Posted: October 4, 2018 at 6:37 pm
One of our goals for this year has been to build better routines for ourselves, ideally in both the early morning and late evening hours. Routines can elevate productivity, improve sleep quality (and quantity when done right), and just generally make for healthier, happier daily living. It can organize your day better from start to finish, and allow for a bit more time to breathe and reflect.
With that in mind, we decided to spend some time exploring some elements of healthy morning and evening routines, and see what may (or may not) fit into our own busy lives.
Here’s what we’ve found.
Exercise. This can be a hard one to make time for if you aren’t a morning person. But getting in at least a 20-30 minute walk before the day starts can be reflective, quiet time for yourself while also offering enormous health benefits. It has the bonus of giving you a boost of energy to get your day going.
Plan the day. Whether this is loading your Outlook calendar with a task list or simply making a daily to-do list, spend some time examining what the day’s highest priorities are, what the lowest are, and schedule them into your available time accordingly. If you have a big, intimidating task on the docket, break it down into more approachable chunks. Consider knocking your biggest task off the list earlier in the day, if possible.
Make at least one connection a day. Plan a coffee, lunch, dinner or even exercise date with a friend, colleague or family member, or, if the day is simply too loaded for that kind of time commitment, send a text, note or letter to at least one person each day. You can also make future date to meet someone for lunch, and that would count too.
Pack a meal. If you work outside of the home, try to pack at least one meal or your coffee for the day. Meal planning is a great element to add to your weekend routine, and it can help immensely with this. But more importantly, it can both cut back on costs AND allow you to be healthier.
Let the light in. Open the curtains and blinds as soon as you make up in the morning. Natural light aids in improving your mood, enables the performance of basic tasks, and helps to control your body’s natural Circadian rhythms. It may also allow you to save on some energy costs by turning lights off sooner.
Switch off the devices. We hear this all the time, but it isn’t JUST to start to quiet the mind. Where natural light is good for your Circadian rhythms, the light emitted from screens is bad. It can interfere with your sleep, and seeing work e-mails late at night can be cause stress that may also keep you up longer than is ideal.
Read. Try reading instead, even if you only last for 10-15 minutes of it. Pick up a good book or magazine, or make it family time and read to your children for a few minutes before everyone heads to bed.
Try meditation exercises. There are several apps for this now available, and while it may seem awkward at first, meditation can be hugely beneficial for your sleep and general anxiety.
Journal. The bullet journal craze can help you get started here. Write down the day’s highlights, low lights, worries, concerns or even reminders for the next day. There are also cool 3- and 5-year journals out there, where you record a few lines about your day and then return to the page one year later, so you can see what you were up to 365 days prior. It doesn’t have to be intimidating, but reflection is never a bad thing.
Lower your temperature. The ideal sleeping temperature is between 65 and 72 degrees. Like darkness, it’s a natural signal to our bodies that it’s time to go to sleep. Set your thermostat accordingly, open windows, take a cool shower, and make sure bath time is a good 1-2 hours before bed, so you have plenty of time to cool off.
What are your morning and evening rituals? Share with us in the comments!