Do you have a morning and evening routine? I'm sure you have some sort of regular activities that you do each evening and morning, even if you don't think of them as a routine. Routines become habits and habits quickly become an action we do without thinking. However when we create our routines with intention, this can set us up for so much success in our days.
Having a routine in place as a series of non-negotiables will mean we are primed and ready to deal with the day. We will be able to think more clearly, get more done and achieve more with less overwhelm and chaos.
The definition of routine is a sequence of actions regularly followed. Whether we think of them as routines or not, we all have a sequence of actions that we follow; like brushing our teeth before bed, having a shower in the morning or evening or watching TV each night before sleep. We do these actions on autopilot often without thinking about what we are doing. To achieve the best success, we can create a routine with intention with each action benefiting us for the evening and day ahead.
In this blog post, I will share 7 actions to rule your evening routine and I will cover off a morning routine in a follow up post later this month. One point before we get started is that we are all different. What feels good for me might not feel good for you. So try out each routine and if it feels good then continue but if it doesn't feel right, then just let it go. As a solo mama I also find so much benefit in taking care of myself while being organised and prepared. When I have the basics done, if everything goes pear shaped because one of the boys are having a moment, it doesn't mean I am completely behind for the rest of the day or left falling into bed overwhelmed and exhausted.
Eat a healthy meal early in the evening
Eating a healthy and nutritious diet ensures we are taking care of our health from the inside out. It keeps our energy high, the sickness away and means we can perform at our optimum each day. Eating early is also beneficial. Finish your meal earlier in the evening so your body has time to digest it before you sleep. And then, once dinner is over, tidy the dishes and close off the kitchen for the evening; this signals that eating is done for the day. If you want to enjoy something extra in the evening, go for a herbal tea.
Wash your face
Washing your face and keeping your skin clean is so essential in taking care of ourselves. Our skin is our biggest organ and absorbs what we put on to it. Choose your skincare and makeup wisely going for toxin and chemical free products. Wash your makeup off before bed EVERY NIGHT to allow your skin to breathe and rejuvenate overnight. The action of washing your face also has the psychological benefit of 'washing away the day', clearing whatever happened that day away, leaving a clean slate for the next day.
Pack and prepare clothes, bags and lunches for the next day
This is such an important routine that makes the biggest difference the next morning! Get clothes out for yourself and the kids the night before so in the morning everyone can get dressed quickly without searching for items or deciding what to wear. Pack bags for work or school and have them at the front door ready to go so you aren't searching for last minute items or suddenly remembering things to pack. Pack and prepare lunch boxes as much as possible. Last minute items can be made in the morning but if most of its done, it will certainly reduce the morning chaos. Definitely give this tip a try, it may take a while to get used to but will be worth it once it becomes a habit.
Write a list
Write down everything that you need to do the next day or need to remember in the morning i.e do the kids need to take something specific to school, do you have a meeting to go to before work, is it your mum's birthday the next day?. Putting these points on paper clears your mind and gives more space for relaxing and preparation for sleep. Plus along the same reasons for packing and preparing the night before, creating this list removes some of the potential chaos that can happen in the mornings.
Turn off technology
Turn your phone off early in the evening and give yourself a break from all the technology, screens and social media. Not only does this reduce the blue light and alertness that screens can create, but it also encourages more time with loved ones. Try to reduce TV time also and instead read a book, it's far more relaxing and primes your brain for sleep. Plus you might learn something really interesting!
If you haven't tried meditation before, there is a heap of information out there with so many different approaches. I love a guided meditation from apps such as Insight Timer. The app is free and there are 1,000's of options of all different time lengths and topics. Choose something that interests you. I love to listen to these meditations as I go to sleep. I find focusing my thoughts on the guided words helps to slow the busy mind from the day and relax into sleep. If you have trouble falling asleep there are many sleep meditations too, just type 'sleep' into the search box and choose a time length that suits you.
Sleep by 10pm
I know some of us are night owls and others are early risers but an early bed time really sets you up for a successful day ahead. If you have young kids that are prone to waking in the night, an early bed will help you to bank some good sleep before the kids might wake, plus you are setting yourself up for 7-8 hours sleep. Our bodies rest and rejuvenate during the night so the more time we can give ourselves in rest, the more our bodies will thank us.
These 7 routines are some of the simple ways we can prepare our evenings for rest and relaxation; and set us up for the best start to the morning ahead. It's not always easy to create a new routine but the more you do it the easier it becomes. Set an intention to put these routines into practice and I'm sure you will start to feel good and see the benefits within a few short days.