About a year ago, I decided to make the most of my mornings and finally start an early morning wake-up habit. It’s a habit I had wanted to start for years (back to high school!), but my night owl tendencies made it hard.
I soon realized that one of the keys to getting up early was having an intentional evening. Because staying up late was natural to me, I needed to be intentional about how I spent my time to actually get to bed at a decent time. How I spend my evenings varies from day to day, but there are a few habits I have created. I enjoy having both productive and relaxing time each evening.
If you want to add evening habits as you wind down each evening, here are 10 habits to add to your evening routine.
Review tomorrow’s schedule. Take just a few minutes to look over the activities, appointments, to-dos, chores, meals, and other plans you have for tomorrow. Getting a snapshot of what tomorrow looks like can help you decide what you need to prep for in the evening to make tomorrow morning less rushed and stressed.
I take my planning for tomorrow one step further. I create a short to-do list of three or so items I want to get done first thing in the morning. Create a short to-do list or schedule of the first hour of tomorrow. Be specific. Be realistic. It can be helpful to separate the essential to-dos with the non-essential to-dos.
Now that I have started waking up before my daughters, I have time to myself in the morning. Instead of wasting the time away, I have a specific list for the morning. When I wake up, I get started without having to think about it. This helps me to be focused during the hour or so that I have to myself. This is key when trying to get at least some blog work done each day. (Have you considered starting a blog? Get a step-by-step guide here.)
Something to Prep…
Are you leaving the house tomorrow? Why can it be so hectic? (Our transition to the first kiddo in school this fall may be rough!) Doing a few minutes of prep at night helps keep morning stress down. Set out your clothes. Make your lunch. Program your coffee maker. (Wake up to your Bulletproof Coffee!) Make sure your children are also prepared. Your mind will be more at ease when going to bed, knowing that you already took care of a bit of your morning stress.
Spend 10-15 minutes doing a quick clean or pick-up. Over the long-run, this pickup will keep your house much cleaner and less cluttered. The small daily pickups help so much! I typically focus on making sure my kitchen is picked up as I do not like waking to a dirty, cluttered kitchen. I need to work on this in other areas of my home.
I enjoy having a snack in the evening. The key is to find a small snack I enjoy and not fill my evening with mindless snacking! Dark chocolate is often my treat of choice on a good night. Multiple bowls of cereal are my choice on a not-so-good evening. I leave plenty of room for splurges in my diet, but know that I don’t wake up feeling great if I eat too much in the evening.
Do you need one more evening habit for your health? Floss. :)
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Something to Connect…
Take the time to connect with your spouse. I wish my husband and I could go on a walk every night, but that doesn’t work when the kids are sleeping. Chat on the couch, play a game, or find a show that you both enjoy. I know some couples wait until the kids are in bed to make dinner and enjoy it with just the two of them. (I personally wouldn’t want a second dinner mess and clean-up!) It’s important to make sure that the children don’t take front and center of every single thing in the home-life! Make sure that your spouse is also a priority. The evening time is the perfect time to connect with your spouse without children interrupting.
Something to Ignore…
In my quest to get to bed at a decent time, I realized I needed to lessen the mindless time wasters. It is easy to get sucked into social media and then wonder where the time went. A portion of my last hour would include sitting on the couch with my phone. Stalling. Staying up late for no good reason.
Once I decided to be more intentional about my evening, I cut down on this. On the nights I ignore scrolling through my phone, I do not miss the time. Not one bit.
Some evenings I am good about this, but other evenings I still waste time and then get frustrated that I spent too much time mindlessly perusing social media and the internet. I recently took the Make Over Your Evenings eCourse and the course helped me think more about this time and gave me ideas for how to eliminate time-waster.
Spend a portion of the last 30-60 minutes doing something relaxing. This is a wonderful time to sit down with a book or magazine and a cup of tea. Read your evening devotion. A warm bath or yoga are also good options. Know what refreshes and recharges you and make time to do it each evening.
As little as six minutes of reading can reduce your stress levels. I also find that I fall asleep MUCH easier if I read just before going to bed.
Something Encouraging and Uplifting…
Spending time in God’s Word and prayer is a wonderful way to end the day. While I typically read my devotion in the morning, I often pray right before I got to bed. Or as I’m falling asleep. You can also consider starting a gratitude journal.
Get off the computer and phone at least an hour before going to bed. The blue light emitted from your smartphone disrupts the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin. When I am up late on my computer or phone, I have more trouble falling asleep. This is the case even when tired. It’s a combination of the blue light and the level of mental engagement.
Do you have an evening routine?
What evening rituals help you end your day?
If you want to go more in depth with creating both a morning and evening routine, check out my eBook: Your Morning Manual: A Guide & Workbook for Resetting & Maximizing Your Mornings.
This step-by-step guide will help you:
- Visualize your ideal morning
- Decide your morning priorities
- Plan your morning routine
- Create a morning schedule
- Make the most of your evening time
- Decide on an accountability plan
- Motivate you to use your mornings best to achieve the entire day that is your ultimate goal!
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