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.