Do you ever feel fine during the day, but as the shadows start to lengthen and tiredness creeps in, you notice your spirits flagging? And that evening you were looking forward to seems more like a mini-endurance test to cope with before you can go off to bed?
One way to improve your evening is to be very careful what you allow into both your body and mind at this time of day.
Eat early, and keep your meal light. Ration sugary snacks and go for healthier treats instead. It’s fine to have a glass of wine with your meal, but stick to just the one. Although alcohol might give you a temporary lift, its overall effect is to dampen the mood.
Beware what you watch! Gory cop dramas, unsettling documentaries, late-evening news bulletins that focus on all aspects of human misery are not the ideal media to see you happily into the night.
Although it’s good to stay informed about what’s going on in the world, settling to sleep with a brain disturbed by heart-rending real-life stories can upset sleep, and achieves nothing. Better to read and reflect on the news when you are fresh and able to take a more balanced view of global matters.
Evenings of solitude can be a tough call, particularly if you’ve lost a partner to widowhood or divorce, or you’re harking back to times when you had kids around at home.
Be alert. Take notice if you start to slide into a one-woman pity party, and take action to shake yourself out of the doldrums. A simple exchange of texts with an understanding friend can give you a laugh and lift your mood.
Ask a friend round for supper, or have a chat on the phone or online with someone who you know will cheer you up. Stay away from the drains at this time of day – those folk who only want to complain and share their own problems.
Look around for a local book club or other organisation that meets in the evening. An hour or two of fun socialising can really take you out of yourself and whisk the blues away. Of course, all safety measures should be fully utilised.
An early evening exercise class gets endorphins flowing and sets you up for a relaxed evening. If you prefer to stay home, how about tackling an online exercise session? Or simply dance around in your own space to your favourite music.
Set yourself a regular bedtime, and don’t wait until you’re exhausted and longing to drop into bed. Allow time to unwind gently.
End the day with a dose of loving care towards yourself. As you remove make up and prepare for bed, pause to give yourself a smile in the mirror. It makes me laugh to wink at my reflection – it’s like saying, “You and I are in this together, kid, and we’re doing OK!”
Give yourself a gentle scalp massage, followed by light fingertip tapping along your brow bone and round the eye sockets to relax the eyes.
At night is the perfect time to practice gratitude. I write just a few grateful words about the day on a scrap of coloured or patterned paper, and add them to my collection in my Joy Jar. That favourite article lives right beside my bed where I can actually see how much there is to be grateful for.
Finally, fold your arms across your heart, lovingly rub your shoulders and upper arms and give yourself a great big hug. Say out loud to yourself, “Thank you. I love you. Enjoy a peaceful night.”
Do you have an evening routine that helps you feel good at the end of the day? What do you do to improve your mood if you notice you’re feeling low? What’s your favourite way to end the day? Please share your insights and inspirations below.