Happier, Healthier, and Productive

10 Ways to Make Your Evenings Happier, Healthier, and More Productive

In my article 8 Simple Ways to Enjoy Life Every Day, I suggested that rethinking your evenings is a great way to get more from life. With this in mind, the following are 10 ways you can make your evenings happier, healthier, and more productive.

1. Find Pleasure in Cooking Your Evening Meal

For many people, preparing an evening meal is just another task at the end of a long day. There are, however, many ways to make cooking more enjoyable. Some suggestions include taking an interest in local produce, increasing your skills in the kitchen by taking cooking classes, and generally just being prepared to experiment when preparing a meal.

2. Skip the Alcohol

There are many benefits to drinking less alcohol, or even none at all. Alcohol is a depressant, meaning it diminishes the function of the central nervous system. Even in low doses, you will probably find that it impairs your concentration, slows your reflexes, and causes you to be drowsy. So if you have things that need doing in the evening, consider giving the alcohol a miss.

3. Switch Off the Television

After a long day, it can be tempting to “relax” in front of the television for most of the evening. Ironically, though, spending your evening in this manner will often leave you feeling even more drained. Switching off the television and engaging in more active pursuits will give you more energy and leave you in a better mood. Plus it is a great way to get things done. For more on this topic, I suggest reading The Amazing Effects of a Weekend Without Television.

4. Exercise

Exercising in the evening is a fantastic way to release the stress that comes from a day at work, school, or home. Just be careful, though, as exercising too late in the evening may lead to sleep problems. Generally you should allow 1 to 3 hours to wind down after a work out so that you can properly fall asleep.

5. Get Out of the House

Staying at home every evening is a recipe for boredom. Some ideas to get out of the house include having a picnic, watching the sunset, going for a walk, eating out at a favorite restaurant, going to the theatre or taking an evening class.

6. Invite Company Over

If you don’t feel like leaving the comfort of your own home, why not bring your friends to you? Modern technology has done a great job in helping people stay connected, but it really can’t replace the experience of being in the presence of your friends.

7. Review Your Day

A simple, yet extremely powerful, self improvement tool is the daily review. I suggest towards the end of your evening finding 5 to 15 minutes to reflect on the day that has just been. You may choose to ask yourself some specific questions, such as “what am I grateful for?” or “what am I resisting?” Another idea is to keep a journal so that you can work through your thoughts and feelings. If time is an issue, consider keeping a one sentence journal – it will still help you reflect on your day!

8. Relax
If you want to sleep well, make sure you are relaxed before going to bed. Some relaxation ideas include meditation, having a bath, and swapping massages with your partner. These will help by slowing your brain waves, decreasing your respiration rate, and lessening any muscle tension in your body.

9. Read

Shimon Peres, the former Israeli prime minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner, once said: “If you eat three times a day you’ll be fed. But if you read three times a day you will be wise.” Not only is reading a book a relaxing way to wind down before bed, but it gives you the opportunity to get inside some of the greatest minds that have walked the planet (autobiographies), encounter life changing ideas (self improvement) or simply explore different worlds (fiction).

10. Go to Sleep When You Feel Tired

Don’t underestimate the importance of a good nights sleep. Apart from leaving you yawning and feeling drowsy, inadequate sleep will impair your reaction time and mental functioning the next day. So when should you go to sleep? In my opinion, the best time is when you feel tired. Go to sleep too early and you may suffer the frustration of lying awake trying to fall asleep. Go to sleep too late and you may not get enough sleep.

Peter writes about how to enjoy life at The Change Blog. If you enjoyed this article, you may wish to download his free e-book, A Year of Change.

  • linda

    yeah – you are obviously not a mom!
    These are great ideas, and I would love to be able.

  • http://www.varsityblah.com/about Eugene (Editor, Varsity Blah)

    Great post, John! I recently read The 4-Hour Workweek, Stumbling Toward Enlightenment, and How to Be Idle. They all talk about how we need to shut off the constant information overload. So far it’s been working great for me!

    Basically, I’ve been on a media “fast” for the past two weeks, which means no reality content, including TV, radio, and newspapers. It’s been such a dream! If something really serious happens, you’ll find out. Save your time and energy for something else. Most of that stuff is garbage anyway.

  • http://www.varsityblah.com/about Eugene (Editor, Varsity Blah)

    Sorry, I meant Peter!

  • http://www.smarterfitter.com/blog monica

    1, 2, 3 and 9 are high on my list. the alcohol is probably the hardest one for me to avoid (a glass of wine with dinner is so nice, but it definitely hampers my productivity because it makes me sleepy!).

    Here’s another one – limit blog-reading time to 30 minutes or less. Not trying to rob you of traffic, I swear. =)

    great post – thanks!

  • http://www.etavitom.com etavitom

    what a great post! simple, yet profound…. thanks so much.

  • http://www.cr-studios.com Chad Reitsma

    Great points, I use several of them myself (daily review+meditation) thanks for the others!

  • http://bodynmindbalance.blogspot.com Rajshekhar

    good article.
    lets be in touch

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  • Alex

    Great post, once again!
    Thanks for the tips Peter

  • http://tigeeer8.Stumbleupon.com Barry Wah Lee

    Yeah even a Mum can do all of this.
    In the zone, the kids will be less likely to run amok.
    In enjoying cooking, I would envisage kids loving to give a hand.
    An even comment even so,
    and the first time I have enjoyed a thing and then read comments not to see a bunch of very scary people giving comments.It is like there is a machine dong these comments meant to hurt and to show hurt.Oh well, it is best to know how people feel,even if it comes out like poor graffiti.You can get some insight out of anything.

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  • Paige

    If you like this article which I did very much, you should read this one!
    http://www.transworldynamics.com/content/view/45/18/

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  • http://www.kostservicesinc.com kost services

    These are great ideas, and I would love to be able.

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