Routines are fabulous for many reasons. They can keep your mind decluttered by providing structure and prevent you from becoming overwhelmed by having to deal with too many decision – also called decision fatigue.
Having steady routines in place is anything but restrictive. In fact, they can save you loads of time and energy to live out your creativity and increase your productivity.
While morning routines seem to get a lot of attention, it's usually a bit quieter around the evening equivalent. But with the right techniques at the end of the day, you can already set yourself up for tomorrow's success and improve your overall life quality.
Our Best Evening Routines
The following 10 tips can help you to unwind, find peace at night and wake up energized and refreshed!
1. Review your day
If there are still some nagging thoughts or troubles that bother you, this is the time to let go of them. Jot down your thoughts and any incomplete tasks, so your restless mind can calm down. Journaling can be a great way to review your day and give you closure.
This is what many highly successful people have in common: They focus on the positive. Take a moment to reflect on your day. What do you have achieved today? And what can you be grateful for? You can go as far as keeping a gratitude journal where you write down at least 3 things you are thankful for that day. This not only draws more happiness into your life but also has the power to improve your physical health and self-esteem.
3. Make a to-do list for tomorrow
Make a to-do list with the most important tasks for the next day. That way, you clear your mind and lay down all those little troubles and concerns so that you can sleep much more comfortably. Additionally, you will also be able to start your next day more efficiently and productive because you know exactly what you need to do.
4. Reading for relaxation
Immersing yourself in a book is a great way to relax. According to a 2009 study of the University of Sussex, reading for just 6 minutes can reduce stress levels by 68 per cent. It drastically slows down the heart rate and eases muscle tension. So start reading some fantasy or fiction books or whatever you're most interested in, just make sure it's nothing work-related.
5. Set an alarm to go to bed
Yes, that's right. Set an alarm to actually remind yourself of going to sleep. Having an early bedtime and getting a good dose of sleep in has a host of benefits such as increased energy, mental clarity as well as having a fresher and more youthful appearance.
While there's no one fits all time, I found that reminding myself at 9 to calm down and going to bed at 10 works quite well for me. Try not to fall asleep after midnight and aim for at least 7.5 hours of sleep to support your body's recovery processes.
6. Shut down the electronics
Turn off all backlit devices – The blue light of smartphones or computer screens suppresses melatonin secretion and throws of you circadian rhythm. Staring at bright screens raises your alertness and makes it tougher to fall asleep. Also, switch off Wi-Fi to cut down on electro-smog as much as possible.
7. Unwind by doing the things you love
This is the time to calm down and reward yourself for the day, so find a practice that really relaxes you. It could be something like a quick session of yoga followed by some deep breathing, a meditation or just a cozy time with your loved one. Find something that soothes you and lets you get rid of any tension quickly.
8. Don't eat late
Try not to consume any food 2-3 hours prior to bedtime. Your body doesn't process and store glucose as efficiently in the evening compared to earlier times of the day. Aim to get the majority of your calories from your breakfast and lunch and only have a light meal for dinner.
9. Prepare for the next day
Plan ahead for tomorrow by laying out your clothes and shoes and preparing healthy snacks for the upcoming day. This will minimize resistance and save you energy on the next day to get you going much more easily.
You may also want to put a bottle of water with around 20 ounces of liquid beside your bed to remind yourself of rehydrating first thing in the morning to flush out toxins and keep your lymph system balanced.
Take a few minutes to do the dishes and roughly tidy the kitchen, bedroom, and living area. Waking up in a cluttered environment will make your stress levels rise before the day has properly started. Also, set up your bedroom for ideal sleeping conditions: You want your room to be cool, dark, and quiet (blackout curtains might help).
Now it's on you
I can't stress enough how important it is to go to sleep with a clear mind and not dwell on all kinds of bothering thoughts. Everyone is unique, so try out the tips and routines that are most appealing to you and go from there.
Let us know in the comments below what your evening time usually looks like and how you think it could be improved! Have any of our tips inspired you to change things up?
Lars is the guy for all things technical of this site but likes to write the occasional article, too. He has a degree in computer science and media and has been vegan since 2010. He loves nourishing plant-based food, playing tennis, and making noises with his guitar sometimes. Oh, and he's got a weird obsession with peanuts & coconuts.