Being a work at home mom often results in feeling like my days are completely out of control. Sure, I have a pretty good handle on things, and things have drastically improved since I began getting up before my kids. But, still… sometimes my days just feel like utter chaos.
While having time set aside for yourself in the AM is paramount to a productive, smooth day. Having an end to your day is sometimes the most important part.
Sometimes, we are just over the day. Sometimes, we can’t believe how quickly it ended. But every time a routine will help us end our day on a positive note and know what’s coming next.
Routines are awesome. I’m not real into schedules. I’m laid back and our days just kind of have a mind of their own sometimes. Sometimes school runs over, or we play outside for far longer than I had planned and dinner gets started later than usual. But, routines? I’m all for those.
Routines help us form habits. Habits mean that we can do things pretty much on auto-pilot. Which greatly reduces decision fatigue, but more on that in an upcoming post.
Why You Need a Nighttime Routine
Well, aside from creating a habit to reduce decision fatigue, a nighttime routine will help you end the day. Obviously, right? But it puts a specific set of tasks at the end of the day to let you know that the day is over.
And, you’ll feel so much more accomplished. You started the day off on the right foot and were productive. End it on the same note.
Establishing routines also improves sleep. Our bodies crave consistency. The more consistent we are, the more consistent we are the better able our bodies are able to anticipate what’s next. If you consistently have a routine before you slide between the covers, your body is going to anticipate it resulting in better, healthier sleep.
What to Do During Your Nighttime Routine
After I get the kids to bed, I have a set of things I do. Then, after I spend some time with my husband, I finish my routine. I set a reminder on my phone so I know when to start if I haven’t began already.
1. Tidy up.
The kitchen is usually pretty tidy. I wipe the counters and table down after dinner and sweep the floor. We load the dishwasher as we go….
But, sometimes nighttime snacks have resulted in dishes that the kids forgot to load into the dishwasher. Then, I throw a tab in and start it.
For the rest of the house, it’s usually pretty manageable, but if it’s needed, I set a timer for 10 minutes and pick up what I can in that time frame. When the timer goes off, I’m finished. It makes it fun to try to race through and see if I can accomplish what’s needed in the time I’ve given myself.
2. Prepare for tomorrow.
I used to think it was dumb to lay my clothes out the night before. Why would I need to do that? Then, I began doing it and realized that even though I’m not picky about what I wear, they’re already ready and waiting in the morning. It’s one less thing I have to think about or mess with when I’m still groggy.
I also check my to-do list for tomorrow. See what the most pressing tasks are so I can prepare myself to work on them first thing in the morning.
This is all simple, but it really does help to be prepared for the next day. It can clear your mind so you’re not worrying about whether or not you have some pressing matter you’ve forgot because you checked your list.
3. Turn off the screen and read a book.
Or journal. Or something that doesn’t involve a screen for at least a half hour before bed.
This one is difficult for me to adhere to, but I try really hard. We do not have a TV in our bedroom and I do not take my phone in the bedroom, so it isn’t impossible. But, sometimes I’d rather veg out on the couch until right before bed.
I’ve stopped doing that and have started reading a book before bed. It really helps. I keep the lights low, but on so I don’t have to strain my eyes, and just read for a half hour or so. Once in a while I’ll journal the days events if the day was particularly stressful so I can get it off of my chest before I close my eyes.
3. Have a glass of tea or water.
When I have the desire, I’ll boil some water and have some of this sleepy time tea before bed. Otherwise, I just have a glass of water.
Staying hydrated is super important for your health. And believe it or not, having a glass before bed isn’t going to make you have to go to the bathroom 10 times at night. It will help you sleep, though.
If you have tea, do not sweeten it with sugar. It will just hype you up and make you crash and try to make sure the tea is caffeine free.
While I know some people can sleep like a rock right after a big cup of coffee, most of us can’t. So avoid the caffeine and sugar if you can.
4. Talk to your husband.
I love this time of day. My husband is gone all day Monday thru Friday. He gets home generally just before the kids go to bed during the week, sometimes after. We talk once in a while during the day, but nighttime is our time to discuss the day… or whatever we feel like.
It’s nice to just sit down with him, alone, and give him some undivided attention. It helps keep our marriage strong and keeps the lines of communication open. Even if it’s just a simple “how was your day”. Focusing on him makes all the difference in the world.
5. Brush your teeth and wash your face.
It amazes me how much better I always feel when I have a clean mouth and a freshly washed face. In the morning, it makes me feel like I can tackle the day. In the evening, it helps me realize that it’s time to relax and wind down for the evening.
6. In bed, lights out.
Make sure you’ve set an alarm and then prepare yourself for a good nights rest. Your body will thank you in the morning when it feels refreshed and well-rested.
Do I always get in a nighttime routine? Nope. But, I do find that the morning after I did my nighttime routine is even better. I definitely find it’s well worthwhile to go through the steps, in a particular order to help my body prepare itself for sleep. I feel better and more rested in the morning and I don’t have as difficult of a time falling asleep.