If you’re like me and many other people who struggle with anxiety, you’re probably all too familiar with this cycle: you go through your day trying to stay busy. At the end of the day, you come home, eat dinner, and collapse on the couch to binge on Netflix. By the time you’re ready to go to bed, you are tired but can’t sleep because you’re analyzing that one thing you said to your boss that you’re sure he’ll remember forever. Or you’re worrying about your health problems. Or you’re stressing over how much you didn’t get done. However your demons haunt you at night, know that you’re not alone and that there is a solution to reducing your anxiety at night: creating an evening routine.
Since starting my blog back in May, I’ve sadly shifted away from my evening routine. And man. I’m feeling it, friends. Want to know that I know that an evening routine works great for anxiety? Because my anxiety is much worse when I’m not using my routine. I work myself to the bone during the day. When I get home, I sit down and work on my blog for a couple hours. (Shout out to my husband who has the patience of a saint!) By the time I crawl into bed, my body is tired but my mind is wide awake. It’s been so bad. Even when I treat myself to some form of self-care during the day, it isn’t always enough to keep the anxiety at bay at night. More nights than not, I find myself turning on Friends to give my brain something else to occupy it rather than my worries as I drift off.
But ya know, it didn’t use to be like that. There was a time that I was really good at maintaining an evening routine that kept my anxiety at bay. Routines are shown to promote so many good things. Routines help to reduce stress. They are a predictable end to a chaotic world. An evening routine is your guaranteed way to wind down at the end of the day, even when the daily grind gets the best of you. Routines promote good sleep. Think about when you were little. Did you have a set number of things to do before bed? Maybe you went to your room, but had 30 minutes to read before lights out. Following an evening routine was easier when we were little because we had someone reminding us to do it.
But somewhere in adulthood, many of us stopped following an evening routine, and our mental health has suffered for it. Here’s how to create a simple evening routine that will help ease that nighttime anxiety and help you sleep better.
How to Create an Evening Routine that Eases Anxiety
Think about what keeps you up at night– before bed
When you’re starting to create your evening routine, start by thinking about what isn’t working. What sorts of things keep you up at night? Do you constantly worry about everything you need to get done the next day? Or are there things you said or did during the day that haunt you come bedtime? What can you do tonight before bed that can help you tackle those anxious thoughts? Before bed, make a plan. Write a list of all the things you’d like to get done the next day. If you’re plagued by social anxiety, learn how to reason with yourself. Answer your what-if questions, and make a plan on how you will handle those fears.Before bed, make a plan to manage your anxiety. Click To Tweet
Related Reading: 10 Tips to Help Someone with Anxiety
Set yourself up for success
What can you do tonight that will make your life easier in the morning? There is little worse than going to bed anxious, and then waking up anxious too. Many of the tasks that we put off until the morning can be done at night, which makes your morning run much more smoothly. For me, I like to pack my lunch for the next day. We like to make enough food for leftovers during the day, so this is one of the first evening rituals I have. Plus, when you pack your lunch the night before, you’re more likely to make good food choices, which can help your anxiety too.
Picking out my clothes the night before is another way I like to ease my anxiety. I hate waking up in the morning and before I even get out of bed, I’m worrying if I have enough time to iron my clothes or put together an outfit. Or worse– when this happens at night. Figuring out what I’m going to wear the night before has made my life so much easier.
Related Reading: How to Create a Morning Routine to Start your Day Right
Create a self-care routine
Y’all know I’m a big promoter of self-care. One of the most successful ways to reduce anxiety in your evening routine is by doing the same self-care activity each night. Maybe for you that means doing your favorite hobby for a bit before bed. Maybe it’s pampering yourself. Whatever you choose, make sure it something relaxing that will help you sleep better.
I’ve been reading a lot about showering at night rather than in the morning. This is a practice I’ve started implementing, and so far, it’s been really wonderful. When I’m feeling anxious, I like to throw some lavender bath salts in the bottom of my shower to help me relax. When I get out of the shower, I like to moisturize my whole body, which I rarely have time to do when I shower in the morning. All of these things help me feel more relaxed, and I love to go to bed feeling like I’ve washed all the stress away. I also enjoy a cup of chamomile tea, or other teas that promote relaxation.Anxiety tip: throw lavender bath salts in your shower to promote relaxation. Click To Tweet
Related Reading: 30-Day Mind+Body+Soul Self-Care Challenge (With FREE Printable!)
Let’s face it: it’s easy to get sucked into the endless scrolling of social media when it’s time to go to bed. And that blue light from your phone isn’t doing you any favors. In fact, blue light wakes your brain up and makes it think that it’s daytime. That’s why a lot of phones now have a blue light filter built in that turns on at sunset. So before bed, get rid of the distractions that will keep you up at night. Keep your phone plugged in somewhere else other than your nightstand. Even better: unplug 30 minutes before bed. The 30-minute rule is shown to promote a more restful night’s sleep. I’m very guilty of laying in bed checking social media, or messaging my friends until late at night and waking up my husband because I’m cracking up laughing but trying to be quiet about it. If you need to have something to occupy your mind, try reading a book instead. As much as I love to get lost in a book, they put me to sleep so quickly.
You were waiting for this one from me, weren’t you? Gratitude is one of the greatest ways to beat anxiety. It is impossible to worry when you substitute anxiety with gratitude. So when you’re up late wracked with worry, turn your worry into thankfulness. For example, when I worry about my health, I express gratitude for the health that I do have. When I worry about looking stupid, I express gratitude for feeling comfortable enough to have said what I did. And when I worry about about how much I have to do, I express gratitude for having a job and a home. Gratitude puts our anxieties into perspective and can make for a more restful night’s sleep. Take some time to write in a journal and reflect before bed.It is impossible to worry when you substitute anxiety with gratitude. Click To Tweet
Related Reading: The Life-Changing Power of Gratitude
How do you unwind? What’s your evening routine? Let me know in the comments!
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