Updated: Dec 13, 2020
This post is a redo of my older post on evening routines. After having my first babe, I realized quickly that life has changed completely and forever and many great tips to be more healthy or find balance in life just don't apply anymore or are unsustainable and just not doable if you are a busy individual or a parent.
Hopefully this updated shorter version allows even the busiest of Mamas, parents and individuals to fit in some self-care and structure to finish up their day and set up for the one to come. Balancing work, family, home life and household and any other things that come p and need to be done and taken care off, is tricky - for many of us. Having habits in place and planning ahead can be a real life saver.
And here is the deal: I NEED structure in my daily life to get things done and stay on top of everything, and this year kicked my butt. I totally dropped the ball on many established routines and habits, for multiple reasons:
My little one became a toddler and needs a lot more supervision, attention and entertainment
COVID changed our daily routines all together
I had to pivot to working online and from home, which I don't mind, but that also contributed to our daily structure and dynamic changing.
With that being said, I also realized that I was still aiming for some 'Pre-baby' routines, which are just too ambitious these days. So, here is my quick, down and dirty *Mama edit* of an evening routine. Start with something simple, add in more time when you have it, but make this short version your 'go-to' and non-negotiable.
Here are my best tips for a quick evening routine to release stress and tension from your body and mind, plan ahead for tomorrow, so you are all set and know what you will have coming your way when you get up in the morning. This routine will help you prepare for a good night sleep, which is a huge benefit in itself.
All in all it takes about 15 minutes to go through the evening routine (depending on how much time you spend clearing up and planning). 15 minutes per day equals about 1% of your day. That is all it takes. You can add and change up any elements you like, in order to make it work for your day. Less is more in many cases. Especially if you are trying to establish a new habit. Stick with doable steps and add on, once you were able to sustain the current change for 2-3 weeks.
You can print out the Checklist above, or pin it down into your journal and work through it on a daily basis. Also, create this new routine around an existing routine to make it stick easier. For example, do the Checklist right after you brushed your teeth. (I am assuming you brush your teeth every night ;))
I also recommend to use a timer for all timed exercises to allow yourself to relax into the practice. Although, when the time is up you can always add on. Once you start stretching, you might not want to stop.
Lay out your clothes for the next day. (You can do the same for your kids)
Plan your meals ahead of time. I like to decide what to cook or prepare and check the fridge the night before.
Plan your workouts. Exercising and movement is my mood booster and stress reliever #1, which is why I am making time for a walk or a workout every day. This is important to me and supports my well-being. Planning it into my day ahead of time allows me to make sure it happens. (on most days)
Add any journalling questions to reflect on your day. (Examples: Did any challenges come up today? If so, when and what type?, Any accomplishments today?, How was your overall emotional state today?)
In all honestly - this simple checklist has already helped me a lot. While those little changes are helpful as they are, it also keeps me away from less helpful habits, such as working too late or watching none-sense on TV (nothing wrong with TV and picking the purely entertaining shows!), but in my case it was too much, too late and didn't support my overall well-being. Sometimes we need structure to get back into healthy routines and sticking with it.
Test it out and let me know how you go.
Comment below: What would you add?