be more restricted than ever, but our freedom to determine what holds true value for us is infinite. Enjoy discovering the value of everything.

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