A Simple Evening Routine For You
A Simple Evening Routine For You
You’re busy. Your nights are full of ball games, family dinners, game nights, errands, dishes, and trying to catch your primetime shows.
You run, run, run until you collapse into bed after tackling your to-do list all day long and somehow managing to get yourself from one activity to the next all day.
The last thing you need is another list of things to do in order to feel like a good adult.
Let me offer you some respite, some breathing room— even if it does come in the form of a sort-of list.
I promise it’s loose enough to not be restricting, adaptable for your specific needs, and actually life-giving instead of draining.
The whole reason to wrap up your day with a nightly routine is to allow yourself to properly wind down from your busy day, get ready to sleep, and prepare for the next day.
That being said, you can accomplish those things in a great variety of ways. Your nightly routine doesn’t have to look like mine— or your husband’s, or your sister’s, or your friend on Instagram’s.
Your nightly routine only has to work for you.
Let’s look at some common ingredients to make a great nightly routine.
I don’t know about you, but I feel about 90% better when I wake up to a house that doesn’t look like a tornado whipped through it in the middle of the night.
Waking up do messes just grates on my nerves. Mornings are hard enough without the added stress of having to clean up yesterday’s detritus.
Let’s do ourselves a favor and clean up a bit before we go to bed each night.
I don’t mean we have to scrub the inside of our ovens or our toilets. I simply mean we pick up after ourselves.
My typical tidying-up routine looks like this:
folding the blanket I was using and returning it to the blanket basket or back of the chair where it belongs
putting away my computer and charging cord, wrapped up neatly and tucked away in my desk
straightening up the couch pillows
picking up any stray socks, cloth napkins, nail polish bottles, bobby pins, or pens, and putting them back where they belong
washing dishes from the last meal/snack I ate and putting them in the dish drainer
making sure my shoes made it to the shoe rack or boot tray in the entry way instead of getting left in the walkway
It’s nothing complicated or intricate. The most time-consuming is possibly doing the dishes, but as long as I’m diligent about tackling them after each meal, it really doesn’t take long at all!
Mornings can be hard, especially if we wake up unprepared to face the day ahead of us.
We can do ourselves a huge favor in the form of preparing the night before with simple tasks.
These simple tasks include packing lunch, prepping breakfast, picking out our clothes, setting out our gym bags, or setting the coffee maker to automatically make coffee when we wake up.
None of these things are life-changing, and none of them will take much time out of our evenings. But they can save significant amounts of time in the morning, and even more importantly, they will save mental energy and sanity because the morning is less of a scramble.
Of course, a critical component of a nightly routine is to take care of yourself physically. Most of these things are second nature, things that we’ve all been told to do since we were kids.
However, some of these self-care practices fall to the wayside if we’re not careful, so it can be beneficial to work them back into your regular routine.
brushing your teeth
washing your face
applying a nighttime cream, moisturizer, or any other skincare product you use
showering if you’re an evening showerer
changing out your contact solution if you wear contacts
Self-care isn’t limited to practical tasks to take care of your physical body; it also includes things that take care of your soul.
I’m a big believer in the amazing powers of self-care— engaging in restful activities helps us wind down, release stress, experience greater joy, be more creative, and be in a better mood.
Some kinds of restful soul-level self-care include (but aren’t limited to!):
taking a bath
going for a walk
reading a book
lighting a candle
getting a mani-pedi
getting a facial
getting a massage
listening to music
diffusing some essential oils
drinking (non-caffeinated) tea
talking to a loved one
Incorporating elements like these into your nightly routine can help you relax before going to sleep.
This may sound idealistic and unrealistic, but learning to relax is important for both your brain and your body. If you jump into bed after going full speed all day, you’ll have a harder time falling asleep and sleep more poorly.
PRACTICAL TIPS & TRICKS
Some of the most helpful things for establishing regular rhythms and routines are reminders and alerts.
As much as I don’t want to rely on my phone for everything, it can be helpful to utilize technology for the benefits it can provide, like reminding us to start brushing our teeth half an hour before we want to go to sleep.
I use the “bedtime” feature on my iPhone to remind myself to start getting ready for bed half an hour before I need to go to sleep in order to get enough sleep. It bases my bedtime on the time I have my alarm set so that I can (in theory) get eight hours of sleep.
I’ll admit I often ignore that reminder, but I know I’m shooting myself in the foot each time I do it.
I feel better when I get enough sleep, and I feel even better still when I get ready for bed in an un-rushed manner. That really only happens when I pay attention to my phone reminder and take it seriously.
Maybe you need a reminder on your phone, too. Or maybe one of your kids’ bedtimes is a good enough cue for you. Or maybe you’re better at watching the clock and disciplining yourself to go to bed than I am— good for you!
Another thing that helps is to pair activities. I stretch while I brush my teeth. I listen to a podcast the whole time I’m getting ready for bed.
Pairing activities does a few things for us: it helps us save time (tackling two things at once, like stretching and teeth-brushing), makes less fun things more fun (adding podcasts to teeth-brushing), and helps us not forget steps (like forgetting to stretch if we try to remember on our own).
What reminders or activity pairings might help you with your evening routine? Let me know in the comments!