It’s easy to look forward to the evening—you’ve made it through the day, after all! Evenings offer a chance to relax, review, and recharge for the next day ahead. But for many, they can also end up being the final push in an already exhausting day. By the time your head hits the pillow, you may wonder where your time went and if the next day will be more of the same!
It doesn’t have to be that way though. When you design your evenings with the same intention that you design your days—taking care of yourself and your loved ones with good habits and solid routines—you’ll soon find that every second of your day is built to support you.
As part of our 30 Days to Your Best You challenge, we’re sharing our favorite evening routines and habits to do just that. (You can find our favorite morning habits and our favorite daytime habits on the blog, too!)
See how much more relaxed and recharged you feel after incorporating these habits into your evening time:
Put your phone away.
It’s likely you’ve been “on” all day—responding to emails, texting with your significant other, catching up with your friends on Facebook and Instagram. There’s nothing wrong with being available, of course, but there is such a thing as too much screen time. And when you’re trying to wind down your day, the best way to wind down your body and your mind is by putting your phone down. If you find it difficult to disconnect at first, try setting an alarm (and yes, you can do it on your phone) to remind yourself to power down for the evening! When the alarm goes off, put your phone on the charger and walk away.
Prep for tomorrow’s breakfast + lunch.
You’ve got dinner prep down pat during your morning routine—but why not prepare for breakfast and lunch too? Spend a few minutes each evening making your lunch for the next day and set out any items you might need to make breakfast easier. This isn’t just the actual food items either—get out the blender for your morning smoothie or set the coffee pot to start automatically while you’re in the shower. Get one less to-do on tomorrow’s to-done list by prepping your daytime meals the night before!
Clean up the kitchen.
Okay, before you leave the kitchen, we have one more helpful habit to share: Don’t go to bed with a dirty sink. Clean up after dinner and after prep for the next day’s meals. Clear the table, start the dishwasher, put kitchen towels in the laundry and set out new ones. Maybe even pour yourself a glass of water and place it next to your bed so that you can drink it first thing in the morning. And, if you’d like, pour yourself a glass of wine to enjoy after that—you’ve earned it!
Set out your clothes.
Make tomorrow morning that much easier by picking out your clothes for the next day. And here’s a helpful tip if you’re going to workout first thing: consider sleeping in your workout clothes (they are pretty comfortable!) and putting your exercise shoes beside your bed. And if you have children to dress as well? Select their clothes and lay them out as well—all the way down to the socks and the shoes. Trust us: you’ll thank yourself in the morning . . . and be that much more likely to get your workout in too!
End your day on a positive note by reflecting and noting what you’re grateful for in your planner. Don’t fret over it—it can be something big or small! But if you’re having a hard time finding something to be grateful for, think of something that you’re currently complaining about or frustrated with. Try being grateful for the challenge of that experience—and that it’s producing growth and character in your life! Gratitude is a simple practice with a multitude of health benefits, and as an evening habit, it also ends your day on a positive note; reminding you that, no matter what may have gone wrong, you still have so much to be thankful for.
Read before bed.
Turn off all electronics (not including your phone, which is already off, right?) and let your brain naturally begin to prepare for sleep by reading a book for a few minutes. While you can read whatever your heart desires, we recommend a book that won’t get your mind stirring: perhaps stay away from thrillers, mysteries, or even thoughtful personal development-type books. Instead read something that will allow a nice escape, put your mind at ease, or even start to lull you into the slower energy of falling asleep. You can pick up Stephen King’s latest in the morning.
Clear your mind.
Take some time to clear your mind as you fall asleep. If you have a few extra minutes, you might even want to journal what’s swirling through your head:
“Tomorrow, I’m going to ____. To be ready, I need to ____. I will remember my ____. The random thoughts that just filled my head are ____. Also remember to ____.”
With your mind cleared of all the thoughts that might have kept you up, you can fall asleep easily and peacefully. You have done the best you could today; and tomorrow is a brand new day to start fresh!
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Okay, we’ve got just one more bonus tip! Find at least one evening a week—Sunday evenings tend to work well for this—to take care of YOU. Engage in an activity that you love; an activity that brings you joy and nourishes your soul. And plan for it—every week, this is your time and your activity. This is the foundation of any well-designed routine and well-designed day!