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Evening rituals complete your day

Some time ago I wrote about the power of morning rituals and how they set you up for success.  Evening rituals can be just as powerful to end your day. They add a sense of completion, build confidence, and set you up for the next day.

If you think about it, your evening rituals can have a significant impact on how your next day goes. A good evening can translate into a good morning. Unfortunately, a bad evening often leads to a not-so-good next day.

I think of rituals as mindful practices that you make that can be come habits. I have evening habits, or rituals, that make a difference. And, when I feel off one day, I can often trace the cause to the previous evening.

Here are some rituals to consider.

Review your day.

Take time to look back on the day and see what worked for you. At the end of his day, Benjamin Franklin asked himself “What good have I done today?” It was a follow up to his morning question of “What good shall I do this day?”

Consider what you learned. It’s not always something specific to a task, like a new way to use the software you just purchased or a shortcut to one of your art techniques. It could also be something that you learned about yourself. Maybe you learned that something specific frustrates you, and you need to find a solution. Maybe you realized that you need to practice “good enough is good enough” more often.

Look at what you are grateful for. This applies to both your work and your life. Gratitude is so powerful.

Look at tomorrow

Now that you’ve reviewed how well your day went and what you are grateful for, look at what is on the agenda for tomorrow. Then write down what you want to accomplish. This should just be two or three things.

One of the goals for planning for tomorrow today is that you do end the day with a clear mind.

For many people clearing the mind of what is left to do is the key to a good night’s sleep. Once you’ve moved the item from your brain to a “to do” list, your brain is free to relax. You aren’t taxing it trying to remember. I’ve also read that this lets the subconscious work on the problems while you are asleep.

I like to do this review and planning fairly close to the end of the “work day,” usually just before or after dinner. I find that if I put it off until much later, I get keyed up and want to get back to work.

You might even consider creating a checklist or system to be sure you do both the review and planning.

Unwind and relax

Find some way that lets you ease into your home environment. This could be something as simple as a nice family dinner, listening to some music, or attending a yoga class. Other ideas include taking time for your hobbies, playing with the family pets, taking a walk, taking a hot bath, journaling or reading a non-business book or novel. This should be pleasurable for you.

And, speaking of unwinding, watch the time where you are zoned out in front of the television. Studies have shown that over time too much television can affect both your analytical and creative thinking abilities.


You are likely so keyed into your computer all day that it’s really important that you unplug, particularly at bedtime. Research shows that the blue light from your phone causes problems for your sleep patterns. Your brain interprets this as the sun’s brightness and stops producing melatonin. This leads to poorer sleep as well as aging you faster.

You can try one of the numerous apps designed to filter the artificial light. These include i.flux for your IOS computer; Sunset Screen; Twilight; Iris; and NightShift, which is built into your iPhone.

And, it’s not just the blue light from your phone that throws your body out of whack. It’s also the light from the television, the cable box, the clock, and even the nightlight. Create a ritual where you don’t have these lights in the bedroom. Your body will thank you for it.

Get a good night’s sleep

Research shows that most adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep for optimal health. Sleep deprivation is a real problem for many, and it can adversely affect your creativity. What if you are in that sleepy set? Here are some tips, other than those above.

Rule out that the sleepiness is not due to a medical issue or medications that you are taking.

Create and try to stick to a regular sleep schedule, particularly one that is geared to your circadian rhythm. Go to bed and get up at the same time, every day, even weekends. Over time, you’ll learn the right times for your body.

Regular exercise and healthy eating will also affect your sleep, so pay attention to both.

Your turn!

What are your evening rituals? Mine include the day’s review and setting tomorrow’s agenda, a family dinner, a walk with the dog, time away from the computer and a good night’s sleep.

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6 Responses to “Evening rituals complete your day”

  1. Lois Hallock said:

    I couldn’t agree with you more! Being an organizer myself, this has been a lifelong battle to keep the evening discipline. When my kids were young we said “no TV or video games before 8pm” to encourage focus on homework, creative hobbies, or reading. Now they are grown up and launched – and my hubby and I have reinstated the rules for ourselves as we found ourselves slipping into chaos mode. Now I use the time to pack a lunch for the next day, fold laundry, load the dishwasher, make tomorrow’s to do list, set out clothes and set up coffeemaker for the morning. Sometimes I pop into the quilt studio and sew a block – and then find myself so drawn in that 8pm passes with not a thought of TV. I figure when I am incapacitated in a Adult Care facility one day, the nurses will park my wheelchair in front of a TV and it will all be new to me!

  2. Morna said:

    Lois, I like “slipping into chaos mode.” It can happen without much thought. And, I’ve been there!

  3. Sue Choitz said:

    I agree, it has been something I have been working on in the last few weeks. I have added rituals. and come up with some of the same ideas and results as Lois.

    I’m wasn’t good at doing my dinner dishes. . . It’s just me and I dont have many dishes . . . so . . . I’ll do them tomorrow, but then I was not happy in the morning when I was trying to make my coffee in the mess. For the last 2 weeks I have made that a part of my evening. I now get up to a clean kitchen and a clean cup sitting on the Keurig machine. Punch the button and go. Love it.

    I used to plan my day in the morning. Thought it was best. . . frest start. Then mid-day, I would realize there was something left over from yesterday that I forgot. Squeeze it in and something else often got squeezed out. I do my planning at the end of my “work day”. Its easier to remember what needs to be done. And those things that I think of mid-day can usually go on tomorrow’s list. Its like I’m staying a day ahead of myself and not running to catch up from yesterday. And like Lois I often find time for a little stitching in the evenings. In fact, I am thinking of making hand work an evening ritual. that means a “new” project. . .Darn 🙂

    Having my to-do list and coffee ready when I get up it Awesome. Its seems to make my day run smoother.

  4. Morna said:

    Sue, love your thoughts of “staying a day ahead … and not running to catch up from yesterday.” Makes the day cleaner. Thanks for adding to the conversation.

  5. Laurie Russman said:

    I have become a fan of bullet journaling and do try to set out the next day’s key tasks..then turn my computer off, plug work phone in to charge, and morph into quilter/pet mom ;). My husband is an amazing cook so we tend to linger over dinner after the furry kids are fed (good) then watch too much tv (bad). December is an exception as there are so many things to stitch, they cannot wait for the weekend so the pooch and I will try to get some creating time in 🙂 🎄.

  6. Morna said:

    Laurie, sounds like you’ve got a system that puts a close on your work day and then honors “you” time. You’re right about December. Looks like you’re turning some of that bad tv time into good creative time. Thanks for chiming into the conversation.

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