Lately I've been loving my evening routine. I haven't always had such a structured evening routine or intentionally spent so much time on myself before getting into bed, but now that my routine has evolved I find myself looking forward to it every night. The parts that include getting the boys ready for bed are pretty easy and enjoyable but I especially enjoy my evening habits that are just to help me wind down and relax. I know our evening routine will change so much once our baby arrives so I wanted to capture what my evenings look like right now.
We usually eat dinner around 5:30 or 6 p.m. and so are finishing between 6 and 6:30 p.m. The boys bathe every two or three days so sometimes it's a bath/shower night and we'll oversee that. I love them all clean and in their pajamas which I've taken to just calling jams. If it's not a bath night we'll play/hang out/do art/wrestle/tickle until it's time for changing into jams.
After dinner is also when I start thinking about my own evening routine and winding down. Soon after dinner I go get a flosser (these flosser sticks have turned me into a daily flosser; super happy about it!) and floss, sometimes while I'm running a bath for one of the boys, and then brush my teeth. I loathe being tired and still needing to floss and brush my teeth and wash my face so I find it satisfying to get this done early while I still have energy. I also change into my own pajamas: my favorite Tommy John lounge pants, a long tank top, and cozy socks. This time of year I'm also wearing fuzzy slippers.
As the boys are changing and brushing teeth we turn on the sound machine in their room and turn one on in our room as well. We only started using a sound machine in our room last year and now I'm obsessed with it. Just turning it on seems to signal to my body to relax. I'll often turn it on during the day if I need a few minutes to reset by myself. When I turn on our sound machine I've also taken to lighting an evening candle that I keep on our dresser. Currently we have one from local maker Vim & Vigor. It's a little ritual that I've come to love: a cozy light and soothing scent to draw us into the bedroom and get ready for sleep. Around this time I'm also trying to turn off my phone and put it away on my closet shelf. (I also try to stop checking it for anything after 5 p.m. and only use it for playing music.)
Chris or I will read to the boys while the other cleans up after dinner if it needs to be done or gets ready for bed. It's almost hard to believe we used to have to split up and each put one boy to bed! That routine will be coming back to our lives soon with the arrival of our baby girl. We're so lucky that the boys go to bed really well. We read for fifteen or twenty minutes, tuck them in, kiss them, and dim their light (we turn it all the way off after they're asleep). Sometimes they'll call us back for something (we forgot their water bottles, Dashiell is breathing too loud, my leg is sore...) but usually they go right to sleep. They are usually asleep between 7 and 7:30 p.m. but we still have days when they are so tired they're asleep before 7 p.m. especially on active weekends. Early bedtimes forever and ever.
Once the boys are in bed my evening routine feels even more relaxing. Next I'll wash my face and apply moisturizer. Since my Year of Kelsey I have loved taking care of my skin and have started accumulating products to reflect this love. After hearing a friend rave about it I'm loving the Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish face wash + cleansing cloth. The sequence of using a thick cleanser plus a warm cloth to remove it feels luxurious. Following that, a couple times a week I'll use a toner and exfoliator. Then I always apply some kind of moisturizer. I was recently gifted several Kiehl's products (thank you, Avi!) and have been using the ultra facial cream and daily reviving concentrate. I also love my Paula's Choice eye cream.
With clean teeth and a cleansed, moisturized face I get out the down quilt that I sleep under. Chris is a hot sleeper so I use a twin sized quilt just for my side. Before getting into bed I fill my Hydroflask with ice water. I've found that even in the winter I love having ice water to drink when I'm thirsty at night. Then I climb in bed and get out my Line A Day journal that I keep in my bedside table drawer and jot down what happened that day. Sometimes I'll get out my journal and write a bit as well. (Which reminds me that I need to get a lap desk to make it easier to write in bed.) Then I'll grab the book I'm reading and read for thirty minutes to an hour until I'm sleepy. When I turn off my light it's always before 9 p.m. but often before 8:30 p.m. with the exception of nights when I have my High Fitness cardio class and on book club nights. Sometimes on regular nights I'll turn out my light as early as 8 p.m.! I love those nights. By this time Chris is just about always already asleep.
As you can see, we are an early to bed and early to rise household. And we love it that way. It lets us get 7 - 9 hours of sleep and still get up early which we also love to do. I've become a bit of a sleep evangelist during this pregnancy and especially since reading Why We Sleep which opened my eyes to how critical sleep is for our health. There's no better way to start the day than with the feeling of a great night sleep and my evening routine feels like the prelude to setting myself up for great sleep.
What evening routines or habits do you have that help you wind down?