This is a collaborative post.
Few of us are strangers to rushing around and feeling like a chicken without a head. Life can get pretty crazy. And, in our often hectic daily lives, it’s easy to forget to slow down and prioritize our well-being.
But this can eventually catch up with you, and you burn out. Burnout is a clear sign that you’ve reached your limit. It’s your mind screaming at you that it’s had enough of this never-ending rollercoaster ride and the best thing you could do is listen to it.
What you need is a relaxing evening routine centred on self-care. We know that right now, you feel that you don’t have time for that, but even subtle changes can have a big impact. Step by step, you’ll be on your way to restoring peace and calm into your life.
And don’t forget that good mornings start the evening before. Finding the right evening routine that allows you to destress and get a good night’s sleep will allow you to wake up the next day with a positive attitude and feeling like you’re ready to handle your to-do list.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on yoga retreats or spa packages, but you do need to understand that your evening and morning routines are just as important in helping you have a better day and – dare we say it – a better life.
Leave Work at Work
Make a commitment to yourself that you will stop working at a certain hour. This is particularly useful if you work from home and you can’t literally leave work at work. There’s a big difference between working from home and living at work.
Of course, you’ll want to choose a reasonable time and make sure that you won’t get into trouble for missing a major deadline. Otherwise, there’s a good chance you’ll spend the evening worrying about the deadline and won’t be able to relax.
Also, remind yourself that taking this time to unwind and practice self-care will help you be more productive the next day. Sometimes we get so used to being stretched thin that taking a few hours for ourselves feels like something we should feel guilty about.
When your clock shows the hour you’ve decided is the end of your workday, give yourself a few minutes to detach. Acknowledge the challenges you faced and the feelings they triggered but then let them go. A stressful day doesn’t have to become a stressful evening.
Create a Relaxing Environment
The next step is to create a relaxing environment by adjusting the lights, playing some nice music, setting the temperature and putting on your most comfortable plaid pajamas.
If you have problems falling asleep, know that it might be from overexposure to blue light, which interferes with our circadian rhythm. Your devices should have settings that allow you to switch to night light which keeps the amount of blue light at a minimum. If not, there are a lot of free apps that can do this.
A good playlist of soothing music played at a reasonable volume will lower your blood pressure and slow down your heart rate.
Finally, the temperature needs to be comfortable, or you’ll find it hard to relax, so set the thermostat in the range you feel best at. Note that it’s better to sleep in a room that’s a bit colder and cover yourself with a blanket. The drop in temperature will help you fall asleep faster because it stimulates melatonin production.
Set Your Priorities
Now is a good time to set your priorities for the next day. Choose the three most important things you want to accomplish and write them down. This way, you’ve set your goals, but you’ve also gotten them out of your head and onto paper so your mind is clear and you can slowly ease into relaxation mode.
Think about What a Perfect Evening Would Look Like for You
Since you’re writing things down to clear your head, try imagining what the perfect evening would look like for you. There are many things you could try, but everyone is different. Maybe you’d like nothing more than to take a hot bath, put on a face mask, order food and watch your favourite TV show until it’s time for bed.
Or maybe you feel most relaxed when you’re surrounded by loved ones and having a good time. A perfect evening for you could mean going out to dinner or organizing something social at home like a game night.
Then again, maybe what you truly miss is doing things to treat yourself so you’d like to go out by yourself, get a manicure, take yourself out for dinner and a movie. The idea is that you want to put yourself first for an evening and not have to feel bad about it.
Do Something Fulfilling
You’re probably starting to feel more relaxed just by thinking about these things, and as you’re writing down your list, you’re getting more ideas for future evenings when you feel like you just need a break.
But since you’re at it, see if you can think of some ideas that will not just relax you and help you restore your energy, but that will also fulfil you in the long term.
Make a chart with columns for health, happiness, creativity and learning and then think about different hobbies you could start. For example, working out at the gym can help you with your health, but maybe you don’t like it, so it doesn’t add much to the other sections. On the other hand, if you tried taking dancing lessons, it might check more of your boxes.
It’s all up to you. Like we said before, everyone is different. Some people prefer to go to the gym and lift weights. Others get a greater sense of fulfilment by dancing or going swimming at the local leisure centre.
Maybe you enjoy cooking and want to hone your skills, or maybe you always wanted to learn how to play the guitar. Give a few hobbies a try. Even if you feel like you don’t have time, start small by looking for a few lessons on YouTube.
You’ll see that once you find the right hobby for you, one that provides you with a sense of fulfilment, you’ll also find the motivation to stick with it. Rather than adding to your hectic schedule and stress, it will feel like an oasis where you can find peace and recharge your batteries when you most need it.