How to Create and Stick to an Effective Night Routine

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self care self love how to have a night routine best evening routines new mom new baby

I’ve always known that I would benefit from a night routine. I’ve always known that a great routine could help me be more energized and ready to take on the world in the morning, if I only took a few well-intentioned moments of self-care, got ready for the next day, and completed some calming sleep-inducing rituals. So every so often, I would devise the perfect routine complete with reading, stretching, journal-writing, great skincare, and lots more. This routine would last me all of about a day – if that.

I had to recognize that I have an all-or-nothing attitude that didn’t help with creating sustainable changes. It took a lot of willpower, but I had to boil all these musts to just a couple of actions, and it has made a huge difference in actually accomplishing these non-negotiables. I had to be honest with myself about what I really wanted and needed from my nights.

These are the steps our family took to devise a routine that really does leave me feeling ready to take on the world.

  1. Choose one (and only one) main theme for your nighttime routine.

I was finding that our mornings were always pretty stressful and frantic. Even though we generally got ready for the next day, something was always left out. So our main theme for a nighttime routine is to get everything set up for the morning. It’s important to start with only one main reason. You can always change it or add to it later. Trying to accomplish too much right away is a recipe for failure. Some ideas for a main theme could be:

  • Get ready for the next morning (like us)
  • Wind down for the night so you can get better sleep
  • Give yourself time for daily selfcare
  • Take time to connect with your partner or family
  1. Identify and ban distractions

We recognized that our phones sucked up a lot of our mental energy in the evenings. Even though I don’t really text or use social media that much, I use my phone to catch up on the news – which leads into a spiral as headlines keep popping up. We committed to not using our phones until the routine is complete. Do you have something that sucks up your time at night leaving you scrambling before bed? You could always pick up that vice after you’re done.

  1. Choose up to three actions that absolutely have to be completed

Write these actions down and post it somewhere you’re likely to lounge in the evening. For us these actions were:

  • Set out clothes for the next day
  • Tidy the kitchen
  • Prepare lunch

Trust me, I wanted to add about five more things to my routine, but it’s very important that you don’t. Don’t get me wrong, you’re absolutely allowed to do more than the three things, but if you treat them all as equally important right away, nothing will really get accomplished. It’s best to decide what must be completed and hold yourself accountable to that. Everything else is bonus.

  1. Decide when you will start your nighttime routine.

For us it’s after our daughter falls asleep – which varies day-to-day. Some people like to be rigid and have an exact time. It might help to set an alarm on your phone. Decide what works for you, how much time you’ll actually need to complete your routine, and if there are any obstacles that might get in the way.

  1. Commit to the three-action routine for a week and then reassess.

Complete your routine for just one week (remembering to ban your distractions.) At the end of the week think about anything that might need changing. Is one action not as important as you thought? Do you have new distractions you have to ban? Is the start of your routine just not realistic? Think about any exemptions you might allow yourself – for example, we don’t need to get ready for the next day on Fridays and Saturdays.

If you feel good about the week, now you’re allowed to add other things to your routine. Add only one new action per week. We included a five-minute meditation and reading while drinking tea. The next thing we’ll add is a nightly stretch and an entry in a gratitude-journal.

I hope that this helps. Remember to define what you really want to accomplish and start small.


Interview with a baby-wearing dad

Self-care basics for mom – NESTS


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