How to create a soothing evening routine to unwind
Mental Health Tips

How to create a soothing evening routine to unwind

So tell me if this is a familiar scene, it’s 1 am, you have to wake up within 5 hours but the last episode of the latest hit show on Netflix is too good to miss.

Most of us have similar stories where we are awake till late night only to feel groggy and inactive the next morning. So do we change that? How do we wake up refreshed for a new day? Simple by creating a soothing evening routine which allows us to organize for the next day as well as feel rested.

An evening routine consists of a series of activities to help you greet the new day with full energy. There are some things you can do to be better organized for the next day while some other activities to help you relax and unwind before bedtime.

This article will give you some practical tips to create a relaxing evening routine and help you prepare better for the next day as well as slow down, practice some self-care to give your body and soul some much needed rest.

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Activities for a Soothing Evening Routine

These evening routine activities are categorized into 2 parts. First part relates to all the productive activities that will help you to prepare for the next morning. The second part and my favorite are all things that make up for a cozy evening and allow you to gradually unwind for the day.

Most of these things, especially the organizing part, can be completed in under an hour or two, considering how much time you wish to spend on each task. Choose activities which you think will make your evenings better.

Evening Chores to Prepare for the next day

It can be so useful to create an evening routine that prepares you for the next day. Mornings, especially on weekdays can be crazy hectic so any activity that gives you a head start for the next day is worth doing.

It will help you from constantly thinking about next morning’s chores as well as make your mornings more peaceful where you actually get time for healthy activities like exercise or enjoying your breakfast.

Here are some evening activities you can do to make your mornings stress-free. Before doing these chores ask yourself “what can I do tonight to make my mornings less hectic?”

Since this list mentioned here is long, select your chores wisely.

Cleaning bedroom before sleeping

A) Tidy up your Room

If you don’t get time to tidy up your room in the mornings, aim to do some light dusting and organization in the evenings. If daily dusting is not necessary do it on alternate days or maybe thrice a week. Either way, don’t ignore this important task because it’s the little things that add up.

I know how cumbersome these tasks are which is why I recommend you to set an alarm for 10 minutes and then go about arranging your bed, make-up dresser, maybe organizing your work desk etc. Always try to complete these tiny chores within the set time-frame otherwise procrastination will set in.

B) Clean your bathroom

I don’t think I even need to say that cleaning your bathroom regularly is important for your hygiene. You can set aside 10 minutes to clean your bathroom at least 3 days a week as it will prevent any unnecessary blockage and dirt accumulation. Also regular cleaning will lessen your overall cleaning time.

c) Set out your clothes for the next day

Setting out your next day’s work outfits is so important if you generally spend too much time selecting your outfits. To preserve your sanity during busy mornings make sure you don’t ignore this very important chore.

In fact if you can arrange your entire week outfits on Sundays it will give you so much mental peace and help you tackle those horrible Monday blues.

Also if you head to gym in the morning keep your gym clothes and shoes out and ready, so that you don’t really have an excuse to skip your exercise routine.

b) Arrange your handbag

Your handbag is one place which gets messy really quickly with bits of paper, receipts, long lost scrunchies, clips, loose change and what not.

So clean your handbag at least once a week and make sure all the essential stuff like car keys, wallet, house keys etc are together in one place. Get a purse organizer to make your life easier.

Evening Routine – Meal Prep and Kitchen Organization

young woman doing her evening meal prep

A) Do your Meal Prep for next day

If you are into eating healthy and home-cooked meals try to finish as much meal prep for your breakfast and lunch while cooking your dinner.

For example, if you can’t do without your morning coffee, fill up your coffee machine the previous night, place your mug next to the machine so that next morning you only have to switch-on the start button.

If you want to be more efficient, get into the habit of weekly meal planning, it will save you so much time on buying groceries and preparing your meals. Select meals which are nutritious and can be prepared in under an hour or so.

B) Clean your dishes even if you’re tired

You don’t want to wake up to a sink full of dirty dishes, so after having dinner no matter how tired you are, clean your utensils. Here too I’d suggest setting a timer for 10 minutes and maybe put some upbeat music on as you clean your dishes and organize the rest of the kitchen.

Make Your Daily Task List in The Evening

I love making lists, my family says I live for lists (not true!) but yes, having a to-do list psychologically prepares you for the next day and it becomes a reference point, preventing you from forgetting things.

As a fairly good list-maker I am sharing my tips as to what makes a great list and how to create one.

1. Limit your tasks to three most important things. If you can complete three things don’t forget to pat yourself on the back.

2. Though this is totally optional, but I find creating 2 lists one for personal and one for professional stuff makes my life easier. So feel free to ignore this tip if one master list is enough for you. 

3. Always evaluate your lists in the morning to see how much you can achieve realistically, label your chores in terms of priority, staring with the most important task of the day.

My resource library has a daily and weekly planner you can download for free to make you daily task list in the evening.

daily and weekly planner


Soothing Evening Routine Ideas to Unwind

Now let’s get to the cozy and soothing evening activities that allow you to unwind for the day. After all that prep for the next day you need the time to finally relax and prepare for bedtime.

Do a few stretches for better sleep

Doing some stretches before sleeping will help to regulate your sleep. But don’t exert yourself too much, some light workout an hour to 90 minutes before bedtime is perfectly fine.

Try to incorporate a 5-minute stretching routine before bedtime.  Keep your body loose, stretch your arms, neck and shoulders to prevent stiffness in muscles. You can also try the Happy Baby or Ananda Balaasan pose for better sleep.

I have been really digging into yin yoga of late as the stretches help in releasing the tension in your body and help you to feel more peaceful. Here is a video on introduction to yin yoga.

Include some Meditation in Your Evening Routine

Meditating in the evening can be great for relaxing your body, particularly if you are stressed and tired after a hard day’s work. Meditation also helps in regulating your anxious thoughts by calming you down.

Here are some quick meditation tips for your evening routine.

young woman meditating in the evening

A) Simple Breathing Technique

Try clearing your mind by breathing deeply to the count of 5 and then letting your breath out. Whenever you are disturbed by a recurring thought, inhale deeply and exhale until that thought goes away. After a few breaths you should automatically feel sleepy.

B) 4-7-8 breathing technique

The 4-7-8 breathing technique is deceptively simple. All you need to do is, make a whoosh sound and exhale completely through the mouth.

Then inhale slowly and quietly through your nose, to the count of 4 and keep your mouth closed, hold your breath till count of 7 and then exhale through your mouth by making another whoosh sound to the count of 8, remember to exhale completely.

This is one cycle, repeat this cycle three more times for better sleep.

Read a book before bedtime

There is nothing more satisfying than snuggling in bed and reading a good story. Also reading a book before sleeping can help you to sleep better. Read something nice and light that lightens your mood and relaxes you.

If you want to motivate your mind with some self-love and positivity I would recommend you to try 10% Happier by Dan Harris. Here are some more book recommendations you may enjoy.

Related Post: 10 Inspiring Books for Women Entrepreneurs

Write down your day in a journal

Reflect on your day and share your experiences by jotting your thoughts in a journal. We have so many thoughts running across our mind journaling gives you a chance to capture them and become more self-aware.

Use your journal to let your thoughts flow freely, write about anything and everything under the sun. Some of the best ways to use journals are:

  • Practicing gratitude; writing about everything you are grateful for will make you a much happier person in life.
  • Use your journals for some creative inspirations like story writing or doodling.
  • Or last but not the least, use journals for some classic brain dumping and jot down all your happy thoughts, anxieties, and insecurities to unburden the mind. Here are over 130 free journal prompts to help you.

Dim your bedroom lights before dinner

Before dinner dim your bedroom lights so your body is mentally prepared for sleeping. It also helps your sleep hormones, melatonin, to get activated. Keep your bedroom temperature at a cool 20 degrees Celsius to help you sleep better. Also changing your bed sheets and wearing fresh sleepwear can help you relax better. Put on some calming music if it helps to relax you.

Stop using your phone an hour before bed

Stop using your phone an hour before bedtime and while sleeping it is recommended by health experts to keep your phone away from you. The blue light from smartphones interferes with your sleep hormones and makes your brain active instead of slowing it down.

Usage of smartphones till late night is one of the primary reasons for poor sleep in most adults. So keep that phone at least 2 feet away from you while you are sleeping.

Even when you are having dinner, keep your phone away, it is important to savor your meal and enjoy some conversation with your family during dinnertime, since for most families it is the only time when they see each other.

Brush your teeth before sleeping

This is pretty self-explanatory. Ideally you should brush your teeth 30 minutes before bed. Also note don’t drink too much water at night, a full bladder will hamper your sleep.

Some Self care ideas for a relaxed evening ritual

These are some simple self-care ideas which would be perfect for your evening. We all understand how important self-care is for daily stress management; here are some simple self-care ideas which would be perfect for your evening ritual.

young woman bathing for a relaxed evening

A) Bathe with Lukewarm water before sleeping

Having a lukewarm bath before sleeping is the best stress buster. Even if you can’t do it every day, try doing it once weekly and see the difference in your mood. Also adding some Espom salt in your bath can help your body truly relax.

B) Use some essential oils to relax

Essential oils can help to lower your stress levels and promote better sleep. Use essential oils like lavender in a diffuser or sprinkle a few drops of essential oil on your pillow. Rubbing a few drops on wrist, neck, forehead, hands, or feet is also beneficial but do mix undiluted essential oil with a carrier oil like grapeseed, coconut, olive, or sweet almond oil to prevent any skin reaction.

Get a diffuser and some essential oil sets to create the right mood to unwind. I currently love the smell of lemongrass but if that’s too strong for you, use some popular ones like lavender and rose.

C) Drink some herbal tea

Drinking herbal tea, especially chamomile, is known to promote good sleep. Chamomile is known for mild tranquilizing properties that can have a calming effect on you, especially if you have anxiety.

Valerian root and lavender are also known for their sleep inducing qualities. If you suffer from insomnia or chronic sleep disorders you can try sipping any of these herbal teas before bedtime.

D) Don’t Ignore Skincare

Even if you are dead tired remove all traces of make-up before sleeping. Clean your skin using a face wash and a good toner to keep your pores clean. Applying a night cream or moisturizer is also recommended for all skin-types, as your skin needs its hydration while sleeping.

Final thoughts on soothing evening routine

While morning routines are all about productivity, an evening routine is about unwinding and ensuring that your body gets proper rest. I know the list of evening activities mentioned is pretty huge but like I said earlier you don’t have to follow all the activities, start with things that you love or think will help you rest better.

Thank you for staying till the end, before leaving please take a note of these similar articles.

Related Articles:

14 Life-Altering Morning Routine Ideas

20 Important things to do on weekends

15 Ways to Overcome Your Laziness

21 Better Phone Habits to Sleep well


  • Leslie

    I love my little bullet journal, although it’s so new I have no idea what to track yet. I like the two list broken apart by personal & professional tasks. I love a hot cup of tea before!

  • Summer | Self Care Blogger

    I love routines. I have a hard time sticking to them. But, there are great things here I’d love to add and stick to. Journaling and meditation are part of my self care practice but would be great for wrapping up the day too! ?

  • Donna Freedman

    “Keep your phone away at least an hour before sleeping.”

    Yes! This! And keep it OUT OF THE ROOM, or at least put it on “do not disturb,” or you’ll be tempted to check it when you hear tones.