How To Establish An Evening Routine That Can Radically Change Your Life

How To Establish An Evening Routine That Can Radically Change Your Life

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Perhaps at the end of a long day, you feel frazzled and stressed instead of relaxed. As a result, you might not sleep well, and thus, feel unrested the next day. If you are waking up feeling just as exhausted as when you went to sleep, what may help you is a new nighttime routine.

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Why Routines?

Routines are hard-and-fast programs of action that are consistently followed on a regular basis. Closing your day properly is just as important as starting your day off right, so there are no cutting corners when it comes to good nighttime routines. In the same way healthy eating habits and exercise are good for your body, healthy nighttime routines are beneficial for the mind. Purposefully created, they wind down a busy day, and allow you to recharge and prepare your mind for the next.

Maybe you feel you’re too busy to develop a good routine. Luckily, routines don’t have to take a lot of time, and as long as you take them one small step at a time, you’ll find yourself done and relaxed in no time.

Photo: WikiMedia Commons/ Joseph Shipendi Mukafwa

What’s Next?

Concentrate first on some immediate gratification. You can accomplish this by determining one habit that will have recognizable impact on your evening. Some common impactful improvements include reducing caffeine intake later in the day, or preparing your clothes or lunch the night before. In turn, you can improve your sleep, or stress less about the hectic next morning, respectively. These simple changes can be made just one at a time to help you develop them properly.

When you start seeing some good results, begin looking at other areas that you need to change. Perhaps you can try watching one less hour of television in the evening, or indulge in one less hour on social media. Changing something so simple in your evening could open you up to creating a brand-new healthy habit.

To help ease your mind at night, consider adding in some time-saving tricks to your mornings. This could include something as simple as unloading and loading the dishwasher at night, leaving it ready to just add the breakfast dishes. This way, you can run the cycle before the workday begins. Even when you’re tired from a long day of work, you may find some chores are best when accomplished in the evening, rather than trying to squeeze them into a hectic morning.

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Sufficient Unto The Day Is The Evil Thereof

One of the most damaging aspects of a bedtime routine is taking stock of the day and worrying over it. The majority of these worries cannot be solved as you’re about to hit the hay, so there’s no sense in riling yourself up right before bed. Therefore, this one nighttime routine might be exactly what you need, but it could be one of the trickiest habits to nail down: thinking positively.

Instead of carrying your daytime burdens into your dreams – if you can even fall asleep, that is – try finding at least one good thing to focus on instead. People naturally tend to overlook positive events in order to focus on the negative ones that made you mad or upset during the day. One trick is to try having a shared discussion of the day’s positive highlights with your loved ones, or you can journal them briefly before drifting off to sleep. By focusing on the positive, you can prepare yourself for a more peaceful, restful sleep.

Another good habit is to begin by communicating or recording your goals for the next day. By articulating or writing down exactly what you want to accomplish, you set those goals more firmly in your subconscious. Secondly, focus briefly on any progress you made that day to achieve those goals.

Next, organize some thoughts on ways you can make your goals into a reality. This type of organization is crucial because it finely tunes goals that are otherwise too broad in scope. Finally, when you end the conversation or journal entry, shut off all screens for a period of time right before you shut your eyes for sleep. By eliminating the stimulation of a bright screen, you lower your dopamine levels that could be preventing good sleep.

While building good habits for healthy evening routines sound tedious, it won’t take long before the habits become ingrained. Then, the routines will work on autopilot, and you’ll find yourself better prepared for the next day.