Down time after work is one of few sacred opportunities to sit back, veg out and unwind. While it's super important to cash in on this precious R&R, it's equally important to make sure you're prepared for tomorrow.
But don't worry, you don't have to sacrifice tons of time or energy doing this. You can continue with your normal evening routine, complete with snacks and streaming, while also putting new practices in place to make your next work day better before it even begins.
Keep reading for five nighttime tips that will help you wake up relaxed, rested and ready to conquer your work day.
1. Plan ahead.
Prepping your work outfit the night before spares you a lot of unnecessary anxiety in the morning.
Mornings are rushed enough already without the stress of picking an outfit to fit your dress code, the weather and your mood. That's a lot to take on in the morning, especially before coffee.
Plenty of psychological studies can tell you why procrastinating these sorts of daily tasks is a bad idea. In short, putting things off leads to higher levels of stress and poorer work quality, which is definitely not a good way to start the day.
Take a tip from WhoWhatWear: Pick one weekend day to plan, iron and hang all of your work outfits for the upcoming week. This option ensures you have a clear head to piece together awesome looks that boost credibility and confidence.
2. Stretch it out.
Sitting down on the job can really make you tense. Poor posture, excessive typing and even too-tight shoes can all contribute to the aches and pains you feel after a hard day's work.
Nighttime stretching is a simple fix for both the physical and emotional stresses of rough work days, giving you a clean slate to start the next morning off right.
Regular yoga increases muscle performance and flexibility and encourages mindfulness using a combination of stretching and breathing techniques.
Short sessions before bed will keep you properly postured and fiercely focused all through the work day.
3. Open a book.
Indulging in a little literature before bed is effective for more than a few reasons.
Research from the University of Toronto found that readers of fiction, specifically, are more creative and openminded than their unread counterparts.
A good book is also a great distraction from late-night work woes like pending deadlines and an overflowing email inbox.
Just make sure that your literature of choice is actually on paper and not on a screen, since nighttime tech usage can prevent quality sleep.
4. Start a journal.
Taking just a little time to reflect on the day can have a big impact. While bringing work stress home is pretty inevitable, too much for too long can lead to some very toxic habits.
The key is to focus on what you're grateful for that day. Maybe your lunch was extra good, your commute was quick or your boss acknowledged you for your hard work.
Nothing outlandish, just a few small things that brightened your day.
5. Stick to a schedule.
Keeping a consistent sleep schedule ensures you get the shut-eye you need to function properly at work.
The National Sleep Foundation advises that you go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day — including weekends and holidays.
Foregoing the snooze button on a lazy Sunday might feel like torture at first, but your body will thank you later. People who follow a sleep routine and get consistent rest are less likely to experience energy fluctuations throughout the day.