Creating Your Best Evening Routine
Evening routine checklist
Dating someone with depression can be hard. This does not mean you need to leave your depressed and anxious partner. To avoid making the anxiety worse, hurting your partner and creating more stress in the relationship, do not try to fix them alone. Work together with your partner in getting help, seeing therapy and working on bettering overall health.
Here is Evening Routine: 25 Tips for Your Happiness Focused Night Routine
How many mornings do you wake up without hitting the snooze button on your phone or alarm clock?
How many days do you wake up feeling content, refreshed, and ready for the day ahead?
After coming home from work at the end of a long day, sometimes we just want to kick back and relax, maybe scroll through social media on our phone or the new releases on Netflix. And there is nothing wrong with this.
But the thing I think we all need to get our heads around is that there are other ways to reset or wind down. An evening routine can still be calming even if it doesn’t look like the all-out relaxation session that you know now.
You can rejuvenate yourself in other more productive ways.
By building your evening routine around your mental health you can stop waking up feeling tired, stressed, and disconnected – detached from your drive and the reason why you get up every day in the first place.
I’ve found myself waking up this way more times than I can count. I finally discovered that the nights I didn’t sleep as well were the nights I spent an unnecessary amount of time on my phone or watching TV, unable to pull my eyes away – and so the vicious cycle began.
This is just one example of the connection I made between my poor bedtime habits and how I felt physically, emotionally, and mentally the next day.
This is the connection that I would like us all to focus on with today’s blog on creating an evening routine, and it’s an easy connection to overlook.
The best way to prepare for and improve tomorrow is by doing the best you can today.
What is a Good Evening Routine?
Try this numbered system for a simple but good evening routine:
5 hours before bed, stop drinking caffeine
4 hours before bed, eat dinner
3 hours before bed, stop drinking alcohol
2 hours before bed stop working
1 hour before bed, turn off all screens
0 times hit snooze!
How do I start an evening routine?
Start your evening routine by figuring out what time you need to wake tomorrow and set the alarm for it. By doing this, you now have a countdown for when you need to be in bed to get eight hours of sleep. The following steps will be to get your dinner in, turn off all screens and social media, then unwind.
A personal tip from me to add after all of your pre-bedtime routines are done, is to buy yourself a Gravity Blanket.
Having a weighted blanket on top of your comforter will aid in getting deeper and longer sleeps. Check out this in-depth Gravity Blanket review I wrote on my weighted blanket as it was part of my mental health toolbox as I fought my way out of depression and anxiety.
25 Evening Routine Ideas
I have put together a list of 25 evening routine ideas to help guide you. All of these will aid you in your focus to get better sleep, but doing all 25 just isn’t possible.
Take the next few weeks to try them all, creating a checklist of your top activities for your night routine.
Revise your to-do list
While I always create a weekly schedule on Sunday evenings or Monday mornings, it usually ends up being more of a rough outline.
Almost no days ever go 100% according to plan, which is why in the evening, I review my to-do list and adjust as needed. This helps me minimize potential stress the following morning in a few ways, like not missing deadlines and knowing what I need to do first.
Set aside time at night to refresh or create a new to-do list because it provides a visual for what you have accomplished, helping you feel successful and confident.
Do tomorrow morning’s chores
Are there things you find that always eat your morning time that you could spend 10 or 15 minutes doing at night instead?
Perhaps the dirty dishes in the sink distract you during the day, so you lose focus and work time stepping away to do them. Try doing them at night instead.
Maybe you can start some laundry early in the evening and let them hang dry overnight so that all you have to do in the morning is tumble and fold.
Set out your clothes
I debated including this one as a morning chore in the tip above, because it’s not quite a chore and more of an easy win – something necessary that will make the next day go more smoothly.
And you know I love my easy wins.
So, unless you live somewhere where the weather is wildly unpredictable, eliminate the early-morning guesswork and set aside 2-5 minutes to set our your clothes.
Open a book
*REWITE* Set aside time to read at the end of the day, steering clear of self-improvement books or anything else that gets you inspired. Books like these will get your thoughts moving when you should be trying to calm them down.
Rewrite your goals
Sometime before you go to bed every night, write down your top goals. Do this from memory to help reinforce their importance in your mind and wake up with a clearer sense of direction.
Jot something in a journal
Spend time writing in a journal at nighttime to help reduce your anxious thoughts or to mentally prepare yourself for upcoming events triggering anxiety or stress for you.
Expressing gratitude is another way you can use your journal end day. While I like to keep it simple by jotting down or thinking of just three things I am grateful for, I’m always sure to be as specific as possible about those three things. This practice will help you generate positive energy, ending your day on a high note.
Like your gratitude practice, try thinking of three things you are excited about for the following day.
If you can’t think of anything too specific, then think of a few little things that add joy to your every day, whether it’s eating a breakfast you love or getting to spend time with your pups. Whether you write these down or keep them in your head, this practice makes the difference between getting to wake up and accomplish things and having to wake up.
Incorporate essential oils
Aromatherapy involves using essential oils in various ways as a natural remedy to ease stress and anxiety. One of the best essential oils for this is lavender, which you can mix several drops into your evening bath or just a few drops into an oil diffuser, turning it on at the start of your evening routine.
Take a hot bath
Take a hot bath within an hour or so of bedtime. It will raise your body temperature so that your body temperate drops before bed, helping you relax and fall asleep.
Take a shower
I partake in cold showers in the morning for other (anxiety) reasons, but a cold shower at night can help significantly improve your sleep quality if taken no less than an hour before bed. Alternatively, you can take an ice bath. These are known as cold-therapy techniques, and they also provide some physical body benefits like speedier injury recovery.
Clean your face
Maybe you’re keen on going easy on the tap (good for you), so showers or baths are more of an every other day thing for you. In that case, you can, at the very least, wash your face.
Don’t just quickly scrub it and rinse but take about 30 seconds to a minute and use it as an opportunity to practice mindfulness. Notice how nice it feels when the water hits your skin or pretend that as you are rubbing off the dirt that you are also letting go of the day’s stress.
You might be wondering why I included this one here because I am sure you are all already doing this. But it’s so easy to overlook hygiene as another opportunity to be mindful or grateful. Set a timer for two minutes and tune into your senses as you brush your teeth. Feel the bristles on your teeth and gums and notice the taste of your toothpaste.
Put your phone away
I always put my phone away within one hour of bedtime. I understand how it feels like some of the things you are using it for and enjoy, such as games or funny videos, are helping; while those can put you in a good mood, they are not doing any favors real favors for your mental health or sleep.
So, I don’t just recommend putting away your phone because of the social media aspects or other things that can cause you sadness, stress, or anxiety. Plain and simply, anything you do or see during screen time can put your brain into a heightened state, so try to work on no longer associating your phone with relaxation.
The other reason you should consider putting away your phone, tablet, or computer is due to the blue light. And avoiding bright lights, in general, help signal your body that it is almost time to sleep. An hour or two before bed, dim the lights if you can and change the color from white to warm. Or, light a candle! Your eyes will appreciate the rest.
Don’t worry; if you aren’t already regularly meditating or have never tried, it’s not as scary as it sounds. The thing about mindfulness mediation is that you get to be present with your thoughts – you do not have to try to fight them off. When you notice your attention getting pulled away by a thought, try to channel your focus back to your deep, slow breaths.
Practice peaceful mantras
Think peaceful thoughts that are centered around positive things. Choose a mantra such as “I feel calm” to communicate to your mind and body that you are calm.
Try progressive muscle relaxation
It may sound contradicting at first but tensing up your muscles can help ease your body and mind. Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique you can try any time and is especially helpful on days when you feel particularly stressed or anxious. Begin by slowly tensing one group of muscles. Hold the tension for a few seconds, and release tension as you slowly exhale. Repeat this as you work through the rest of your muscle groups moving up or down your body, relaxing for about ten seconds in between each group.
Listen to calming music
As you wind down in the evening, play some calming music (preferably without lyrics) to help soothe your mind and improve your mood.
Binaural beats (something you can easily find on YouTube or Spotify) can help reduce anxiety and promote positivity and relaxation.
Set aside time for your creativity at night and color. Keep some colored pencils or markers in your nightstand or side table and color freely or try an adult coloring book. Adult coloring books are filled with unique patterns that you fill in. It’s an activity that can help you feel instantly calmer because it helps you focus your attention on the task at hand.
Change into comfortable pajamas
Put on your nighttime clothes when you are ready to shift into relaxation mode. Do not change out of your work clothes until you feel like you have accomplished all other important things and are ready to begin your evening routine.
Turn on your fan and adjust your thermostat
About two hours before you plan to go to bed, lower your thermostat down to 18-20 degrees Celsius. Also, turn on your bedroom or ceiling fan to get the air circulating. The temperature drop will help induce sleepiness.
Take a supplement or melatonin
Take a calming supplement such as L-theanine or CBD oil (available in other forms like gummies). Since melatonin is something your body naturally produces, it is safe to combine it with another supplement.
Practice a yogic inversion
Before you go to sleep, hold a supported or restorative yoga pose such as Legs Up the Wall Pose. To practice this posture, slide a yoga block, bolster, or folded blanket under your sacrum (optional), then climb your legs up a wall and allow the wall to support them. Let your arms rest out to the side, or place one hand on your belly and the other on your chest and follow the rhythm of your breath. This yoga pose promotes circulation, relaxation, and digestion and reduces blood pressure and stress.
Create a nighttime ritual with your loved ones
If you share your living space with family, a partner, or a pet, enjoy some quality time with them before bed. For most of us, evenings are the only chance we get to do this. So, cuddle your pet or partner, or talk about your highs and lows of the day.
Evening Routine Checklist
Okay, I know that was a lot of ideas and information. I am sure you are feeling ready and inspired to take on a few of these but feel overwhelmed about which to choose and in what order.
Here is a sample evening routine checklist you can consider following – take it, leave it, or modify it! *ADD MY OWN TO THIS ORDER*
- Take a bath with essential oils
- Brush your teeth
- Change into pajamas
- Lower your lighting and thermostat
- Color while listening to calming music
- Practice gratitude
- Take your supplement and/or melatonin
- Hold a restorative yoga pose
Morning and Evening Routines
There is a reason why you see some of the same ideas from my morning routine blog also listed here. I didn’t necessarily include the below three tips again to reiterate their importance (although they are great habits to build). I included a few of the same steps because some of these can feel like entirely different experiences and yield different benefits depending on what time of day you do them. Plus, you might notice how some of these complement each other or maybe you just find one so helpful that you’ve decided to incorporate it twice.
Don’t look at your phone
The mental health benefits of limiting screen time are largely the same no matter when you do it; there is just a different intention behind it. So, for your morning routine, the idea is to do everything else you need to do before taking a glimpse at your emails and getting overwhelmed. In the evening, not looking at your phone also keeps your mind off work, but it is also important to not stimulate your mind so late.
Wash your face
Having a skincare routine in the morning is like a way of physically and mentally preparing yourself for the day, helping you feel both clean and confident. At nighttime, it is like a grounding technique – an opportunity to slow down even more and be mindful.
Rewriting your goals
Writing your to-do list or goals in the morning helps you start the day with a vision, focus, and clarity. In the evening, rewriting your goals is less about productivity (since you won’t be doing anything right then and there) and more about reconnecting with your purpose and reinforcing your values.
Evening Routine Conclusion
That’s it! you now have everything you need to set up a good evening routine.
I want you to remember that self care is one of the most important things we can do everyday to help our mental health. Take time in your evening routine creation and come up with a checklist that can stay with you for years.
What is ONE of the 25 tips for your happiness focused night routine ideas that you will implement tonight?
Leave it in the comments below!