HOW TO CREATE A SIMPLE EVENING ROUTINE
An evening routine can help you prepare for tomorrow and wind down ready for the night, no matter what the day has thrown at you! Here are some ideas on how to create a simple evening routine to support you and simplify your life.
THE BENEFITS OF AN EVENING ROUTINE
Do you ever have one of those days when you’re on the go and haven’t had time to catch your breath? Even when we try to manage our time and make life as easy as possible, there are still crazy, chaotic days. Getting to the end of a day like that can be a relief!
Even on normal days, I’m still pleased when I’ve done all my jobs, the kids are in bed and I can enjoy a little time for me.
- Unwind and relax from being on the go all day in both body and mind.
- Calm down and prepare myself physically and mentally for bedtime.
- Spend a few minutes each evening doing some jobs for the morning.
Creating a simple, consistent but flexible evening routine that I follow daily has so many benefits and, together with a simple morning routine, acts as a framework to book-end my day.
HOW TO ESTABLISH A SIMPLE EVENING ROUTINE
Your evening routine doesn’t have to be complicated. It just needs to support you well. In this instance, that could mean:
- Saving you time in the morning by doing some of tomorrow morning’s jobs today
- Re-setting and putting your home to bed like you do yourself!
- Helping calm your body and mind
- Preparing you for sleep to recharge your batteries
Before we look at some simple evening routine ideas, here are some tips to help you establish your own consistent and simple evening routine:
1. Start slowly
Below I’ve given you some ideas to include in your own evening routine. You don’t need to do them all, just choose the ones which you feel will support you best. Pick, say, one or two to try out this week or month. Be consistent and do them (more or less) every evening. When you’re comfortable with these, choose one or two more to implement as well until you’ve created your own supportive evening routine. Rinse and repeat daily!
2. Keep it flexible
A routine that works for you now might not work as well in 6 months or a year. Be flexible to your changing needs and adapt your evening routine to suit your lifestyle. You may have more or less time, more or less things to do and your priorities might change. I’ve found that my evening routine radically changed when my kids became older and more independent. They could do more things for themselves and this freed up more time for myself in the evening. Like other habits and routines, keep them flexible and tweak them so they work best for you right now.
When we’re creating new routines, sometimes it’s helpful to build on little daily habits that we already have in place. Read more about habit-stacking and how to build new habits by taking advantage of old ones in this article from jamesclear.com.
When it comes to your own evening routine, it could be that when you undress ready for bed, you also make it a new habit to choose and lay out your clothes for tomorrow. Getting undressed for bed is a familiar habit for most of us, so layering in a new habit to do just after that will be the trigger for carrying out your new habit of laying out your clothes. Until, of course, laying out your clothes becomes a familiar habit in itself!
4. Create a plan
Make the most of your evening time by having a plan. The plan can be flexible and can be different for the weekdays and the weekends.
Be clear on what you’d like to get done in the evening and perhaps plan it during the day. Don’t waste your precious evening moments wondering what to do! Make a note in your notebook or on the Notes in your phone.
Some elements of your evening routine could be practical, such as a quick clean of the bathroom surfaces. Other parts of your evening routine like reading or taking a bath might be more relaxing and enjoyable.
Whatever you choose to do in your evenings, be clear what you’re doing, why and what benefit it will bring and how long it’s going to take. Really look forward to closing the day with ease and peace.
IDEAS FOR YOUR SIMPLE EVENING ROUTINE
Here are some ideas for your evening routine. Pick and choose what might work best for you and build them up slowly with thought.
I’ve split them out into different sections depending on what you want your evening routine to do for you.
1. Evening routine ideas to make mornings easier
- Make sure the car has fuel in it for the school run or to get to work! This will save stress in the morning when the tank is near empty and you don’t have time to re-fuel.
- Put your keys in their normal ‘home’ when not in use (and check they’re there) so you’re not frantically searching for them in the morning.
- Make/prep all tomorrow’s lunches and keep them in the fridge or freezer to take out first thing in the morning.
- Put out the breakfast cereals and bowls on the table to save time in the morning.
2. Evening routine ideas to reset your home
- Wipe down all the kitchen and bathroom surfaces and do a quick whip round the home putting things back into their correct places.
- Wash the dishes from dinner or load and switch on the dishwasher to finish before bedtime.
- Give the house a quick vacuum or sweep for when you come down in the morning. If the floor looks clean it makes everything else look cleaner!
- Fold and put away any laundry that you’ve washed that day. Try these other simple household routines for some ideas.
3. Evening routine ideas for your self-care and mindset
- Have a shower and wash your hair to save time in the morning.
- Get the coffee machine on standby so it’s ready for the morning when you most need it!
- Lay out your gym stuff if you plan to do a workout when you wake up.
- Charge your toothbrush overnight so it’s ready for you in the morning.
- Plan to factor in a bit of ‘you time’ – even if it’s not very long – so that you can do something for yourself like read a chapter of your book, listen to a podcast, go for a walk.
- Make sure your bedside table only has the things on it that you need for the night.
- Write down in your diary five things that you are grateful for that day.
- Keep a notebook by your bed so that if you remember something during the night then you can write it down instead of forgetting it by morning.
- Reflect on your day and what went well and not so well. What can you learn for tomorrow?
- Relax before bed with a bath, read a book, light a candle. Read this article from the Sleep Foundation on tips for healthy sleeping.
4. Evening routine ideas to help you plan and organise
- Make sure your alarm is set. Use an alarm clock if you don’t want to use your phone and not be tempted to check emails or scroll social media!
- Write a To Do list for the things you need to do tomorrow. Keep it simple and strategic and focus on the 1 or 2 priorities that you really must get done.
- Lay out clothes for you and your children to put on tomorrow. Declutter your clothes so it’s easier to choose.
- Take a look at your schedule for tomorrow and note any appointments or activities. Do you need to get anything together in preparation for these?
5. Evening routine ideas if you have children
- Check through school bags for any letters/permission slips. Fill them out and put them safely back in the bags.
- Make sure the school bags are completely ready for the morning including swimming and PE kits etc as necessary.
- Lay out school uniform or get your children to do this if they’re old enough.
- Get the kids to tidy up their bedroom and put their toys away.
- Bath the kids, make sure their teeth are brushed, read them a story and anything else that is an important part of the evening routine for you and your kids.
OTHER HEALTHY HABITS FOR YOUR EVENING ROUTINE
Lastly, I wanted to share some more ideas for your evening routine specifically to help you wind down, calm your mind and rest your body to prepare for a good night’s sleep. They include:
- Avoiding watching TV and devices with screens
- Drink water to stay hydrated overnight
- Remove make-up, brush your teeth, cleanse and moisturise your skin if needed
- Avoid caffeine which keeps you awake
- Meditate, try bedtime yoga or listen to relaxing music
- Make sure the temperature in your bedroom isn’t too hot or too cold
- Try to maintain a healthy work-life balance and avoid too many late night’s of working
- Plan your meals and try to eat healthily and avoid heavy meals right before bedtime
- Go to bed at roughly the same time every night and get your required number of hours sleep so you can function well during the day!
- Remove clutter from your bedroom so it’s not visually distracting
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS!
These are just some ideas for what to include in your evening routine. It will look different for everyone so pick and choose what supports you the most. Do you have an evening routine at the moment? If so, what does it include and has it changed over the years? Let me know in the comments if there’s anything else you do as part of your own evening routine that I haven’t mentioned which you find helps. I’d love to hear from you!
HELPFUL RESOURCES FOR CREATING HABITS AND ROUTINES TO SIMPLIFY YOUR LIFE
Here are some more links to resources and articles to help simplify your life and be more organised and productive.
- Simple daily habits to make life easier
- How to create a simple morning routine
- Self-care habits for your daily routine
- 20 ways to simplify your life – ideas to create ease with less stress
- 15 ways to be more productive – how to get more (of the right things done) in less time
MORNING ROUTINE PLANNER
Many of the ideas we’ve talked about in this article for your evening routine are designed to help your morning routine be easier and less stressful.
If you’d like some more help and support with this then you might like to check out my Morning Routine Planner. It’s a guided workbook to help walk you through your mornings (and evenings) and set yourself up for success – the simple and strategic way!
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