If you had said the word ‘routine’ to me 5 years ago I would have shudder. To me it was a dirty word, synonymous with relationships lacking pizzazz, things that one is forced to do and a slow descent into being one’s parents (or grandparents). Fast forward a few years, with life being so fast paced and full of commitments, and routine seems like luxury. Which is why one of the major things I’ve been focusing on in the last few months is creating small day to day routines that I can apply regardless of where I am. Things to help relax and ground me. Last year it was all about morning routines – small changes to the day that are incremental and barely noticeable until you realise you’re so much happier than you used to be. This year it’s my nights that are getting the focus, nights that are in themselves enjoyable, and also lead to days that are productive and not a chore. Read on for more about eating your own routine.
Six Steps to Create Your Nightly Routine
1. Leave work at work
In a perfect world, we’d all leave work at 5.30 and get to spend a good 5 hours enjoying our evenings. Props to those who are lucky enough to experience that. Those of us who don’t need to a) look at ways to give ourselves more hours in the evening (not including sleeping less!) and b) learn to leave work at work. Regardless of when you get to leave, blurring the line between work and relaxation is a surefire way to up your stress and anxiety. When your travelling for work, try to create blocks of time when you have to work, and blocks of time in the evening where it’s all you.
2. Make a to do list
A great way to leave work behind is to write a list before you leave the office, whether that office is at home or elsewhere. Even if it means giving an extra half hour to your work time, mentally filing things to do the following day will clear your brain.
3. Power Down
Ok you’re probably sick of hearing about my 8pm – 8am phone ban but let me say it one more time – you need to unglue your phone from your hand over night. Can’t sleep? It’s because you’ve been plugged in to the grid staring at a screen all day and night. Without knowing it, you’re pumping adrenaline into your brain when you’re scrolling through insta or pinterest, which in turn can often create mild anxiety and completely ruin your night. Set an alarm and put your phone on airplane mode. You’ll be so happy you did!
4. Eat earlier
This is a hard one for me, but optimally you’d eat at 6pm and have lots of time to digest your food and enjoy your evening before you hop into bed. Eating early is also great because it’s a nice line in the sand between emails and relaxing. That’s the dream kids, and if there’s any way you can make it happen then do. If not, focus on eating lightly before bed, have you ever tried to relax with a 1kg steak in your tummy? Not easy.
5. Get some headspace
Omg guys, a while ago I chatted about learning to meditate, and this year I’ve been stepping it up. It seriously makes such a difference! I recently really got into the Headspace app and love to use it later in the evening. Try out their 10 day trial for nothing (fyi this isn’t a sponsored post, I pay to use the app and love it!). Whether it’s meditation, yoga, stretching or a walk with friends after work, giving your brain some space will aid in relaxation and help you really enjoy your night.
6. Spend time in bed
Ok, duh you’re thinking right? But hear me out. Most of us just jump into bed late and and hit the light, orrrrrr scroll on our screens for a few hours. But what has really aided in a really enjoyable nightly routine for me is an hour or so spent in bed, just chilling, drinking tea, reading a book and really taking it easy. In that way my bed has become a nightly sanctuary rather than all about forcing myself to sleep.
Do you have any nightly routines that you love? Here’s to better nights in 2016!