I’m no stranger to rushing around, operating on overload, and essentially resembling a chicken with no head.

In my previous corporate life, I lived life at light speed and in complete chaos for sixteen years. I felt I never had time for the good things I knew I “should” be doing. But running at light speed and neglecting self-care eventually catches up with you.

You burn out.

That’s when your mind and body scream, “Hey, human, please get me off this merry-go-round. Now!

One of the most important things I ever did was to listen to my body and create a calming evening routine. It has made such a difference.

Now, I turn my phone off at least an hour before bed to let my mind unwind. I do a peaceful evening yoga routine followed by a 5 or 10-minute meditation session. This routine relaxes my body, relieves the stress of the day, and puts my mind in a peaceful place.

I use the quiet time right after to wash my face and practice gratitude before going to bed.

If my mind is still a bit over-stimulated, I’ll read a chapter of a book, which usually has me nodding off.

Not everyone has a lot of time in the evenings, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create your own simple routine by making just one change. If you do, you’ll be on your way to bringing calm into your life.

Finding just 5-10 minutes to do one calming activity will get you started.

Here are 7 ideas to try out:

  1. Turn off your phone and be still for 5 minutes. During that quiet time, tell yourself you deserve peace and calm. You deserve to take care of yourself. Always putting everyone else first isn’t fair to you or to them.
  2. No TV or news before bed. Think of it—that time sitting in front of the TV could be used doing something to better your mind, body, and well-being instead. The key is to be mindful of your TV use and know when it’s not giving you the peace and calm you need.
  3. Read a chapter of a book. This is one of my favorites! No matter what book I’ve read, it’s never been a waste of time. In fact, most have changed my life for the better. It doesn’t matter what type of book, although I do recommend something that won’t get you thinking too much. The idea is to calm down.
  4. Yoga. If you’re new to yoga, it’s not super difficult. Yoga is a great way to add some relaxation and exercise to your day. If you’re worried about flexibility, start off with a beginner practice. I use the free Yoga Studio app on my Apple TV. I started with the beginner practice until I felt comfortable to move to intermediate.
  5. Meditate. I don’t meditate regularly. In fact, I find it extremely hard to sit still for more than 5 minutes. When I do manage it, it’s calming and grounding. The constant stream of thoughts in my head slows down and I feel peaceful after.
  6. Practice gratitude. This is one of my favorite parts of my evening routine. Every evening, I take a few moments to think about what I’m grateful for and who I’m grateful for in my life. This practice has the power to change your mindset and your life! It works so well that I use it to combat my desire to buy new things. It calms me and helps me appreciate everything I have.
  7. Journal. Simply getting your thoughts on paper or reflecting on your day has amazing calming and healing powers. I reflect on my day by asking three questions: What went well? What can I improve? What was I grateful for?

Creating a calming evening routine was the best thing I’ve done. Now I wake up feeling refreshed, and fall asleep faster without a million thoughts rushing through my head.

Michelle Summerfield is the founder and writer for The Classy Simple Life. This article was published on Becoming Minimalist.

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