You've heard of a morning routine, now it's time for you to make an evening routine. It's just as important to end your day right as it is to start it right.
Whether you've had a long day, an awesome day, an overall good or bad day it's important to unwind, calm down and let your body know it's time to sleep.
As we know, habits and routines are extremely powerful so having proper evening habits and routines will improve your sleep and help you get a better start on the next day. The added benefit is that you'll also feel more comfortable with yourself, reduce your stress and be overall a better person.
First, let's clarify some things:
Morning Vs Evening Routine
Is the evening the opposite of the morning? Should you be active in the evening? Reading books? What?! All good questions.
There is no clear cut answer to any of those, except for: “whatever works for you.” Though I can tell you this for certain: if you want the evening to be the opposite (or even reverse) of your morning schedule, then it can be.
It does not have to be though. The evening routine can be just like the morning routine. Or completely different.
The important thing is that this evening routine works for you.
What not to do for the evening
There are some things you shouldn't do though. We're going over this first because it's important to know what not to do, so you can properly choose the right actions.
Here is a list of things you should do in your evening routine:
- Any work out that gets your blood moving
- Drink caffeine (tea, coffee, energy drinks, ect…) or anything that could keep you awake
- Use a device with a bright screen, so no TV, video games, computer, smartphone. This amount of light WILL keep you awake.
- Drink alcohol (might put you to sleep, but you won't sleep well)
- Listen to loud music
- Read things that make you think a lot
What you can do for an evening routine
- Drink water
- Light stretching, like some light yoga
- Read a non-all too thought provoking book. Reading from something like the Kindle is ok since it's not bright. Even the Kindle Paper White is ok.
- Listening to quiet calming music or white-noise. Something that puts your mind at ease.
- Write in a journal. This will let you get all your thoughts out and clear your mind.
- Write your TODO's or plan for the next day. Keep it simple, short and to the point.
- Light cleaning. Who doesn't like to wake up to a clean home? 🙂
Sample evening routine
Is what I've done in the past and what I've seen people do as an evening routine to help them move their life along. Not all of them follow the guidelines above, but they do the job well enough. There is no such thing as a perfect routine, it all comes down to whatever works for you.
For my wife:
- Call her family (in another country) and/or check up on them on Facebook.
- Put work food containers into the sink.
- Take out meat or fish to be defrosted for the next day.
- Clean up (brush teeth, wash face, ect…)
- Read home magazines for about 20 minutes.
She does this every day like clock-work. And it really works for her. She get's to keep up with family constantly, and still gets time in for resting with me and reading her own things to calm down.
I'm currently in a routine transition phase, but this is what my evening routine used to be:
- 8pm, turn off all technology (phones, computers, tablets, ect)
- Wash dishes and light clean up around the home.
- Clean up self.
- Read book in bed for approximately 30 minutes.
- Lay down and meditate for about 10 minutes.
- Drink half glass of water.
There are two things that really started to help me sleep better and be happier: stopping any and all work at a certain time (8pm for me) and then meditation in bed.
Once I started routinely not working on anything at all (except light house work) after a certain time, my stress levels dropped significantly. This happened because I finally realized that the world won't end if I stop working for a short bit and that everything I can do can easily wait until the next day. After that time, it's all family time.
Meditation in bed has helped reduce my stress levels even more. And since it's become a routine for me, I can now easy meditate (for me that's in bed) and by meditating I resolve many issues in my head (and them write down the solutions if I have to remember anything for tomorrow). By the time I'm done meditating, my head is so clear and calm that I naturally fall asleep within minutes after that.
Once I create and habitualize a new evening routine (most likely it will include yoga and meditation not in bed) I'll update you guys (and gals) on what's been working and what hasn't been working.
Now back to you: what evening routines do you have (good or bad)?