My evenings are sacred to me. They are the little windows of time during the week where I get to forget about work, switch off and spend time doing the things that make me happy.
After a particularly lovely evening recently and since I’ve already shared a morning routine with you (and a Sunday night routine actually), I thought I would talk a bit about my evening routine and how you can try something similar to help you switch off from work.
If nothing else in life, I feel like I’ve got my morning and evening routines DOWN.
I should preface this and say for me, switching off from work is actually quite easy. It’s not that I don’t care about work (promise) it’s just built into our office culture that we don’t take our work home with us.
Of course, there are days – you know the ones – where you struggle to switch off. You think about that irritating email over and over. You think about that meeting that fell apart, how you could have done X better or said Y instead. On these days, we need all the help we can get switching off and letting go.
Here is a routine I swear by to do just this…
An evening routine to switch off from work
Make-up off, hair up
This is always the first thing I do when I get in from work. I want my skin to breathe after eight hours wearing make-up and also it feels quite relaxing and ritualistic. The warm water, the lovely smelling cleanser – it’s calming.
Switch-off bonus: make it a lovely experience, give yourself a facial massage, pamper yourself with a face mask, take longer than strictly necessary.
For me this generally involves… (can you guess?) yoga! It does the job. It gets me thinking about my breath and how I’m moving my body, and not much else. For you this could be going for a walk, hitting the gym, doing Tai Chi – anything. After eight hours sat at a desk, getting the body moving and stretching those muscles feels bloody lovely.
Switch-off bonus: After your mindful movement (whatever this may be) sit quietly for five minutes, meditate, quieten your mind and be truly present.
Shower off the day
Or bathe it off. I know most people like to shower in the mornings, but unless I’ve been to the gym in the morning, I prefer to shower in the evenings. I feel like I’m literally washing the day off me and it’s another opportunity to embrace a bit of solitude and quiet time (can ya tell I’m an introvert?).
Switch-off bonus: Listen to some relaxing music and use a gorgeous shower gel infused with essential oils. I am obsessed with the ‘Yes to Blueberries‘ body wash which smells of lavender and blueberries – uhhhhhmazing.
Zone out with your weapon of choice
Netflix anyone? For me actually, lately I’ve been flipping between Youtube and Instagram. Because I ‘choose what I consume‘ this is actually a relaxing and inspiring experience. I do love a good boxset though or a movie if I’m feeling a little risky (I know, I live a wild life). Your weapon of choice may be different, just opt for something that gets you out of your work mindset and helps you to relaaaaaax.
Switch-off bonus: do what feels good to you and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks. This could mean spending hours on Pinterest or playing video games. It could mean writing, drawing or going out and taking some pictures – just make sure it’s an activity for you.
Set an ‘unplug’ alarm
This is the newest (and probably best) addition to my evening routine. I set an alarm for 9:30 to prompt me to stop what I’m doing and unplug. This means putting down my phone, turning off my TV and shutting my laptop down. This means doing something that doesn’t involve a screen (see next tip!).
Since doing this I’ve been getting more sleep and feeling much more energetic when I wake up. Granted, I’m only a couple of weeks in with this new addition to my routine, but still, it seems to be working.
Switch-off bonus: Change your alarm sound to a relaxing song you love. This’ll keep you in a calm state of mind.
Read something beautiful
This is what I do during my ‘unplugged’ time. One of my goals for 2017 was to read more and this has become the perfect way for me to make some headway through the pile of books gathering dust on my nightstand. I can get bored easily so when I finish a fiction book I’ll read a non-fiction book, then a fiction etc. alternating to keep me interested.
Switch-off bonus: If you haven’t already, lower the lighting in your room. Turn the dimmer down or switch to a side-light. Light a candle, get some essential oils burnin’, anything to help the wind-down process!
Reflect on the day
Before I switch off my light and head to the land of nod, there’s one last thing I like to do – reflect on my day. I personally use the Happiness Planner for this and simply make some notes about the day, what I achieved, what happened etc. Keep a notebook by your bed and just jot down a couple of lines about your day, good and bad.
Switch-off bonus: If you’re worried about what you have to do tomorrow at work, write yourself a to-do list and put it in your work bag. This will help you feel prepared and gets it out of your head mentally.
Optional final step – listen to a little escapism
When I’m finally in bed with the lights off I personally like to listen to a short podcast. I find it hard to just turn my light off and go to sleep, but this may well just be me! Listening to a bit of fiction offers my mind escapism and seems to be the perfect recipe for sleep to me.
Switch-off bonus: My podcast fiction faves – Welcome to Night Vale, The Bright Sessions, The Truth.
Now I know, not everyone has the luxury of spending so much alone-time to wind down… but if you can take just one or two of these elements and work them into your own routine, I think (and I hope) it can still help.
Let me know if you give this a go or if there’s anything you love to do that I’ve missed! Now, go get relaxin 😉