If you've been hanging around for any length of time, you probably already know that I am a huge fan of having a morning routine.
I've mentioned it in many posts as being so incredibly important and I even dedicated a whole post to creating a morning you love.
Now, even though I am super vocal about creating a morning routine and taking time for self-care in the mornings, I realize that one of the best things you can do for yourself and for your mornings is have an evening routine as well.
Why have an evening routine as well, you ask? Let me tell you!
Having a relaxing evening routine can help you de-stress from your day at work, get you into a better state of mind for going to sleep, help you sleep better, and can also boost how relaxing your morning routine is.
And we all know how nice it is to have a relaxing morning.
If you already have a morning routine in place, why not make it even better and add a few routine practices to your evening as well.
I've been working on my evening routine for a while now. It doesn't seem to stay the same for more than a few weeks. But that's ok. It's a routine, not a schedule. My routine often gets interrupted by life or my tastes change and things that used to be wonderful and relaxing are now just boring.
But even though the specifics of my routine change from time to time, there are some aspects that stay the same.
So for now, I've decided to cut everything else out and just do what works for me. Your evening routine may be worlds different from mine.
And that's ok. You do you.
Here are my favorite things to do in the evening to help me wind down for bed and be better prepared for the morning.
Tidy the house
Ok, I know this one doesn't sound like very much fun, but it's probably one of the more important things on my evening routine. It only takes about 5-10 minutes for me to flutter through the house and tidy things up.
But it makes a huge difference in how I feel in the morning.
Don't you just love waking up to a clean house? No dishes in the sink, no clothes or toys on the floor, everything is exactly where it should be, ready for the day.
I love that feeling. I can't get enough of it.
Keep in mind you're not cleaning the house. You're just tidying up.
Pick up anything on the floors, clear the counters and tables, put away the dishes, simple things like that. If that's still going to amount to too much (you want to stay around the 10 minute mark with tidying), go for the 5 things rule. Pick up any 5 things and then move on to the rest of your routine.
Set out everything you'll need in the morning
This is going to be the most helpful step in the morning.
Every evening I like to lay out what I'll wear the next day, prep my lunch, and make sure everything I need for work is in my bag and waiting by the door.
It is such a huge time saver to not have to think about any of that stuff in the morning.
It doesn't seem like a big deal, but on nights I forget, I definitely feel crunched for time the next morning.
Do yoga or meditate
Both are excellent options to add into your evening routine.
I try to exercise and do yoga, but sometimes I just do a few stretches and call it a night.
If you haven't tried out yoga yet, you really need to. It is so relaxing, I've nearly fallen asleep on my yoga mat more times than I care to admit.
Whether you do yoga, just stretch a bit, or meditate on the good things that have happened during the day, it's going to put you in a calmer state of mine that is perfect for drifting off to sleep.
Turn off your phone. Put it in another room. Don't get on the internet. Turn the TV off too. Read a book instead.
I don't mean to sound bossy, but just do it, OK?
Sometimes, we all need to unplug from the world around us. We spend so much time being connected to everyone and everything, it can get overwhelming.
Give yourself a break. Grab a fiction novel and read for a while until you're ready to go to sleep. And why not go one step farther and make yourself a cup of tea as well. There's nothing cozier than drinking tea and reading a book.
But make sure it's decaf!
You'll fall asleep faster if you're not staring at the harsh light from your phone or laptop right before you go to bed.
And you'll have the added bonus of not having a thousand thoughts about what you just read on Facebook rolling through your head while you try to sleep. I don't know about you, but social media can get me too worked up.
Diffuse essential oils
I am obsessed with essential oils. Their benefits are endless. I have a rotation of my three favorite oil blends that I diffuse at night before bed.
When I've had a really long, frustrating day, I diffuse a stress relief blend for about an hour while I read a book. It does the trick every time. If I ever don't have time to read a book (which doesn't happen often), I'll just take a whiff from the bottle and get in bed.
On nights when I feel like I might be coming down with a cold, I diffuse the thieves blend. It's crazy how well this works to get me feeling better. I set the diffuser for 6 hours and let it run through the night.
I'm usually 10 times better in the morning.
Now my favorite oil blend is definitely a sleep blend. It has a delightful floral scent that is light and delicate... it's just perfect, really. I only set the diffuser for an hour with this one because I'm typically asleep within 10 minutes of turning it on.
Take a bath
If you've already read my post about my favorite ways to unwind, you know that I love taking bubble baths. They are the ultimate in relaxation for me.
And they are a great way to wind down and get ready for bed.
For me, bath time has to have bubbles, essential oils (preferably lavender or some other calming scent), candles, and soothing music.
Just relax and clear your mind. Remember, you're going to sleep and rest better if you're calm and relaxed when you get into bed.
Do things you love
Even if you don't get to do all of these things every night, (because taking a bath every night is a little unreasonable) pick a few that help you relax and that help make the next morning easier.
I have a short evening routine and a long evening routine. It all just depends how much time I have in the evening or how long the day has been.
The most important thing I try to remember to do each night is something that I really love. Sometimes it's coloring, sometimes it's writing, anything that brings me joy. It'll be different for you, but just make sure you do something you really, truly enjoy.
Do you already have an evening routine? I'd love to hear what you do to settle in for the night and get ready for the next morning!
14 Day Self-Care Challenge
Over the next 2 weeks, I'll be walking you through all the different dimensions of self-care and helping you make time for you.