Nightly routines. Yep. I'm going there, here on the blog and on the podcast, too. Did you catch this week's episode?
I know I have not been a fan of routines in the past, and that's still true. I even made a podcast about it, where I talked about ditching my morning routine (right here!). I'm a person who finds most structure restricting & excessive, and I definitely don't like a lot of it in my downtime. A lot of structure doesn't feel restful to me, it feels like my work day is just continuing. I definitely need time to "do nothing," but that doesn't mean that all structure is useless to me.
Lately, I've been craving the comfort of a little consistency. Since I can set my schedule however I'd like, sometimes that means that my days look drastically different from each other, and I've been feeling a little scattered about it - trouble sleeping, higher anxiety, more irritable. I felt that bringing in a little more routine to my nighttimes might help wind me down after a day full of creativity, vulnerability & showing up. So far, I was right.
But, I knew I couldn't just fill my night with arbitrary things that I felt pressured to check off every night. I knew that a long routine like that would only wind me up more, and that's the last thing I wanted. I knew I needed to create a routine that both wound me down & kept my emotional energy and vibration high, so I got to work constructing a very simple, minimal routine.
Since I'm the type of person who needs to turn their brain off at the end of the day, I decided to pick only the most integral parts of a good night, and make the routine from there. I looked at the steps in my routine as Pillars, leaving lots of room between them to breathe & flow as you wish, while still taking care of myself and my vibration.
This left me with a super minimal routine of 4 things that really help move the needle when it comes to improving my night & feeling my joy. None of these things are overly complex or taxing, and I really love how easy it is to go through this routine while still staying present & enjoying my night with my boyfriend, who works out of the house during the day.
Here's how my super minimal, framework-style nighttime routine works:
eat a good dinner
I'm not the best about eating regularly during the day. I'm notorious for either completely forgetting to eat, or just grazing mindlessly through the day, one leaves me exhausted & shaky, the other empties my fridge & makes me bloated. Neither is a super sexy option, but ultimately, during the day, I don't think to eat. My body doesn't respond well to eating first thing, and I like to work a little bit in the morning on an empty stomach, it helps keep me sharp.
As much as I'm working on it, I knew that since I tend to forget to eat properly, I needed to include a good dinner that leaves me feeling full & satisfied. This way, I can be sure I'm eating at least ONE good meal a day, so if I ate like crap (or not at all), my body isn't running on fumes & I have a nice full belly when I'm trying to sleep.
80% of the time, this meal is pretty healthy, with lots of veggies, but it doesn't HAVE to be - my priority is just to feel full, because that really helps me sleep. If I'm in the mood for something more indulgent (or even fast food) I definitely work this in once-in-a-while, but I generally try to keep it balanced & at least incorporate some veggies and hummus or a healthy snack if I need something later on.
decide on my clothes the night before
I'm not someone who's very productive working in my pyjamas from the couch. Sometimes that's how it is, but generally, I'm most productive when I'm looking cute, wearing a little makeup + bra, and I even have a pair of inside shoes I wear.
Mind you, these outfits are not business casual, they're simple + comfy. For instance, yoga pants + a comfy, cute top is pretty much my uniform, no jewelry and just a little makeup. Since my outfit is so simple, with only a few main pieces, I don't need to lay it out or make a big show of it. This step is as simple as having an idea of what I want to wear & making sure it isn't dirty. If I have to get it from the dryer in the morning, that's totally fine.
For me, my favourite act of self-love is making sure to carve out time for myself. Most nights, this looks like netflix & snacks with my honey. Making myself a priority without putting adding any pressure to "perform" is a game-changer for me.
Since I like to leave lots of time for myself within my nighttime routine, I sometimes work in other nice things. A minimal routine like this really leaves room for me to flow to whatever feels good without feeling rushed or exhausted. Sometimes, when I'm feeling it, I'll work in other, more self-care style things like a DIY facial, taking a bath or sauna, going for a walk, exercising, or doing something creative (like painting, drawing, writing, or playing music).
plan the next day
This probably isn't news to you, but planning out your priorities in advance really helps to level up your productivity AND it saves your mental energy. It helps give me the reassurance that I can hit the ground running the next day, it gets my distracting, end-of-the-day thoughts out of my brain and on paper, and I don't have to keep going through my list all night so I don't forget anything.
This is something you can keep really simple. If you like apps, you can even just use the reminders tool on your phone to do this, if you're a pen-and-paper kind of person, then a post-it on your desk could even do the job. If you want to get a little more functionality, you could use project planning software like Asana or Trello, or a paper day planner works great too.
In the past, I've mainly used Asana + a bullet journal to stay on top of my day-to-day, but I recently found a tool I wanted to share with you called the Productivity Planner. I still use Asana to manage the moving parts of my business projects, but I'm really loving the productivity Planner for two reasons: It's a non-digital way to plan my life (I love apps, but too much screen time can leave me a little overstimulated, so a paper planner is ideal) and it does seem to be boosting my productivity. It's a planning system as well as a planner, and if you're into it, I'd highly suggest you check it out, because here I am: giving them a free promo without a sponsorship. Needless to say, I'm a big fan & I've been sharing a peek into my planner over on my Instagram.
So, that's my super minimal, pillar/framework style night time routine. I'm so, so thrilled that I finally figured out a way to make nighttime routines work for me + my life, and on top of that, I'm so excited that I get to share it with you, now that I've worked out the kinks. I hope you try it out for yourself! If you do, leave a comment on the podcast or the here on the blog & let me know!
PS: If you loved this post, it's also a podcast! You can hear me go more in-depth on the topic by playing it in the players on this post OR listening on iTunes or Spotify!
PPS: You know I'm obsessed with Instagram, right? On my podcast, I always like to share a little about my week + what's new with me, but Instagram's really where the party's at for me. GO give me a follow! More of a Facebook kinda person? I have a page you can check out AND a private group for sensitive creatives (you can sign up here!)