I always find myself lying in bed at night thinking about the next day, telling myself I’ll have the most productive day ever. I tell myself I’ll workout, I’ll journal, I’ll do a long yoga session, but most of the time I don’t end up having the morning I imagined. I find it so hard to feel refreshed when waking up, I never feel like I’ve properly slept and when the 7am alarm I set the night before goes off, I find it too easy to click snooze and roll back over. I’ve got to the point where I’m sick of this. I constantly wish I got up earlier and enjoyed the morning because once I’m up, my mornings are my favourite part of my day. Over the past few weeks I’ve tried multiple things to try get my up in the mornings; I’ve charged my phone across the room, I’ve tried sleeping with my blind half open so the light wakes me up ( this made my room really cold do not recommend) but I would sometimes feel so groggy I’d just go back to bed. I decided I’d start by changing and creating an evening routine. I have developed a fairly nice morning routine at the moment ( timings differ depending on if I get up with my 8am alarm or my 9am one haha) with a certain order I like to follow for the first few things of the day, and it has made my mornings feel fun and nice, so I decided I could kill two birds with one stone. I’d be setting up myself for the next day by getting a good nights sleep and having a relaxing evening, and I’d be giving myself something to look forward to throughout the day. So over the past week I’ve been trying out this evening routine, that’s not too set on timings, more on the order of the tasks, and it has seemed to be working for me. It was weird trying to create a routine that felt separate from my days, I’m sure anyone else in lockdown will know what I mean when I say the days are bleeding together and I’m not really doing much, or having particularly hectic days. Therefore creating a routine, with relaxing activities that feel different from me being in bed on my laptop all day, was a challenge, but I do think I’ve found a nice balance. I am going to write about what things I’m doing to relax and wind down for bed, and throw in some tips and ideas for if you want to develop the best night routine for you.
Benefits of having a good evening routine
First of all lets quickly talk about the benefits of having a good evening routine, because I’d never really had a proper evening routine before, but I’ve learnt it is actually so nice to have!
- It allows you to sleep quicker. When you starting being consistent with a routine before bed, your brain will start to associate these activities with sleeping and each time you carry it out it will be easier to switch off and go to sleep. I’ve found I’ve started getting sleepier earlier and I am overthinking less before bed.
- Sets you up for having a more productive next day. You won’t spend your whole evening scrolling aimlessly and end up waking up feeling groggy, because when you spend your whole evening on a phone this is what happens!
- develop self love and good habits. A dedicated time for building up your habits and cultivating self care habits. If you have a set time to complete habits every day, such as journaling, you’re way more likely to keep it up than just promising yourself you are going to do it at SOME point within your day. An evening routine can be a great chance to start the journey of learning to love yourself!
My evening routine
My current evening routine usually starts after dinner, so around 7.30. After dinner I’ll start off my evening by getting myself a hot drink, sometimes a coffee or green tea, or a nice herbal drink. I will go upstairs and drink this whilst watching some youtube, my current favourite people to watch being Moya Mawhinney, Nayna Florence, Lucy Moon and Ciara Foster. After maybe 30 minutes or so I’ll take off my makeup and do my skincare- I love this step! Now I’ve got in the habit of my skincare routine, I find it such a refreshing part of the day. I’d like to say I will get changed into comfy clothes/ pjs but let’s be honest, I don’t think I’ve put on jeans in a few months now so I most likely won’t have to get changed at all! It has got to the point where I’m doing my zoom lessons in my dressing gown- does anyone else relate? ( completely going against my online learning tips post but just allow it!)
After this I’ll go downstairs and watch some tv with my family or if not I’ll sit and watch netflix. Around 9ish I’ll always go to the kitchen and make myself a herbal tea ( no caffine or I won’t sleep! Though tbh I’ve never experienced staying awake because of coffee but may as well avoid it just incase) my current favourite one being the Pukka Tumeric Tea! I’ll then go back upstairs and do a little stretch, or a 15 minute evening yoga if I feel like it, but I’m not going to pretend I do this daily. I’ll get into bed and do some reading, maybe 20-30 minutes, I’m currently reading atomic habits, which I spoke about in my 5 non fiction books I’ll be reading this year, which I’m loving. However I do find it harder to read in the evenings when I’m reading a non fiction, I find it doesn’t properly wind me down the way a good novel does. Anyone else? Probably just a personal thing but it’s made me think perhaps I should start reading a fiction at the same time as a non fiction, purely to read in the evening to wind down so I can save my non-fiction for the mornings.
After reading I’ll give my room a quick clean and tidy, especially making sure my desk is empty for if I have a lesson the next morning, I always hate myself in the morning if I don’t. When I get into bed I’ll write for my blog, I’m finding writing so relaxing so I’ll often start writing my posts at night. This probably isn’t the best but it’s working for me! Classic advice like getting off your screens an hour before bed does have truth to it, it can make you feel groggy in the morning like I mentioned at the start if you stay on it, so it isn’t the last thing I’ll do, but writing is abit of a compromise for me.I’ll then head to my notion and write a rough to do list for the next day and make that into a timetable. I don’t timetable my whole day, normally just my morning.
A new addition to my routine that seems odd at first, but I’ve been loving it and would seriously recommend, is listening to podcasts before I sleep. I’ll turn off all my lights and plug in my phone, but I’ll be listening to a podcast. This replaces how I used to watch youtube videos before bed, but to avoid staring at a screen and all the blue light, I’ve transferred to podcasts in the dark. Sounds very odd but it is weirdly relaxing and a good thing to do before I turn it off and go to sleep.
That’s my basic evening routine at the moment! It’s not anything special or particulary unique but I’ve built up a nice routine and even something as simple as this can make your evenings calming and give you something to look forward to.
How to develop your own evening routine
The words ‘evening routine’ sometimes can seem intimidating, a few months ago I still pictured an evening routine as an intense, scheduled routine, with meditiation, yoga, journaling, and no phones past 6. Fair enough if this works for you but, an evening routine doesn’t have to be like that. It can be as simple as having 4 different, non negotiable activities you do every night to signal to your body it’s time to wind down and relax.
So to help you develop an easy, simple night routine I’ve written a list that you can build it from. Just pick one (or more if you want) from each section and try putting them in your evening, start today!
Finishing off your day and winding down: stretch, routine, light workout and shower
Reflecting: journal, write, call a friend
Plan: Plan tasks for tomorrow, to do list dump ( you could use the master to do list, which you can get by subscribing to my email list down below!)
Finale: reading, meditation
So that’s all for today. I hope you liked it and maybe got some inspiration for your own evening routines, and maybe it reframed your view on evening routines. How they aren’t about how many activities you can fit into them, but more about the chance to wind down and experience the comfort of a routine. Download my free worksheet to map out and track your routine for the week whilst you get into it, because you need to work abit harder to develop the routine at first before it becomes a habit.
Do you have any non negotiable evening habits? Thanks for reading!