Lifestyle - November 6, 2018

5 Things You Can Do Before Bed to Make the Next Day Easier

I’ve been working on doing life better. I know that sounds so cliche and blah and whatever, but like, it’s true. I’m 29 years old (well, almost) and I need to get some structure in my life. Because between working from home (for myself, might I add!) and trying to maintain a somewhat of a balanced life, I’ve realized that routines and consistency are what I’ve been missing all my adult years. I’ve already heard about how they’re important and blah blah blah, but it wasn’t until the past year that I actually tried to implement any of it into my own life. And I get it now. It’s a thing, y’all. Routines make a huge difference. So with that being said, we’re going to talk about evening routines and what’s been working for me + what you should incorporate into yours.

Get an Evening Routine For a Better Tomorrow

I’ve found that a solid evening routine will help make your life better in three distinct ways. First, it’s a great way to end your day with perspective and foresight for the next. A consistent evening routine helps you wrap up your day so you can live more intentionally and more smoothly move onto the next. Second, it prepares you for the following day, so you don’t have to do it all in the morning. In my opinion, a good morning routine truly starts the night before! And lastly, a nightly evening routine helps get your mind and body calm and relaxed for a peaceful night’s sleep ahead, which is more valuable than you probably realize!

It’s amazing what changing a few things around can do for productivity, your brain, how relaxed you are, and all the things. So even though I’ve shared a couple of posts on what to do at night to get more sleep or how to fall asleep easier (to get better sleep), today I want to talk about your evening routine in general and how that sets you up for the next day. Basically, if you do these things before bed, it will make your next day better and easier!

A lot of these things are pretty obvious and somewhat “duh” but at the same time, I always appreciate the reminder. Plus, I love learning and reading about other people’s’ morning and nighttime routines. It’s such an integral part of how we design our days and lives and can actually make a huge difference.

1. Plan your (next) day

Want to know one of my least favorite feelings? Looking at my calendar in the morning and instantly feeling stressed. So now, I try to look at my calendar before signing off of work the previous day (or after dinner if I forget). This way, I can kinda make a game plan for the next day in advance.

If you have errands to run or appointments or whatever, think about how you’ll batch those tasks together. Get a sense for what you’ll need to wear/pack/etc and get all that ready.

Write down the most important tasks that you know need to get accomplished tomorrow.

Familiarize yourself with any important appointments or meetings going on the next day

2. Prep for Being Healthy

This will obviously depend on what “healthy” means to you and what you’re working on at the moment. But I think it’s safe to say that we’re all trying to be a little bit healthier in some way or another. What are your current health goals? And how can you prepare for success the night before so they actually get accomplished?

For me, this looks like putting a big water bottle full of lemon in my fridge. There’s something appealing about cold, citrus water that makes me want to chug it in the morning. It might sound silly, but try it – it works!

I also find that cutting up fruit and keeping it in a bowl at eye-level of my fridge changes the game. I’ll usually cut up a bunch a few nights a week (when I’m being “good”).

This could also mean leaving your workout outfit out on your dresser or getting your playlist ready to go for a workout.

Consider lunch and dinner for tomorrow. If you bring your lunch to work, is there anything you can do tonight to be better prepared for the morning? Go ahead and set things aside if you haven’t already done that in your weekly meal prep.

And dinner. UGH, dinner. For some reason, planning dinner and making it kills me. It’s like the hardest thing for me. But after literally years of hating this, I’ve realized how much easier it is to deal with dinner if you plan a little bit the day before. I definitely don’t do this every day, but when I do, wow. Big change. If you hate dinner as much as I do, try to think about it the night before. Anyways, try to put some ingredients together and think about thawing meat if you need to. Basically, at least KNOW what you’re cooking the next night and do a mental checklist of whether you have everything. This alone makes it so much easier for me for some reason.

3. Tidy Up Around The House

This one is obvious but so important that it has to be mentioned. Before you go to bed, clean up your house! I don’t mean clean the freaking toilets, I just mean tidy up. Put the pillows back nicely on the couch and the remotes back in a tray. Fold up blankets and put your dishes in the dishwasher. Even do a quick wipe down of the kitchen if you made a mess at dinner.

Waking up to a tidy house will not only save you time in the morning, but it seriously is so much better on your mind. Less clutter physically means less clutter to wake up to in your brain. I have a friend who puts on a podcast from the app Calm while she does this to start the relaxing nighttime routine vibes and I like that idea!

Other things to consider:

  • Get stuff out of the car. I don’t’ know about you but with my schedule, I always have random junk that piles up in my car and that I often forget to take inside. I’ve started making this part of my evening routine and it has been really helpful!
  • Put dirty clothes in the hamper
  • If doing laundry, fold before going to bed
  • Pick up random shoes laying around the house. For some reason, I always leave my shoes places. Anyone else?

4. Lay Out Outfit Options

Yes, just like your mom did for you in the 2nd grade! Listen, I can get into wardrobe tantrums like the rest of y’all, and there are some days when I literally rummage through my whole closet until I find something I like! Which obviously makes the morning stressful and wastes a lot of time.

Maybe it’s because I’m eager to get to my nighttime routine or I want to crawl into bed, but for some reason, it’s easier at night. I’ll usually pick out two outfits so I have a couple of options, and for whichever one I don’t wear, I can wear it the next. Plus! We all have a limited about of willpower each day, and as the days go on, it’s hard for us to make decisions. So instead of wasting some of that willpower on an outfit first thing, I save that brain power for bigger decisions.

5. Go Through Your Nighttime Routine

Everything above will definitely help you the next day, and you know what else will?? A solid nighttime routine + getting enough sleep. It’s maybe the most important. You can find tips for that here, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Give yourself time to wind down, have a little self-care, and get in bed with enough time to get substantial rest. For the sake of having all the essentials for an evening routine in ONE blog post, let’s go through a decent evening checklist:

  • Change into pajamas
  • Pick things up around the bedroom
  • Bathroom nightly routine – wash fash, take makeup off, moisturize, brush teeth, floss, etc.
  • Set alarm for tomorrow and turn the phone on “do not disturb” as you’re getting ready for bed
  • Turn on the sound machine and get in bed
  • Journal some key thoughts and takeaways from the day. This helps me so much, even if I only write down one sentence. It’s still nice to bookend my day with journaling and reflection
  • Read an actual book so that you’re not tempted to look at your phone
  • Lights out!

Additional things to consider for your evening routine:

  • Do you have gas in your car for in the morning? You’re not going to want to have to deal with that in the morning. But if you’re going to do it before work, then make sure you budget a few extra minutes.
  • Make sure your keys are in your purse so you don’t go running around like a crazy person tomorrow looking for them. I’ve done this one too many times.
  • Already know you’re going to the gym tomorrow? Go ahead and put your bag IN your car tonight! Why not?
  • Set the coffee machine on standby so it’s ready for the morning when you most need it!
  • Lay out your gym stuff if you plan to do a workout when you wake up
  • Make sure your alarm is set
  • Make sure your bedside table only has the things on it that you need for the night
  • Keep a notebook by your bed so that if you remember something during the night then you can write it down instead of forgetting it by morning
  • Drink water

Is there anything in particular that you do before going to bed that makes the next day a breeze?

Share please!

To recap, here’s my evening routine (in an ideal world – I don’t do all of these things every night):

  1. Plan the (next) day
    • Consider schedule for tomorrow
    • What’re the most important things that need to get done?
    • Consider how you can batch errands
    • Make lists and brain dump so you can get all of that stuff out of your brain and onto paper
  2. Prep for being healthy
    • plan dinner for tomorrow
    • prep lunch if you can
    • workout clothes or gym bag
  3. Tidy up around the house
  4. Layout outfit options
  5. Prepare for bed & start your bedtime routine
    • Change into pajamas
    • Pick things up around the bedroom
    • Bathroom nightly routine – wash fash, take makeup off, moisturize, brush teeth, floss, etc.
    • Set alarm for tomorrow and turn the phone on “do not disturb” as you’re getting ready for bed
    • Get in bed (turn on the sound machine, light candle, etc.)
    • Journal some key thoughts and takeaways from the day. This helps me so much, even if I only write down one sentence. It’s still nice to bookend my day with journaling and reflection
    • Read an actual book so that you’re not tempted to look at your phone
    • Lights out!