You’ll never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.John C. Maxwell
Routines are built around the habits we have and we want to ensure they are good habits throughout the day.
This is why you should have multiple routines in place during the day. Especially one in the morning and one in the evening.
By establishing solid routines, that include even better habits, I realized how much success I could create all on my own. I wrote about the ways to establish a good morning routine, which can be found here.
But for the purpose of this space, let’s get into establishing a solid and productive evening routine.
Your evening routine can make or break the amount of sleep you get at night, but it can impact how you face the following day. It’s a tricky space to navigate because it focuses on the rest you need today and what you can do to get ready for tomorrow.
What is an evening routine?
First things first. A routine is really a set or sequence of tasks, actions or chores you do repeatedly. Think of brushing your teeth every morning and washing your face, as a routine. It’s something you continuously do.
Same thing for your evening routine! Your evening routine are the tasks, actions or chores you do every single night.
Routines are important because they force you to provide yourself with stability that can actually improve your quality of life. It can help you create lifestyle habits that really focus on your physical, mental and emotional health. All of which is equally important.
I don’t think I ever had too strict of an evening routine, but there always a resemblance of one. I did the seemingly normal tasks most of us do such as charge cell phone, look at tomorrow’s calendar for special events or to-do’s, and just make sure to snuggle into bed by 10pm so I can do it all over again the next day.
Sounds kinda familiar huh? We all have evening routines but most of them are not intentional. We aren’t really being mindful of what we are doing to truly rest and recharge, leaving us to constantly feel exhausted or burnt out.
Related Post: A Guide to Stress Relief When You’re Feeling Burnout
Are you consistently feeling exhausted or overwhelmed? Do you wake up not feeling rested enough to truly tackle the day?
For a very long time, I was not giving my self the proper rest I needed to truly operate as my best self. I was disorganized, exhausted, and I began to suffer from all impact of adulting. You know how the saying goes: I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.
The lack of rest I felt was honestly because of two reasons:
- I didn’t have any morning or evening routine established that helped me focus on me
- I didn’t know how to sit down for a second, rest or breathe (seriously, all three here)
These two things were such a roadblock for me to overcome not only my anxiety, but my lack of rest. I knew that if I wanted to see a change, I would have to be mindful of what I did everyday. What habits did I have? What am I missing or what do I have too much of?
That is when I started to focus on my routines. All the things I do in a sense on auto-pilot that helps me get the rest I need.
That’s also when I realized my evening routine was lacking and inconsistent. Because I didn’t have a routine in place for the evenings, I would wake up usually feeling exhausted, groggy with a big sliver of anxiety as icing on the cake.
I was ending my days exactly how I started them. In my own personal swirl of chaos.
I realized by just establishing a few things I need to do at night to rest and prepare for the next day, I could help curb a little of my own anxiety and feel more rested when I woke up.
Also, it’s good to mention that here, that research shows that establishing a routine can help you manage your stress levels, amount of sleep you receive and improve your health.
So here are a 9 things you can do every night as a part of your evening routine to help you truly rest and tackle the next day with a lot more grace and ease.
First up, let’s clean up the place a bit! Haha, okay so so maybe not major cleaning, but a little tidying up can do wonders for your home and for you.
Tidying up doesn’t mean you have to instantly break out the Fabuloso and get scrubbing. It’s about getting ready for the next day by managing what is left over from today.
For me, that usually means clearing the sink of dashes, folding our blanket that’s the couch and putting our shoes away (man, we leave them crazily by the door sometimes). That’s my tidying up. It’s not much but it gives me so much peace when I wake up the next day and do not have chaos in my house.
Tidying may be or look different to different people and that is perfectly okay. But by doing this, you clean up your space from clutter, removing any chaotic remnants from the day and creating a space of peace for tomorrow.
Connect And Forget
This one looks tricky but it’s quite simple!
Connecting and forgetting is about the one thing we are all pretty attached to; our cell phones!
So the first part is to connect or get your phone plugged in, that is you charge it at night. If you don’t then just skip to the second step.
Forget about your phone.
You don’t need it. You’re getting ready for your rest and that needs a bit more energy than anything going in your phone (barring emergencies).
I try to do this at least a hour before bed, but sometimes more, sometimes less. It gives me space to really breathe and disconnect from the noise of people, things, social media, etc.
And honestly, the evenings is a perfect time to get rid of the noise because you my friend are about to get true rest and relaxation tonight. No noise needed.
Prepare Your Physical Being
This may sound a little weird first, but it’ll make sense I promise.
Preparing your physical being means to take care of the smaller things that we often do, but don’t really count as part of our routine. It’s everything we do for our physical bodies.
So some examples may be:
- Brushing/ Flossing Your Teeth
- Washing Your Face
- Moisturize Hair/ Grab Scarf
- Removing contacts or eyewear
See, nothing too crazy but it’s all about maintaining our physical body. It’s a way to take care of yourself, which in turn will help you better prepare for the next day.
Gratitude is such a beautiful thing, really. Practicing gratitude can transform the way we live our lives by changing how our perceptions.
By practicing gratitude, you can focus on what you’re grateful for and focus your energy there, too.
I struggled with this a lot. It wasn’t that I wasn’t grateful or even thankful, I was just so caught up in my own shit, I couldn’t give proper energy to things I was so happy to have.
It wasn’t until my therapist recommended that I practice writing out what I was grateful for each day that I started to see a drastic change in my quality of life.
Now, I ensure to do it every single evening and I feel weird if I don’t do it. The nights are perfect because I get to always end my day on a great note, even if some moments were bumpy along the way.
Each night, try to write out at least 3 things or people you are grateful for. Make it a habit and watch how your mindset begins to shift in a more positive direction.
You will have continued success during the days by doing this step at night because you will be speaking from a more positive and grateful space.
Pick Your Relaxing Habit
So this is where it gets fun! Your evening doesn’t have to, nor should feel like a bore, or like another to-do list. If you look deeper, it’s really about crafting a routine that helps you get proper rest and relaxation. And you get to pick how you relax, too.
Try spending at least 30 minutes – 1 hour with your relaxing habit. Whatever it is, devote some solid time to it and give it your focus, completely.
Often times, we complain that we don’t have time to sit still or to really chill, but sometimes that is not the case. Hell, I used to feel the same way, but the reality is we have to make time for self-care. Finding a relaxing habit is definitely a step towards better self-care.
It doesn’t matter what you choose but it should be relaxing for you. This is when you need to dig deep and find out what can help you relax in a positive, peaceful one during the evenings.
Plan & Prep For Tomorrow
The evening is also a great time to get ready for what’s coming next… tomorrow.
It wasn’t until I had my first big girl job that I learned why it is so important to prepare more the evenings before work. At the time I was working in Manhattan and buying lunch everyday. I wasted so much money and time by simply not preparing my meals. Ugh.
So I decided that I would start making my meals at home and I would use the evenings as a way to prep everything I would need. By doing this, I saved a lot of money every day, but I saved time because I already knew what I was going to eat for lunch (I can be very indecisive, working on it though!).
You should do the same for yourself during your evening routine. You should be asking yourself, “What can I do now to help me a little tomorrow?”
Maybe for you it’s not so much about preparing your meals before, maybe instead you want to pick out your outfit so you can save yourself 10 minutes the next morning. Or maybe you review our calendar for tomorrow so you can mentally prepare for whatever it is you need to tackle.
Review Accomplishments & Goals
This is an opportunity to reflect and refocus. There are two small parts to this piece, both of which can help center you during your evening routine.
The first is to review your accomplishments or successes from the day. Ask yourself what good things happened and maybe why they mattered to you.
No matter how small they are, a win is still a win.
This is really helpful, especially on bad days, because it creates a mental habit of focusing on the good instead of the bad. By reviewing what you did well today, you give yourself a break from the negative feelings and thoughts inside your mind, and instead focus clearly on what’s next.
I started using my journal to review all the good I experienced during the day. Anything that felt like a win or a success, I wrote about it. Sometimes the successes were directly linked to my goals, and sometimes they weren’t. It really won’t matter what the successes are, soon you’ll see the small joys in everything.
The second part is to get more familiar with your goals. This is a time where you can write out or even mentally run through your goals. You don’t have to do it every night but getting into the habit of reviewing goals is one of all successful individuals.
Reflecting and thinking of your goals right after you reviewed your accomplishments does two things.
- Puts you into a positive thinking space so you can properly think through your goals. Gives you an open mind because you are not thinking from a foundation of negative thoughts/ feelings
- Gives you momentum so you can continue working towards them
Pick Your Peace & Quiet
Now it’s time to find the thing you really need for a good night’s sleep; peacefulness and quiet.
I won’t say silence because while I thoroughly enjoy utter and complete silence to go to sleep, I know many people like to have some type of noise in the background. Whatever works for you always!
Define quiet for you, but be mindful that a lot of noise can prevent you from falling asleep or deeply sleeping.
I enjoy snuggling up in bed a while before actual bedtime so I can sip my tea and read a book. Nothing fancy, but It’s my peace and quiet.
Those few moments every evening gives me an opportunity to relax deeply so I am that much more ready for sleep once the time comes (I’ll get to this in a bit).
Find what your peace and quiet is. Seek it before your bedtime and give yourself the time to enjoy it.
Practice Using A Solid Sleeping Pattern
Now that you’ve established some good habits that contribute to your evening routine, it’s important to continue that every night. Yes, not just during the weekdays, but every single day. Including weekends!
A lot of people allow their sleep schedule to fall to the wayside during the work-week, assuming they will catch up on the weekends. While it technically may work for some, it’s not the best way to truly rest nor give your body a sleeping pattern to follow.
According to the CDC, going to the bed at the same time each night and waking up every morning at the same times can help improve your sleep health. Improving your sleep health can help you improve your days, subsequently improving your quality of life.
I like to be asleep every night by 9pm (I am a grandma y’all). Sometimes I do stay up until 10pm+ but I try not to make it a frequent habit as I know it’ll completely mess up my sleeping pattern.
I also make sure I wake up at 6am every day (again sometimes it’s more like 7:30am, but you get my drift). By doing this, I give myself a chance to have a normal, regulated sleeping pattern. Which also means that I can improve my nights, which has turned into way better days.
Again, I’ll be the first to admit that adulting can be quite challenging at times, so be patient with yourself. You will craft the habits that are a part of your routine by simply shifting your focus to getting yourself real rest.
All you have to do is try.
The more you practice a habit, it becomes second nature. Soon it’ll become instinctual and you won’t even realize you’re doing it! That’s the beauty in establishing good habits and good routines.
Creating a good evening routine is crucial to helping you relax the right way, and prepare properly for the next day. Routines are powerful and can really help shape our days so we can focus more on the positive, instead of the negative.
What is something you want to do to improve our current evening routine tonight?