5 Steps for the Ideal Evening Routine
Everyone’s ideal evening routine will be slightly different. In general, there are key things most people find useful to help them get quality sleep and be prepared for the next day.
Being a mum, I don’t always get to do my ideal routine but when I do, my evening is better and the next day runs more smoothly.
Here are the steps I take to make my evening better.
Disclosure, this post may contain affiliate links for products and services I personally use.
A quick clean through the home can do wonders for motivation in the morning. Do all the dishes, sweep or vacuum the floor, mop quickly if needed and do a general tidy up.
With toddlers, this is a little harder as they cause so much mess. Getting them involved in picking up their own toys and packing things away is important. With that done, the rest is easier.
In my home, we alternate the cleaning the kitchen based on who does the cooking. My teens cook twice a week each, as do I and we have leftovers. Whoever cooks does not have to clean.
The cooking is determined by what is on and who is available to do it. My eldest does robotics, aviation, Taekwondo and is in a program for Real Madrid which means they are out a few nights a week and unavailable to cook.
My second child does wrestling a few nights a week and likes to go shopping with friends, so she is out a few nights too. Making our schedule work around what everyone wants to do means no one is left doing all the cooking or cleaning.
Time Cleaning Takes: 10 Minutes
How long you spend cleaning is up to you. If we all pitch in, we can clean a lot in 10 minutes. The evening clean is more a tidy, not a deep clean.
Make sure things are put away, floors clean, the bathroom vanity wiped over and the kitchen ready for the morning. Those few things will make it feel much nicer when you get up in the morning.
How to Make an Evening Clean Easier
Set a timer and see how much you can get done in 5 or 10 minutes. You might be surprised how quickly things can be accomplished.
Get everyone involved. We all live here so we are all responsible for how clean the home is. Assigning a few specific tasks to each person can make it easier.
Use the right products and make them accessible. Have all the things you need where you need them. In our home this means there is a section in the bathroom with cleaning supplies as well as another in the laundry (next to the kitchen) and some in the kitchen.
Placing them in these locations means they are where we need them and makes it quicker to clean those areas. It also means everyone can be doing something at the same time without having to wait for someone else to finish with specific products.
We have one vacuum and one large broom so we assign one person to do all the floors as there is no need for doubles of those items. Cloths and cleaning products we have multiples of so someone can be doing the bathroom while someone else does the kitchen and someone else the lounge.
2. Prepare for Tomorrow
Get out your to do list, check your schedule and organise everything you can for the next day. For me, this is a crucial step in ensuring a good night’s sleep and that I am organised and motivated the next day.
Look at everything you can prepare now to make tomorrow easier. Generally, on a Sunday, I have all my outfits ironed and prepared in advance so each night I pull out what I am wearing and it’s ready to go.
Meal prepping on a Sunday or at the latest, the night before, helps me eat better and makes lunches easier.
By reducing the number of decisions I have to make and automating things as much as possible, I save a lot of stress and time. My mental load is reduced because there is less to do.
Time Preparation Takes: 10 to 30 Minutes
Ideally, you will make this habit a quick and easy one as you will be doing it often and on top of it. Getting your outfit out, packing your lunch and getting your to do list sorted doesn’t need to take long.
How to Make Preparations Easier
Go digital when it comes to your to do list and calendar. I use Google Calendar to schedule in everything and make an easy to do list. Asana is another great tool I have found to be able to brain-dump my ideas and form plans.
We also have a magnetic weekly calendar on the fridge and a large monthly paper calendar on the wall because visuals help us.
Having the right resources can make everything easier to manage.
If you really struggle with getting your clothes prepared, ironing and similar, it might be worth outsourcing your ironing so it’s done for you. That way, when you get it back all you need to do is sort it into outfits and you’re done.
With meal prepping or packing your lunch, get containers that are the same size. When you take them out of the dishwasher or have washed them, store them with the lids on so they are together when you need them.
Spending 10 minutes searching for a lid is frustrating whereas taking 20 seconds extra to put the lid on when you washed them is so much easier.
3. Wind Down
Stop eating, avoid alcohol and caffeine, turn off devices, dim the lights and prepare yourself to wind down for the evening. Rather than watching TV I like to read or spend time with the family. If I can, I enjoy going for a walk at sunset too.
Yoga for sleep or relaxation is something I enjoy to assist with my sleep and overall health. With dimmed lights, some aromatherapy oils in a diffuser and meditation music I find it a great way to wind down.
My children have all done well with meditation music being played throughout the house to help us relax and prepare for bed. Especially my toddlers. From birth, soft music helped them sleep better so it is part of our routine.
While I aim to drink a few litres of water a day, I try to stop drinking anything after 7pm. If I drink too much close to bedtime, I won’t sleep well.
Time it Takes to Wind Down: Your Choice
How long you spend winding down is up to you. In general, it is recommended you switch off devices at least 1 hour, if not 2 before bed. So the wind down routine might start 2 or more hours before you actually head to bed.
Some nights I spend 10 minutes doing yoga, other nights I might take an hour. It depends on my mood, if my toddlers have settled and what else I have going on.
How to Make Winding Down Easier
This is another one where having what you need where you need it makes things easier. Diffusers set around the house that you simply need to turn on, speakers throughout the home or synced devices to play music etc. We like the Silent Rhythm YouTube channel for this.
A smart home or some aspects of a smart home make this process a lot easier as it can all be automated. Google Home, Alexa, Echo and similar all make many aspects of life and routine easier to implement.
If you want to do yoga, I like Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube.
4. Hygiene Routine
After yoga and other preparations to wind down, I get my body ready. My evening hygiene routine is similar to the hygiene aspects of my morning routine.
A warm shower, getting into nice pj’s, doing a full skincare routine, brushing my teeth and moisturising my body are all important for my bedtime routine.
My full skincare routine is the same as my morning one with a few different products specifically for night instead of day. The ingredients are different and night products generally should not be used during the day as they don’t have SPF and usually have anti-aging products in them that aren’t great for your skin with sunlight.
Skincare involves the Korean skincare routine, taught to me by a Korean friend years ago. Oil based cleanser, regular cleanser, exfoliant, toner, essence/serums, treatment, masks, eye cream, moisturiser and SPF.
The exact products I use have varied over time, although Innisfree has been a favourite of mine. Sometimes my skincare is homemade e.g. rice flour with green tea was recommended by my friend to use once a week as an exfoliant.
My focus with skincare is anti-aging and health but my teens are focused on clear skin. This routine works for all of us and my 14 year old has the clearest, most complimented on skin out of anyone I have ever met.
For my body moisturiser, I like Nivea Q10 or simple coconut oil.
My kids have a few extra steps because of their hair and they both sleep with silk bonnets.
Time it Takes for Hygiene: 20 Minutes or More
How long this takes depends on whether I am doing a face mask or not and whether I have the time. If my kids are not settling, I can’t do my full skincare routine but do brush my teeth etc with them.
How to Make Hygiene Easier
Have everything where you need it, in order and use it. We each have our own bathroom cupboard and use it to store our products.
Before we lived here, we each had our own toiletries bag we would take to and from the bathroom. Having our own cupboard is much easier.
Get everything you need, put it in front of you then make the time to do it. Treat it as a gentle way to take care of yourself rather than something you have to do and you are much more likely to do it.
5. Bedroom Preparations
It is important to have your bedroom optimised for sleep. A comfortable bed, sheets and pillows help ensure a good night’s sleep.
Considering how long we spend sleeping and what our body does while we are asleep (repairs, restores and renews), we need to do our best to get quality sleep.
With babies and toddlers waking throughout the night, I don’t always get a good sleep but the more I do to ensure the room is ideal for us, the better we all sleep.
Room temperature, smell, sound, all of it impacts your sleep. Generally, 15 to 20 degrees Celsius is considered ideal for sleep, which is what we aim for.
Going to sleep in a clean room, a comfortable bed with nice smells and an ideal temperature will provide much better sleep. This in turn means you are more likely to wake easily and have a productive day the next day.
Time it Takes to Prepare the Bedroom: 5 Minutes
Most of the preparations could be done during the rest of the routine or in the morning. For example, you make your bed in the morning and place your PJ’s and eye mask under your pillow so they are there ready for you.
When you turn on the diffusers, you can set the temperature for your room (if you use temperature control). Do a quick scan of the room and tidy up anything necessary, but again, that could be done at the cleaning stage.
Ideally, your room will be prepped as part of your normal routines so when you are ready for bed, it is simply a matter of getting in there.
How to Make Preparing Your Room Easier
As mentioned, doing it all as part of your other routines makes it easier. Have quality linen and change it each week so your bed is always ready and inviting.
Place items you will need such as an eye mask, comfortable pj’s and possibly earplugs under your pillow or on your bedside table so they are easy to access.
Here is everything I mentioned in the article that we use to make the ideal evening routine easy.
Food storage containers that are the same size so use the same lids
Aromatherapy oils for the diffuser to assist with sleep
Diffusers placed around the house
Echo or similar to automate things
Silent Rhythm YouTube channel for meditation music for sleep
Yoga with Adrienne
Silk eye masks