For many of us, coming home means kicking off our shoes, throwing our bag and jacket somewhere between the door and the couch, and vegging out until bed. Evening rituals for a more stress-free night are all too often one of those far off, hypothetical, "only for people in movies and magazines" kind of thing.
However, I've always found that making sure I do a few simple things when I come home from work can make a huge impact on how I feel at the end of each day. I find that evening rituals can help us de-stress, let go of worries from the day, and even help prepare us for the challenges of tomorrow. I'd also say that a solid evening routine is just as important to our quality of life as a good morning one — and usually the two are super connected.
There's a lot of advice and opinions out there on what an "evening ritual" should entail, and I honestly find a lot of it pretty unrealistic in our modern lives (I just can't commit to disconnecting from my phone for a full hour before bed or guaranteeing that I will always brush my teeth and wash my face at a specific time every single day. Sue me!)
However, there are a few solid tips out there that are not only helpful, but realistic and achievable — and I think that's truly the most important thing when implementing routines that will improve our overall quality of life. Here are the top eleven evening time tips I've found.
1. Put Your Keys In A "Landing Pad"
In a piece for QuickandDirty.com, productivity coach Steven Robbins recommended creating a place where you always put your phone and keys when walking in the door, every single time. "Create a place for your most important things, like your wallet and keys. Use a test run. Walk into your house carrying your things, and look for a place you’ll be able to put them every single time you get home," Robbins said. This way you will never waste another minute of your life looking for your basics.
2. Clear The Sink Before Bed
A compilation piece for Cozi.com recommended forcing yourself to complete a single cleaning ritual every single day before bed. My personal recommendation is to focus in on an area of your house where clutter stresses you the most, like dirty dishes in the sink or clothes on the floor of your room. Make it a habit to do this one thing every single day.
3. Sanitize Your Phone
I've written about it multiple times before — according to a study featured in ABC News, our phones are one of the most germ-ridden things we own. They harbor over tens of thousands of germs, which can include staph and meningitis, and can also cause breakouts on our faces. Try to wipe yours down with a disinfectant wipe as soon as you get home or right before bed.
4. Review Your Schedule For The Next Day
In a piece for Forbes, David Shindler, founder of The Employability Hub and author of Learning to Leap said to sit down and review the next day's schedule once you've taken a few moments for yourself. “Think about one thing you are most looking forward to tomorrow. It will help you leave behind what’s happened today, enrich your current mood and help to put a full stop to your working day," he wrote.
5. Create A To-Do List For The Next Morning
This one is a personal tip that leap frogs off the last point. Once you've reviewed your schedule, make a To Do list for the following day. I find that once I've written everything down and created a plan of action, I'm not kept up thinking about all the things I need to get done the next day.
6. Choose Tomorrow's Outfit
In a piece for Open Forum, president and founder of Clarion Enterprises Bruna Martinuzzi suggested picking out your outfit for the next day the evening before. "Chances are, you may have done this when you were younger but you let the routine slip," she wrote. "Establish it again as a nonnegotiable ritual, and see the difference this small adjustment makes in your day. Remember, the simplest things in life ground us."
7. Reflect On Your Day
Shindler noted to take some time to reflect on the day. If something bothered you, ask yourself why, and then ask yourself if it's really worth stressing about. Think about things you achieved and things you'd like to achieve tomorrow — even if you only take a couple minutes to do this after creating your To Do list.
8. Write Down Three Good Things That Happened To You
In that same Forbes piece, career expert Michael Kerr said to write down three good things that happened to you that day. “Happiness researchers suggest that writing down three positive things that happened during our day is one of the most effective ways to boost long term happiness levels,” he said. “It’s not enough to simply reflect, you need to put them down on paper. The end of the work day is a perfect time to do this.”
8. Resist Checking Work Email If Possible
Martinuzzi stressed the importance of creating after-work boundaries for yourself, one of which being to mentally check out of work and resist the urge to check work e-mails. Odds are there won't be anything you can do to address them until the next day anyway, and it will just stress you out.
9. Have A Decompression Ritual
In a piece for Psychology Today, psychologist Steven Stosny noted the importance of having a decompression ritual that you do every day to transition from work to home. After you've checked tomorrow's schedule, reflected on your day, and created a To Do list, go for a walk, watch your favorite TV show, or hit the gym — whatever allows you to clear your head of the day.
10. Disconnect From Social Media
I know this one is incredibly difficult for many of us (myself included). It can just be so tempting to lie in bed and scroll through our Facebook or Twitter feeds — which ultimately keeps us up later and later. The happy medium I've come up with for myself is to ban my phone once I actually get into bed and only allow myself to read or journal. Focusing on one, peaceful task relaxes me so much more than the influx of information from my phone.
11. Do At Least One Thing You Enjoy
And finally, in a piece for Entrepreneur, CEO Jayson Demers noted the importance of always doing at least one thing you enjoy when you get home. Even if you have a pile of laundry to do, or have to take some work home with you, we never want to lose site of why we're working so hard to begin with — to have a little enjoyment! So don't feel guilty about turning on that episode of House Hunters or grabbing a drink with a friend.
Incorporating a few super simple practices into your evening routine can make a huge difference to your overall efficiency and level of zen. You'll likely be shocked at how big a difference a few small steps can make!
Images: Pexels (12)