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After noticing myself feeling more stressed and overwhelmed lately, I’ve been trying to spend more time lately focusing on rest. While there are many ways to find more rest in our days and in our lives, one thing I’ve found over the years to be most supportive to my rest and especially my sleep is having a consistent and supportive evening routine. I like to check back in with my evening routine from time to time and make some tweaks to ensure it’s supporting my current season of life.
Even if you have created an evening routine for yourself, we all have times when we need to veer from that routine for a night or two. But often before we even realize it, we have completely left that evening routine in the dust, only to wake up one morning and realize how exhausted and out of sorts we feel. Let this be your reminder to check in with your evening routine; to ask yourself if your current routine is supporting you; and explore what changes may best support you through this season.
I want to share my evening routine with you. This doesn’t mean my routine is the *best* by any means, but maybe it will inspire you to create one, try on a new idea, or even just check in with yours and see where it’s working (or not).
Put on blue blockers
I log off my day job around 3:30 every day and then hit the gym, walk and feed my dog, and by this point it’s usually 5 or 5:30pm. From this point on for the remainder of the evening, I’m wearing my blue blocking glasses. I’ve noticed that wearing these the last few hours of my day really helps me wind down and fall asleep easier.
Have a cup of tea or other warm beverage
To be honest, this isn’t every night, but it’s many (most) nights. I change up what tea or warm beverage mix I use, but it’s a little treat that also helps me relax.
No work after 8pm + limit screen time on phone
To be honest, this is a hard one for me. As someone building her own business outside of her normal day job, it’s easy to let all of the other work spill over into my whole evening. Some days I’m better with this than others but the intention is there to stop all work by 8pm (trying to make this 7pm) so I can just relax, watch tv, read a book, or do something enjoyable and non-work related to end my evening. I also utilize the screen time restrictions on my phone to at least (mostly) stay off social media during this time too.
Wash face & brush teeth
I let the dog out one final time and we head upstairs, where I wash my face and brush my teeth. Even when I really don’t want to, I still wash my face. I like to think my future self will thank me for this one day.
Tuck in dog
I always ask Poncho if he wants to be tucked in and if he’s not already, he walks over and lays down in his bed. I spend a few minutes petting him and telling him I love him (and that he has to live forever). Fun fact, this little part of our routine is one way I was able to get him to sleep in his own bed every night after adopting him. He was used to getting to sleep in the bed with his foster family, but as long as he was in my bed, I wasn’t sleeping so we had to correct that quickly.
Journal and read a book
Then I climb into my bed, spend a few minutes journaling, and read a book. I’m still wearing my blue blockers at this point and often will read on my iPad so I can have the lights off. Reading on my iPad may not be suggested by sleep experts, but I find as long as I’m still wearing my blue blockers, it’s still okay. I’m usually only reading for 15-20 minutes before I’m ready to close it up and go to sleep.
Turn out the lights and sleep in my comfy bed
A good, supportive mattress, comfy bedding, and the best pillows are a real game changer. I do think it takes a little trial and error to find what you like best, but it’s worth it. Whether you like an adjustable power base and mattress set, sleeping on your back or on your side, or like a firmer or softer pillow, getting a good night of sleep and waking up feeling rested is key.
Now I’m curious, what does your evening routine look like?