Morning routines are all the rage but I believe there is something to be said for starting the night before with an intentional evening ritual or routine. When we end our day on a pleasant note with everything set up to begin the next day, we have a much better chance of getting off on the right foot in the morning.
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Create an Evening Ritual
Our daily routines and rituals can and should change over time. We can’t expect to set up routines and never alter them again. Life and circumstances change and so should our routines.
I first wrote about creating an evening ritual back in 2016 which you can see here:
Some of what I wrote was aspirational rather than my current reality. It’s interesting to see that I have indeed incorporated some of what I set out to do. Not all, but some.
As we enter this new season of Autumn (in the Northern Hemisphere) as well as the ongoing pandemic, it seems a good time to re-evaluate our routines and fine-tune them if necessary.
My biggest challenge is getting in bed at a reasonable hour. Part of this is habit but part of it is that our dog is terminally ill and sometimes has trouble settling down at night. David has to get up early for work so I’m usually the one who stays up until Shiloh is resting comfortably. This is the season we are in and I’ve made peace with it. I just do the best I can.
I do, however, have more control over the rest of my evening routine. This is what it the ideal version looks like:
End the Work Day…
-Clean kitchen after dinner
-Take care of pets
-Shut down my office for the day
-Turn down bed, spray pillows with homemade lavender spray
-Choose clothes for next day
Review Day and Plan for Tomorrow…
-Make to-do list for next day
-Outline daily bullet journal page for next day
-Make cup of hot tea or cocoa (David makes me a martini on Friday nights)
-Go to my chair in our library
-Read/watch YouTube or a movie/listen to albums on our stereo
-I have been watching one or two episodes of The Golden Girls most nights just before I go to bed. I think it’s important to laugh every day and this show always elicits much laughter from me.
We have developed a general weekly routine for our evenings since the pandemic began:
Monday: David goes next door to Chris’ house and they watch an action film together. This is my night to browse through magazines.
Tuesday: This is supposed to be our night to listen to vinyl records on our stereo. Honestly, we haven’t been doing this but it’s the goal.
Wednesday: Pre-pandemic, this was choir rehearsal night for me. I haven’t replaced this with anything in particular but as I am writing this it occurs to me that I could find some outstanding choral performances to watch on YouTube. If you have any suggestions please send them my way.
Thursday: I go to Chris’ house and we watch a film together. We usually choose a foreign film or an old classic movie. David stays at our house with Shiloh and works on one of the models he is building (a new hobby for the pandemic).
Friday/Saturday: A dear friend of ours in New Orleans is a Bourbon Street musician who has been home since things shut down in March. He does a Facebook live show from his living room every Friday and Saturday night. His girlfriend films it while also reading the comments and taking requests. They do a great job interacting with the viewers so it almost feels like you’re there with them. Some nights he does a music trivia game or Pictionary (he’s an artist, too). David makes us each a cocktail and we enjoy the show together.
Sunday: Chris, David and I watch a Disney movie or comedy together on Sunday nights. I’ve been cooking “breakfast for dinner” on these nights but I’m going to switch things up. I think I’m going to start cooking a big Sunday dinner late afternoon and then we’ll just have homemade popcorn and hot cocoa with our movie.
I wrote about having a theme of sorts for each night about this time a year ago:
One thing we haven’t been doing is a weekly game night. We’ve played Cards Against Humanity with our daughter and son-in-law via Face Time a few times since the pandemic began. Lisa and I have been talking about making that a regular thing, probably one or two Saturday afternoons a month.
I’d like to play cards with David once in awhile and we are entering what I refer to as “puzzle weather”, too.
Ending the Evening…
-Turn off lights, go upstairs (quietly so I don’t wake Shiloh!)
-Crossword puzzles (I do two or three crossword puzzles on my phone each night)
-Read (If I’m still wide awake after doing the crossword puzzles)
-Lights out by 11 or 11:30 (ideally!)
Do all my evenings look like this? No. But it’s the goal and I’m doing pretty well overall. I just keep working at it and tweaking things as needed.
What about you? Do you have an evening routine or ritual? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
If you could use some help and encouragement in creating your own evening ritual I hosted a challenge in my Make Over Your Life With Dee Facebook group. You can find the related posts via search or feel free to start a discussion at any time. There are sure to be others interested in this topic and willing to share tips and ideas.
And it you really want to dive deep, I highly recommend this course:
Love this book, too…