While the self-help world is bubbling over with advice about morning routines, the majority misses what’s even more important: A proper evening routine.
You can only have a productive morning if you sleep well, get a good rest, and wake up refreshed.
An evening routine doesn’t need to take much time, but its impact can be tremendous.
Particularly if your days are busy and full of appointments, taking some time to appreciate yourself in the evening is priceless.
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We all go through stressful times, but an exhausting day can indeed end peacefully.
Over the past years, I learned how switching off my laptop at least an hour before going to bed has a significant impact on my happiness and recovery. If I work until the very last minute before going to bed, I can barely unwind and keep thinking about the work before I fall asleep.
But if I unwind early and take care of myself, I don’t only sleep better but also end up being much more productive in the next morning.
Creating and sticking to an evening routine is not about how much time you have, but rather about how much you appreciate yourself.
If you don’t take care of yourself, nobody will. Every single day, you teach others how to treat you based on how you treat yourself.
Even during our busiest days, it’s possible to take a few minutes and invest them in our wellbeing.
Of course, it’s easier to go to bed and scroll through newsfeeds until you finally fall asleep, but in the long run, this won’t only harm your happiness but also your health.
Here are three simple yet effective practices to end your days with ease and a smile on your face:
Relax Your Body
Light exercises and stretching can have a significant impact on your well-being before going to bed.
While heavy exercising increases your heart rate and makes it harder to fall asleep, relaxing exercises can help you to wind down after a stressful day.
Particularly if the majority of your day consists of sitting in front of a screen and your lifestyle is rather inactive, a few minutes of stretching exercises can have a significant impact.
You can, for instance, choose some simple bedtime exercise videos on YouTube and let them guide you.
My favorite evening routine consists of a few minutes with a foam roller to give myself a massage and fight muscle stiffness.
Besides the benefits of typical stretching exercises, a foam roller helps ease muscle pain and increase flexibility plus blood flow.
As I’m spending the majority of my days in front of a screen, I try to exercise at least three times per week but also do stretching exercises every day. My foam roller helps me to bring some variety into my daily stretching routine.
If you have a few extra minutes, you can also try some breathing exercises. These will help to calm your body and your mind.
If you have an office job and spend most of your days sitting, your body will thank you for releasing muscle tightness at the end of your days.
By giving yourself some gentle stretches before bedtime, you will not only sleep better but also feel more relaxed when waking up.
To build a stretching routine that sticks like glue, add some details that excite you: Create a playlist that helps you calm down and decorate a sacred place to carry out your new routine. My apartment is tiny, so my sacred place is a corner of my bedroom and it’s enough.
Investing in yourself is not about having more but about making the most with what you already have.
You don’t need much to be happy and healthy. Allow yourself to make the most out of your resources.
You can use your favorite candles, essential oils, or some motivational quotes and pictures in that corner. These might help you enjoy your me-time while doing good for your body and mind.
Connect With Yourself
The primary purpose of your evening routine is to calm down, let go of the negativity that might have occurred throughout the day, and to reset your mind.
While everyone might have a different routine that helps him to calm down, a popular activity is reading.
Reading a good book before going to bed helps us to wind down and free our minds. I mostly read non-fiction books, but I choose light, uplifting ones to read before bedtime.
Some of my recommendations to read before bedtime are:
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
- What I Know For Sure by Oprah
- You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero
- You Were Born Rich by Bob Proctor
- And The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
During my reading time, I usually enjoy a cup of calming tea.
While green and black tea are known to contain caffeine and act energizing, some teas help to unwind.
The most common recommendations to drink before going to bed are chamomile, valerian root, lavender, and mint tea.
Besides my cup of tea, I also put some lavender oil in my diffusor and enjoy the relaxing scent while getting ready for sleep.
If you had a stressful day, you might even want to practice a short meditation before starting your evening routine to ensure you let go of the tension and negativity.
Another option is to do a short journaling routine and write down your thoughts, dreams, and affirmations.
During the night, our subconscious mind is busy processing all the information we consumed throughout the day. And what we hear, read, think, and write shortly before going to bed play the most significant role. That’s why journaling and focusing on your goals right before going to bed can have a high impact on your success.
“Your calm mind is the ultimate weapon against your challenges.”
— Bryant McGill
Minimize Screen Usage
As an entrepreneur, I sometimes work late at night. My living room is my office and I barely differentiate between my work and private life.
However, I’m careful about getting rid of screens before bedtime.
By staring at your screen shortly before going to bed, you disturb your sleep hormones, and your body struggles to fall asleep.
Instead of watching TV or scrolling through social media, get rid of your screens and do some easy, relaxing activities.
The artificial blue light emitted by our screens has a negative influence on our sleep patterns. That’s because it harms the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps us to fall asleep with ease and sleep well.
I put my devices on flight mode at least 30 minutes before going to bed and spend this precious time talking to my partner or reading a good book.
If it’s impossible to stop using your devices, at least install a blue light blocker on your screens (e.g., f.lux).
This will turn the blue light emitted by your screen into a red one, which is less harmful to your body and sleep. However, most phones have a “night feature”, which you can turn on without an additional app.
Alternatively, if you really need to be on your screens late at night, you can also purchase a pair of blue light blocking glasses.
Besides avoiding blue light, it’s also beneficial to dim the lights in general.
When we’re exposed to too much bright light, our bodies can’t differentiate between day and night. Thus, falling asleep becomes harder and the quality of our sleep drops.
It’s best to completely darken your room through curtains. If that isn’t possible, grab a pair of sleeping masks. These are cheap and effective, plus, you can take them wherever you go, which makes them a great companion during travels.
I usually use a small floor lamp and some candles before going to bed as it helps me to get into a calm mood and relax.
Engaging with our devices late at night keeps our brains alert and drops the quality of our rest. And even though watching your favorite movie or typing a few messages might not seem like a big deal, it is.
Browsing through the web is keeping your brain active while all you need after a busy day is to disconnect and unwind.
How you end your days ultimately defines how happy and healthy you feel throughout your life.
While we sleep, our subconscious mind processes everything that happened during the day, but it heavily focuses on the last things we did and thought before going to bed.
A proper evening routine can set the tone for a successful day and help you to stay calm, productive, and effective.
If you spend your evenings stressed out, you’ll take that negative energy to bed and won’t be able to fully recover during the night.
If you, however, let go of all the tension and enjoy some calm moments, you can ensure to get a good night’s sleep and wake up well-rested.
- Before getting into bed, give yourself a gentle massage with a foam roller or do some stretching exercises to fight tension and stiffness in your body.
- In addition to relaxing your body, also calm your mind and connect with yourself through simple, relaxing activities such as reading, meditation, or journaling.
- Whenever possible, avoid screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Experts even recommend avoiding artificial light through screens 90 minutes before bedtime.
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