I recently wrote about the impact that a morning routine habit can have on setting the tone for the entire day ahead. Starting your day off on the right foot can put in you in an optimistic frame of mind that can ensure you will be happier and more productive all day! The truth is, a good morning really starts the night before.
The way you end your day will help to establish the way you begin the next. A regular evening ritual habit can also help you get a better night’s rest, and a is self-care practice for relaxation and reset in preparation for tomorrow.
An evening ritual is a collection of interrelated habits that are intended to help you wind down, soothe away the stresses of the day, and promote a relaxed state as you settle down for going to sleep. Here are several strategies that you can utilize as you design your own evening ritual:
Prepare for tomorrow
Do those last minute morning tasks the evening before to avoid the frantic morning dash out the door. Start packing your lunch (or your kid’s lunch) during the evening, or other items you know you will need to have with you the next day. Or why not pick out what you’re going to wear the next day, ensuring that all items are clean and ironed.
So you are greeted by a clean house in the morning, spend a few minutes clearing away the clutter around your home. Make sure the kitchen counters are cleared off and that dishes aren’t left in the sink. Pick up toys or shoes off the floor and put them in their proper place, and ensure that all unfinished laundry is folded and put away.
Create your to-do list
Check your calendar and make a list of the tasks you need to complete the next day. Having your must-do tasks written down in black and white gives your mind a break from worrying about tomorrow.
Social media cut-off
Establish a social media cut-off time each evening at least two hours before you go to bed, making sure you have checked your emails and social media accounts by your cut-off time, and then turn off or silence your devices and don’t look at them again until the morning. Limiting screen time before bed can also help to preserve your circadian rhythm and the production of melatonin, a key hormone for sleep regulation.
Some light stretching at the close of the day can help to ease away tension and put you into a more restful state. A short yoga practice, with it’s gentle twists, relaxing stretches, and deep breaths, can help you wind down and fall asleep faster, no matter how frazzled you're feeling!
A light snack
Having a light, carbohydrate-rich snack before lights-out can actually help induce sleep, while going to bed hungry is likely to prevent you from falling asleep and wake you up in the night. A light snack of about 200 calories is substantial enough to keep hunger pangs at bay throughout the night, but not so heavy that it will disrupt your sleep.
Taking a hot bath or shower before going to bed can be extremely relaxing, soothing away aching joints and muscles. To seriously maximize it’s calming effects, try adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to the water!
Keep a gratitude journal
Take a few minutes at the end of the day to list all the things and people in your life you are grateful for. By making this a regular practice, you'll find that reflecting on your day, and paying attention to all the things that were good about it, will do wonders for boosting your happiness levels, especially when you’ve had a horrible day! You’ll be amazed at the power of gratitude for turning a bad mood upside down and for making you a kinder, more compassionate person!
Read yourself to sleep
If you are a parent, I’m sure you are already well acquainted the fact that there is nothing like reading a bedtime story to your kids for inducing sleep! Reading works similarly amongst adults too! Give yourself at least 30 minutes each evening to settle down with a good book to help you disconnect from the concerns of the day as you head off into the fictional world of your choice!
Now it’s time for you to create your own evening ritual. My advice is to find what works for you and is going to help you get the best out of each day and feel fulfilled. To make your evening ritual a habit, commit to doing it consistently for 30 days. In time, I am sure it will become second nature and be something you look forward to every day!