Since the lockdown, I’ve been trying to encourage my day into some kind of order. Normality is grounding. If I was going to make something of this time at home, establishing some new routines, like this relaxing night routine, would be my start point.
I mentioned it in my benefits of setting a daily intention blog, but my routines as of recent have been all over the place. I’ve been trying to establish new habits and new hobbies, switch up my priorities and start being a lot more conscious with my time and actions. So I’m creating this new routine to keep those things in check. I’ve already done a blog about creating a morning routine so you can check that one out too.
“I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.” – Sarah Williams
Why do you need a relaxing night routine?
First off, let’s talk about why you even need a night routine. Can’t you just do what you want? Of course. Your night should go however you want, but incorporating some habits and thinking about your ideal night can help you to make the most of your time.
If I don’t think about my night routine, I know I’ll either spend it working or sitting on my phone as the hours tick by. But with a routine, I know in advance what I’d like to get on with so it makes it easier to avoid falling into social media induced wormholes. Here’s a couple of the other benefits.
Spend time on your hobbies
I recently realised I’m not very good at taking time to relax. I’m not much of a hobby person – outside of social events, exercise and my job (which, of course, is my hobby too). So I’m trying to put a lot of energy into my hobbies and finding new ones too. Especially since the lockdown, it’s so important to do things just for fun to keep your spirits up and feel accomplished.
Prepare for the next day
Your night routine, really, is an extension of your morning routine. And by preparing the night before, you’ll be ready to go in the morning with the least amount of stress. You’ll sleep better, knowing everything’s in order and wake up happier, knowing what you have to look forward to.
Find more time for relaxation
Most of us have been through the cycle: overwork, exhaustion, overwork to make up for exhaustion and back round again. I went through a cycle of overworking throughout the week and then being exhausted through the weekends. And it left me feeling unproductive, unaccomplished and seriously lacking in fun. Finding regular pockets of relaxation in your evening will help you keep calm and refreshed throughout the week.
Say goodbye to waiting-for-the-weekend syndrome
Your evenings add up to a substantial amount of time throughout the week, and whilst they are good to reserve for relaxation, they’re great opportunities to get out and do something too! Obviously, our options are fairly limited right now, but arranging social events (over the phone!) can be really refreshing and leave you feeling energised.
Improve your sleep
Once you’ve properly allowed yourself to wind down and also completely tired yourself out, I guarantee you’ll be sleeping better. Making relaxation and reflection part of your routine will help you round up the day and drift off to sleep with a clear head.
How to create the perfect relaxing night routine
Convert to nighttime
First and foremost, it’s important to separate your day from night. Especially right now, as we’re all caught in our homes all day long, it can be difficult to tell night from day and to switch off from work.
I find packing up my work things and changing into comfy clothes is enough to tell day from night. If you work at home like I do, going for a walk or doing some exercise can be a great way to transition too. Having some way to let your brain know it can enter relaxation mode will allow you to slip more effortlessly into your routine, leaving any stress or worry from the day behind.
Move your body
I like to do my exercise in the evening. You might prefer to workout in the morning, it’s all down to personal preference. But doing something active with your body is a great way to boost your energy levels when they begin to feel as though they’re falling.
The grand highlight: dinner
Of course, the centre of any night routine – dinner. Some of you will love cooking (I know I do!), but even the most avid chefs can be a little uninspired by the end of the day. So, if you’re not always up for cooking a full meal, there’s a few tricks you can do to make sure you get something nutritious in your belly:
It can be difficult at the end of a long day, to resist reaching for the bread and that tantalising jar of peanut butter – but after a long day you need a good meal to regain the energy you’ve used up. Meal prepping can remove this pain. By meal prepping once or twice a week, you can prepare all your meals in advance, so you always have something nutritious just one microwave ping away.
Try switching up your food routine
There’s no golden rule that lays out what you should eat when. So experiment with what suits your body. Over the years, I’ve found that having my big meal at lunchtime suits me better than having it for dinner. I find it gives me more energy for when I work out in the evening and I feel more comfortable relaxing and sleeping in the evening after a lighter meal. Try switching your routine up and find what works for you.
Make time for the essentials
Obviously, you need to get the essentials done. Everything from brushing your teeth to walking the dog. Allowing yourself enough time to get all these things done without sacrificing your relaxation time or pushing your bedtime back, will allow you to sleep peacefully, knowing you got everything done and enjoyed it.
Prep for the following day
I spoke about this in my recent blog about how to wake up early. Preparing for your morning the night before will 1) help you sleep easier with less on your mind, 2) have a smoother, more relaxed morning routine and 3) help you to make more slow, conscious decisions.
This can be anything to help prep your morning – putting your coffee cup out, making your breakfast in advance, packing your bag, choosing an outfit. Minimising the amount of decisions you need to make will help to shoo any potential stress or decision fatigue from your morning. And there’s no feeling quite like waking up and already being one step ahead.
Do something fun
This is a big one to remember and one I always forget! Have fun. This is your free time! Like I said before, I’ve been trying to work on my hobbies, so I make space in my evening to concentrate on whichever hobby I’m in the mood for. It’s relaxing, fun and a great way to wind down and invest in yourself after a long day.
Shut off your screens
There’s so many articles discussing the benefits of turning off your screens before bed. I turn my screens off an hour before bed. I play music through voice controls and spend the final hour before sleep journalling, stretching and getting ready for bed. It’s surprising how peaceful spending an hour without them can feel.
A habit I’ve somewhat fallen off of is reading before bed, which is meant to be really beneficial for your cognitive function and sleep quality. So, find some screen-less habits and take time away from your screens before bed.
Journal, meditate and stretch: the wellness holy trinity
As I mentioned, I like to take the last hour before I sleep screenless. And I spend this time journaling, meditating and stretching after I get ready for bed. They’re probably my favourite part of this relaxing night routine. The combination of these three habits help me to reflect on my day, record and digest my feelings and thoughts, and connect with myself and my body.
These habits might not be the right fit for you, but I’d really recommend finding some wellness inspired habits. We can build up so many subconscious feelings, thoughts and emotions throughout the day, that we have little time or space to deal with. And these are the feelings that will often leave us tossing and turning overnight, waking up feeling motivation-less, groggy and irritable.
So, giving them some time and attention on a regular basis will help you to stay connected to your mind and your body and process everything before they pile up.
And of course, we round off with bedtime. Hopefully, if you’ve ticked off everything on this list, you’re feeling ready to head to bed and excited to wake up in the morning. Heading to bed with a positive outlook for the day coming can really beneficial – thinking is powerful stuff.
The final thing I like to do before I head to sleep is to set an intention for the following day. Not only will this help you get excited for tomorrow, but thinking about it tonight will reinforce the idea in your mind before the day’s even started. Imagining your day as you drift off, you can begin to lace your intention and theme throughout your day, increasing your chances of manifesting and owning it tomorrow.
I hope these tips have helped you to plan out a healthy, relaxing night routine. I have a similar guide for morning routines, so make sure to check that out too!
Wishing a million happy, relaxing nights to you. Love Ella-Rose x