How to Create Your Ideal Evening Routine
Building and sticking to your ideal evening routine might take some trial and error. Here are five tips to help.
Work doesn’t have to be your whole life. In fact, setting boundaries is crucial for having a healthy, balanced life. There are a few ways you can get some distance from work at the end of your day.
Set a time to stop working, put your work things out of sight, turn off work notifications, and try your best to stay disconnected from work for the rest of the evening.
Finding balance is harder now for many people. Many of the things that might have helped you maintain balance aren’t possible, like having the kids away during the day, having a commute or office to work at, or having a structured routine. This means that you may have to become creative to create boundaries and limits in your routine, in addition to creating some level of accountability to help you stick to it.
If you find yourself struggling to stick to your routine, try setting “appointments” with yourself to help you stay on track.
For example, if you’re working into the late evening with no time to do anything else, ask yourself: what would I like to do after work, if I were to stop working earlier? Make a list, schedule one or two of those things in your calendar, then set reminders to make them easier to apply.
Keep in mind that people can always fill out time with work or other responsibilities because they’re usually more structured than "self-care" time, or time you take to care for yourself. If you schedule self-care time and treat it like a part of your routine, you’re more likely to stick to it.
Your evening routine is a great opportunity to practice self-care because it’s an opportunity to check in and see what you need at that moment. If you’ve had a long, busy day, your self-care might be 30-minutes to yourself after dinner. If you’ve spent most of the day alone, your self-care might be giving a friend or family member a call to connect.
An evening routine is usually followed closely by sleep, and sleep hygiene is a big part of a balanced evening routine.
Using your evening routine to help you prepare for sleep and the upcoming day can improve your sleep quality overall. On the other hand, an evening routine can mess up your sleep. Focus on de-stressing and unwinding, avoiding caffeine, and giving yourself a few hours after a large meal or alcoholic drinks before heading to bed.
Developing a routine can take trial and error. Try to be kind to yourself as you navigate current circumstances and learn more about yourself and what works for you.
Reviewed by: Lorena Ruci, PhD, Registered Psychotherapist