I focus so much on my morning routine in my life and work. However, having an evening routine is just as important as a morning routine. An evening routine wraps up your day and also sets you up for the next, ensuring a successful morning routine and start to your day.
It’s an important cycle that creates harmony and balance in your life, melding each day together seamlessly from morning to evening and back to morning again.
What to Include in Your Evening Routine
I tend to think of my evening routine starting after dinner. That’s really when I begin to wind down for the night. For me, work is done for the day, so I like to get my home in order, prepare for tomorrow, and relax.
Building out an evening routine will look different for each of us. Here are a few ideas based on what I include in my evening routine. You should include what works for you.
Make Tomorrow’s Breakfast and/or Lunch:
My husband usually takes leftovers to work with him for lunch the next day. So I put that together in a container, make lunch for myself, and maybe breakfast depending on what my schedule is for the next day.
This used to be part of my morning routine, however, I prefer to take care of it at night so I don’t have to use precious minutes in the morning to do it.
Clean and Organize the House:
This starts after dinner and the next day’s meal prep. I clean the kitchen and organize the rest of the house. There usually isn’t much to do, but I might put away laundry or sort through paperwork.
We tend to make piles around the house throughout the day so I take this time to clean those piles up and put things away as necessary.
I love making lists. My mind works much better when I write down things I need to do. Somehow, it clears my head so I don’t have the constant checking in with myself to remember what needs to get done.
Again, this used to be in my morning routine, but there are so many other things that I wanted time for in the morning, so I started making my to-do list for the next day the night before. I also find that I am not laying in bed at night thinking of what I need to do the next day. I know I’ve already got it listed out.
For me, this includes some work, since I make my own schedule and agenda, and some personal to-dos. And once it’s down on paper it’s out of my mind until I start on my list the next day.
To me, this is the most crucial part of my evening routine. I find that I sleep so much better and more restfully when I stretch at night. This started when I needed to focus on stretching my hip flexors due to lower back pain. I soon began to see the benefits of stretching at night and I made it a habit.
Every night my husband and I take about 20 minutes to stretch. Not only does it help with sleep, but it also helps with digestion, flexibility, and mobility. We both have our own stretching routines that we like based on what our bodies need.
And anytime we miss stretching at night, the next morning we say that we can’t ever skip a night again.
Time for Relaxing
This is when we hit the couch and watch a show or movie. I usually knit or crochet during this time because I find it to be so soothing. Or I might read a book if my husband wants to watch something I’m not into.
This time feels so good to just decompress and check out for a bit at the end of the day. Once in a while, I will do a guided meditation through an app like Unplug if I want to internally focus on something. Or I may just sit with my eyes closed and visualize – I’m a daydreamer and have totally embraced what that means and give myself time to daydream as needed.
I like to keep my bedtime at the same time every night. It’s important for your body to have a sleep schedule. I sleep between 7-9 hours per night, aiming for an even 8 hours. Since my alarm is always set for the same time in the morning, that means I have to keep a regular bedtime.
I try not to use my phone or electronics for about 2 hours before going to bed, however, that isn’t always the case. But it’s a good practice to get into so you’re not keeping your mind so engaged and the light isn’t impacting your ability to sleep.
Create Your Own Evening Routine
That’s my routine. Of course, there are nights where none of that routine happens and others when I add more to it. But on an average night in my house, that’s what it looks like.
If I had kids, I imagine there would be an entire routine around their bedtime, cleaning up their toys, or getting ready for the next school day. Maybe checking their school folders for papers to sign or preparing their soccer bag for tomorrow’s game.
A routine helps ensure you get everything you need to do completed. The more you settle into your routine it becomes second nature and something you can rely on and get comfortable in.
It always provides the very necessary time for yourself. When you have others you care for it’s easy to forget to take time for yourself, so if this is you, build in that time. We all need it.
Just like I say for those that are starting a morning routine, take your time with it, add to it incrementally, and let it build over time. I promise it’ll make your nights (and mornings) easier.
Check out my article on How to Create Your Perfect Morning Routine to keep the cycle from morning to evening to morning seamless.