This spring, I’ve developed a new evening routine with 5 new anti-stress habits — that actually work!
Hello there, dreamers! Today I wanted to touch on that big white elephant that follows us around all day: stress. More specifically, how to beat it into submission.
I just KNOW you have a long to-do list, busy work schedules, countless social and family functions to attend, growing piles of laundry, dishes to be done and just about everything else under the sun hanging out on your plate. With so much going on, it’s easy to feel a little bit stressed. Of course there are countless ways we can all manage our time and schedules better, but today I wanted to introduce you something that actually works: a better evening routine.
This year, I’ve learned that organizational tips and tricks just aren’t enough to help keep the stress at bay. What I really needed to do? Build a better evening routine to help me close out the day more peacefully and better prep me to take on tomorrow.
My Top 5 Anti-Stress Habits – that Work!
On my quest to improve my weekday evenings, I’ve tried a number of things. Some have been flops – but 5 have been smash successes! And it’s those that I want to talk about today. The anti-stress habits I’ve employed that actually get the job done and make me feel more relaxed.
I know I’m not the only one guilty of tossing and turning, kicking around in your comforter – completely unable to shut off my brain and drift off to sleep.
To fight this, I focused on discovering anti-stress habits that will help me wind down through the evening and make a good night’s sleep come more easily. Yes, some nights I’m guilty of pushing my limits and staying up a bit too late – but overall, there is a BIG improvement in how much more quickly I fall asleep and the quality of the sleep I’m getting. Quality over quantity, right?
Anti-Stress Habit #1: My Gratitude Journal
I spoke more about this in a post last month, but one new habit I’ve adopted is writing in a ‘gratitude journal’ at the end of every day before bed. It doesn’t take me more than 3 to 5 minutes, but I sit back and reflect on the day – listing out the things I’m feeling grateful for. The list can include virtually anything – from the extended daylight hours in the evening, to a special new memory, my health, a friend, etc.
After just a short couple of months, it’s something I’ve come to look forward to every night. Writing in a gratitude journal is generally a great way to put myself in a positive mindset before drifting off to sleep. It’s also a great practice to help keep me focused on the positives of each day – no matter how big or small – instead of the negatives. I highly recommend you give it a try!
Anti-Stress Habit #2: Deep Breaths and Stretching in the Evening
Confession: I carry stress in my muscles – and you likely do too. It’s a nagging problem that always rears its ugly head when things get chaotic. To help ease and release any tense muscles, I began asking around to find some things that might help me. One of my friends was able to tell me all about the bubba og strain, which apparently helps people to relax their muscles, de-stressing their body. Whilst that was helpful, I decided I would try doing nightly stretching sessions and really breathing into the areas that felt tight instead.
This is a general practice of yoga that I’ve done for ages – but this spring I developed into a relaxing, anti-stress habit. Basically, I listen to my body and stretch and breathe into areas that need it – with no pressure. No, I’m not at all focusing on burning any extra calories as this point. It’s not so much a workout – as a time to ease and release any tension to help me feel more relaxed.
Try stretching in the evening for about 5 – 10 minutes and see if you notice any difference. I think you’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll feel more relaxed. Almost like a mini spa session!
Anti-Stress Habit #3: Turning Off the News
Yes – I’m a big advocate for staying informed, but I had to set a cutting off point. With all the tension and unrest in the world, I found myself watching news programs each night until about 10 or so – then having difficulty sleeping because my mind was wired from all of the bad news. It was a vicious cycle and I simply had to do something about it.
And so, I established a new policy: no news (print or television) after 7:30 pm.
Let me tell you, it immediately made a tremendous difference!
After my self-inflicted news intervention, I developed a new evening routine where I absorb the daily news for an hour or so after work – then cut it off to shift my focus onto something more constructive. Be it developing content for Dream in Lace, perusing new recipes, responding to emails, doing my evening stretching routine or even getting back into reading – I enjoy more me time and less news-anxiety time.
We all want to be and stay informed – but we also need to take care of ourselves. If you’re a news junkie, try establishing a limit and see how it works for you.
Anti-Stress Habit #4: A Better Skincare Routine
One of the most important things us ladies can do for ourselves, is establishing a great skincare routine. Personally, I’ve had a morning and evening routine for quite some time – but it’s been RUSHED!
This year, I’ve made an effort to take more time with my skincare and it kills two birds with one stone. My new routine both allows products more time to work – and helps me slow down the pace of a busy day. Obviously there are nights here and there we I kind of cheat my way through, but overall I’ve developed a nightly habit of thoroughly removing makeup, cleansing, toning and moisturizing. Not only does my skin look and feel better – I look and feel more relaxed because of it.
Anti-Stress Habit #5: Planning My Outfit in Advance
One thing I’ve learned, the mom-inflicted habits of my childhood – like a set bedtime and laying my outfit out the night before – were truly for the best. Mom was merely trying to help us keep stress at bay, right?
No, I don’t have a parent over my shoulder ordering me to turn off the lights or make sure my outfit is set for school each night- but I like to pretend I do. Why? Because turning the lights off earlier and making sure my outfit is set for the next day, truly does make for a smoother morning.
It’s amazing how stressful getting dressed in the morning can be – am I right? Sure, I may totally change my mind and go with something else…but at least I have a plan. So, if I dilly dally a bit too long over coffee, I’ve got a plan in place to get me dressed and out the door.
(If you don’t think you want to lay an outfit out every night, at least have one set outfit ready to go in your closet at a moment’s notice!)
What Are Your Best Anti-Stress Habits?
Beating stress is a constant battle and I’d absolutely love to hear your best and tips & tricks for managing stress.
One other thing I do, but am by no means religious about, is shutting down my laptop and cellphone at 9 o’clock. That’s a very effective habit – but understandably hard to do since we’re all trying to manage as much as we can in our off-work hours.
If you have any words of wisdom for a smoother evening routine through the week – share them with the team below!
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Stay stylish and keep chasing your dreams!