beautygrind

The Importance Of An Evening Unwind Routine.

In lifestyle on December 28, 2020 at 8:30 am
Image Courtesy of Taryn Elliott via Pexels

Depending on how you look at it, everything and nothing is going on in life – at the same time. And all of it equals busy. A busy life can seem like a never ending cycle of activity: Doing. Thinking. Being. Add to that the current health, political, and social climate and it is very easy for your life to become One. Big. Blur.

One Big Blur makes it even more important to prioritize personal wellbeing. Words like “self-care”, “mindfulness” and “wellness” seem to be the big buzzwords as of late. You might even think it’s all marketing – a ploy to take your money (Raises hand slowly. Shamefully). Even if that is the case, it’s still worth noting that becoming more mindful of your personal health and wellness is important. Whether you are working from home, have gone back to a physical workspace, or are searching for employment which is a job in and of itself, it’s a good idea to consider creating an “after hours” wind down routine.

What is an “After Hours” Wind Down Routine?

Now before you balk at the idea of yet another activity to add to your to-do list, hear me out. I’m sure you’ve just perfected your morning routine but this is important. Think of your after hours wind down routine as a group of behaviors or activities that help you to create boundaries between your work and personal life. Something intentional to help you disconnect. For instance, I have found that it is important to have something to look forward to after a long day at work. I am an extreme introvert who works in a high energy, fast pace, client-facing environment so it is crucial that I have the mental and physical space to wind down. Or else. Anywhoo, my wind down routine usually includes a long hot shower while listening to jazz music, followed by a indulgent skin and body care routine, a light snack (or dinner) and a television show from back in the day. I like old television shows because they make me feel warm and fuzzy. I also don’t take any phone calls for a few hours.

Whether you are an introvert, extrovert or somewhere in between, (guess that would be an ambivert) creating boundaries between your work life and personal life is a good habit to get into. It can even help you perform better in life because you give yourself time to decompress, think and strategize. Having something to look forward to after a long day, whether it is a fun activity or routine is good for your mental health and can also help with transitioning to more sound sleep. Here is a list of ideas you can use to help you unwind:

Be intentional about creating boundaries. This refers to physical and mental spaces. Creating separate spaces in your home for various activities is important especially if you work from home. If you don’t have a lot of space, it can be a section or small area in a room. If work is outside of the home this might be easier, especially if you don’t have to bring your work home with you. If you have to stay connected to work outside of “normal” business hours, find a way to disconnect away from your work space, even if it’s for 15 minutes: meditate, do some deep breathing, listen to a short podcast or read something uplifting or inspirational. Also, if you work from home, create a separate space for work which could be a small desk or table. If your office is your couch, be intentional about putting work things away before you unwind or move onto the next activity for the evening. Consider a nice organizer/cabinet to store everything neatly out of sight.

Clean up your space/put things away. Have you ever noticed that when your living space is chaotic and messy, you feel out of sorts, dazed and confused? Not on your A-game? I know that sometimes when I get in a space of feeling irritable or absent minded, it’s probably because there is a bowl sitting in the sink. Yes that’s extreme but that’s how I’m set up. I feel it’s easier to navigate life when your living quarters is tidy.

Get into the habit of returning your living space back to zero before going to bed. This means taking 10 minutes or so to put things away that you have used – books, blankets, technology, dishes. There is nothing more dehumanizing than to wake up (or come home to) a messy home. Furthermore, when you come home from work (or wherever you’ve been) hang up your coat, put your keys/purse/belongings in a central location. This prevents the morning scurry and confusion of “where’s my keys, where’s my purse?” Your home will also be visit-ready.

Shut everything off for a few hours. Yes everyone is an entrepreneur, a hustler and needs to stay connected. But still – take an hour or so to disconnect. If an hour seems too long, try 10 minutes and gradually increase your time. This gives you a chance to regroup and/or unwind. This can look a little different if you have a family and/or a pet because everyone needs and wants your attention. Try creating boundaries with those you live with (well maybe not with your pets). Get them on the same page with an unwind routine. Thank me later.

Have a nighttime self care routine. Create a routine that you look forward to indulging in. Make shower/bath time more luxurious. Create a space that you love being in. Do you need to upgrade your bathroom decor? Maybe add some plants, pictures, candles and figurines? Perhaps new plush towels and new shower curtains. What products are you using to cleanse and care for your face body? Invest in more luxurious and efficacious bath, body and skin care. And when applying your products, slow down. Take your time. I love this time of the day because it makes me slow down and become more intentional in my thoughts and actions.

Make sleep a priority. You should actually look forward to getting into your bed. I know we live in a hustle culture and people are shamed for attending to their biological needs like sleep but sleep is important. Is your bed comfortable? What about your pillows? Are they just the way you like them? What does your linen look and feel like? Is your bedroom even clean? Consider making some upgrades to your bedroom decor.

Change your clothes. Especially if you are working outside of your home. To move about your home (sitting on your couch, your bed, etc.) in your outside clothes isn’t sanitary. I use public transportation and the clothes and shoes I wear are taken off AT. THE. DOOR. You can also think of changing your clothes when you get home as a gesture of taking the day off. And when you change your clothes, put on something comfy and nice. Not what you wore to clean the bathroom. It can help you to make that mind shift. If you are enjoying a night in, consider wearing nice loungewear and fluffy slippers. Again, these actions can help you transition from a busy day and help you to look forward to the evening.

Schedule out your day. Add structure to your day to help you become more productive and focused. It doesn’t have to be long and drawn out but include the tasks that are going to move the needle and help you get closer to completing your goal. Schedule what matters.

Schedule some fun after work activities. Even if you are not going out as much during this time, you can still be social. if you choose to stay in, do a weekly zoom call with friends while you eat a delicious dinner. Have a beverage. Or two. This is your virtual happy hour. Start a hobby or a project. Start journaling. It doesn’t have to be everyday but make it something fun to look forward to.

Light a candle. Invest in a good candle that burns well and smells amazing. Lighting a candle can signal your process of shifting gears for the evening. Be sure to use this candle specifically for the purpose of winding down – nothing else. Also use it in a place that you have designated for relaxation and not your work space. You may also want to diffuse lavendar to help you relax.

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