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Need Help Managing Your Self-Care Right Now?

Steven Losardo, LMFT

We usually think big when we think about changing our lives, setting goals, or being healthy. But what about the small changes that have a huge impact? But, if you’re looking to make some significant changes in your life, one of the best things you can do is build a routine for your evening. By establishing a set time for yourself each day, you’ll be more likely to stick to those goals and avoid distractions. Plus, by taking care of yourself mentally and emotionally during the evening hours, you’ll be better positioned to handle any challenges that come your way during the day.

It’s easy to take self-care for granted. But it’s important to remember that taking time for yourself is essential to your health and happiness. Here are five evening habits that can help you start your self-care routine and set you up for success. 

Plan. 

Building a healthy evening routine isn’t as simple as getting to bed at a particular hour, and it does Involve some planning ahead of time to know the optimal time to sleep, wake, and start your routine (Meis, C 2021). Listening to your body is a big part of this as you will need to notice when you naturally begin to feel sleepy when your body begins to wake up and what type of routine will fit into your evenings. 

Journal. 

Writing out your thoughts and feelings and processing what happened during the day is a great way to move through the stress of the day and go to bed without anxious thoughts swirling in your head (Andrews, 2021). Research shows that journaling is a great way to let go of everything before you lay down to rest and is emotional support for days when things have been hard (Anderer, 2022).  

Meditate.

Like journaling, meditating is a beautiful way to find relief from the day before sleeping. Meditating for even ten minutes every day can significantly impact overall mental health and well-being (Scullin, et al., 2018). Meditating is not just clearing your mind and chanting; it is practicing deep breathing and returning your thoughts to the present moment and breathing through it. Practicing mindfulness in your evening routine can lead to more intentional thoughts and actions during the day (van Emmerik, Keijzer, and Schoenmakers, (2020).

Create Your Sleep Space. 

Making sure that you put some energy and thought into your sleep space is essential for restful sleep. After all, restful sleep is what your life is built on. Make sure that you have a comfortable sleeping space; good lighting, airflow, and sound levels can make all of the difference in your energy the next day (Lack, L., & Wright, H. (1993).

Sound. 

White noise is a great way to block out sounds that disturb restful sleep. It can help people fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up in the morning without being disturbed (Basaraba, 2022). Using a white noise matching, a fan, or an app that produces white noise can help improve sleep quality. 

Other Evening Habits

Additional evening habits that can be added to your routine include eliminating screens thirty to forty-five minutes before sleep, allowing your mind to rest as your body gets ready to sleep (Green et.al, 2019).   Another evening habit is reading and grabbing your favorite book every night before bed can be a great way to unwind without screens and rest your body before bedtime (Mindell et al., 2019). 

Taking time for yourself is essential for your health and happiness. But even more than that, having a great evening routine can make a significant change happen in your life. Some of the best evening habits for self-care include getting enough sleep, eating well, and exercising. By taking care of our bodies and minds in the evening, we’re more likely to be rested and alert during the day. We focus so much on what to build in our days to make us more productive and reach our goals, but there is so much that can happen when we take care of our evening routine to set ourselves up for success the next day. 

References 

Anderer, J. (2022). The best nighttime habits you can do to feel younger, expert says. Retrieved from https://www.eatthis.com/nighttime-habits-feel-younger/ on March 23, 2022. 

Andrews, L. (2021). Journaling before bed can help ward off sleeplessness. Retrieved from 

https://www.healthgrades.com/right-care/sleep-disorders/journaling-before-bed-can-help

ward-off-sleeplessness on March 24, 2022. 

Basaraba, S. (2022). How to use white noise for sounder sleep. Retrieved from

https://www.verywellhealth.com/white-noise-and-sound-sleep-2224280 

on March 23, 2022. 

Green, A., Cohen-Zion, M., Haim, A., & Dagan, Y. (2017). Evening light exposure to computer

screens disrupts human sleep, biological rhythms, and attention abilities. Chronobiology

international, 34(7), 855-865.

Lack, L., & Wright, H. (1993). The effect of evening bright light in delaying the circadian

rhythms and lengthening the sleep of early morning awakening insomniacs. sleep, 16(5),

436-443

Meis, C. (2021). 11 Steps to build an evening routine—and why you should. Retrieved from

https://www.success.com/11-steps-to-build-an-evening-routine-and-why-you-should/

on March 24, 2022.

Mindell, J. A., Meltzer, L. J., Carskadon, M. A., & Chervin, R. D. (2009). Developmental aspects

of sleep hygiene: findings from the 2004 National Sleep Foundation Sleep in America

Poll. Sleep medicine, 10(7), 771-779.

Scullin, M. K., Krueger, M. L., Ballard, H. K., Pruett, N., & Bliwise, D. L. (2018). The effects of

bedtime writing on difficulty falling asleep: A polysomnographic study comparing to-do

lists and completed activity lists. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 147(1), 139–146.

van Emmerik, A. A., Keijzer, R., & Schoenmakers, T. M. (2020). Integrating mindfulness into a

routine schedule: The role of mobile-health mindfulness applications. In Nutrition,

fitness, and mindfulness (pp. 217-222). Humana, Cham.

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