How to make the most of your evenings

Our top tips

Article

Nights may be darker, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still get plenty out of your evenings. Here are our top tips for what you can do:

Plan

Decide how you want to spend your evening and then make space for that to happen. This might mean making minor changes to existing commitments with your partner, family or friends. Establish what time you have available and what you need to put in place to enjoy these few hours.

Unplug

Technology is a wonderful thing, but a constant preoccupation with the internet, social media, screen-scrolling, television channel hopping and gaming consumes time and disconnects you from yourself and your loved ones. During the evening, unplug or limit your use of your computer, phone and other electronics. It’s better for wellbeing and evidence suggests it can lead to a more restful night’s sleep.

Exercise

Ease the day out of your mind and muscles with gentle exercise. Try yoga, tai chi, a short cycle ride or a stroll in the park.

Meditate

A brief early-evening meditation can clear the day’s noise and lets you step into the later hours feeling calm and refreshed.

Embellish

It’s the little things that often make the difference. Embellish your cosy evening space by lighting scented candles or playing soothing music or snuggling up in your favourite blanket.

Create

Evenings offer a wonderful time to get creative. Start that writing or art project you’ve always wanted to do. Learn to sew or knit. Take up pottery. Experiment!

Read

There is nothing quite like spending an evening engrossed in a good story. Reading will help you detach from the day and is one of the most popular pre-sleep rituals.

Write

Put pen to paper and write down your thoughts, feelings and ideas in a journal. This evening ritual lets you release the mind’s chatter so you can look forward to a restful sleep.

Organise

Write your to-do list. Do all the small chores that will bring you peace of mind and prepare you for the next day. This is exactly what author Leo Babauta of the Zen Habits series does. He will spend part of his evening tidying up, preparing food and generally getting ready to start a new day with freshness and purpose.

Reflect

How has your day been? How do you feel? Celebrate your joy and achievements. Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the US, had a dedicated daily schedule and a specific evening review. Every night he asked himself: ‘What good have I done today?’. This evening ritual only took a few minutes, but provided honest reflection and encouraged him to achieve more good in his life.

Appreciate

Take a few moments to appreciate what’s in your life. Write about it in your journal or add a note to your gratitude jar. Appreciating and expressing gratitude for all that is positive and loving in your life is a good way to close the evening.

Stargaze

On a clear night, find a few moments to look at the stars before you go to bed. It’s deeply calming and will put your day and any troubles into perspective.

Sleep

A refreshing night’s sleep is the goal at the end of a well-spent evening. Establish a good routine. Know exactly how many hours you need to be at your best and what you have to do to ensure you’ll be well rested and revitalised when you wake.

  • Words: Carol Anne Strange
  • Illustration: Sara Thielker
  • Article extract from issue 10 of Breathe – order a copy here or the digital edition here
  • Subscribe to Breathe magazine here

Responses (2)

  1. Gaylene Wallace
    January 26, 2018 at 10:40 am · Reply

    Awesome article..hard living alone and trying to nudge yourself when its required

  2. Edwina Emery
    January 29, 2018 at 10:04 pm · Reply

    I’ve taken up volunteering too. I help out with the girl guides on Thursdays and occasional weekends conservationing with the national trust. It’s a great way to fill am empty evening. Such fun too

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