Evenings compress quickly between long days at work and all of our other life commitments. Having a solid weeknight routine in place is one of the ways you can stay refreshed throughout a busy week. Did you know that some studies show routines actually help us conserve brain energy? Any time we’re working off of a plan and we don’t have to make a big decision we’re a little more chill. If you’re looking to add rhythm and decrease stress in your work week (um, yes please!) try improving your weeknight routine.
1. Outsource Dinner Plans
If you’re like me, the evening usually begins with staring blankly into the refrigerator. This is frequently accompanied by an inner monologue over the merits of takeout vs cereal for dinner. No more! As a Blue Apron lover for about six months, they’ve completely upgraded my weeknight dinner game.
Using Blue Apron, I order all my meals for the week in advance, meaning I’m making better nutrition choices and there is no more guesswork (or tedious grocery shopping) to pick out ingredients. A box shows up at my door pre-portioned and ready to get cooking with recipe cards that walk you through how to make the meals. Since they’re all ready in 40 minutes or less, it’s easy to actually make a home-cooked meal on a weeknight. Plans also come portioned for 2-people or in a family plan so you can feed a crowd.
I actually go to the Blue Apron app about once a month for a few minutes (no joke) and set all my meals for the next four weeks. (Unless I’m on the road. Then it’s easy to skip weeks or cancel at any time since there’s no commitment.) This planning process guarantees me healthy dinners during the work weeks that I’m not traveling since all of their meals are between 400-800 calories per serving. Blue Apron also helps keep my food budget in check; meals start at only $8.99 per serving. Weeknight fridge monologues silenced!
2. Stop the Screen Time
We’re all guilty of trading one screen for another when we get home from a long workday. Popping open Instagram or starting to buzz through our favorite blogs is a routine, but you can really improve your weeknight wind down by picking almost any other activity. Consider giving yourself a tech-free evening and picking up a book, doing some spring cleaning, or enjoying any other hobby that gives your mind and your eyes a break from all the blue light. Even better? Self-care isn’t just about big spa days on the weekend! Resist the weeknight urge feel like you need to do something and take a rest. Light a candle, pop on some ambient sound, and just be.
3. Pregame Your Morning
It only takes a few minutes to set yourself up for a productive day. Get your gym clothes together and pack your bag. Be sure your work outfit is laid out (remember accessories!) Program your coffee maker and pull one of your prepped breakfasts to the front of the fridge. Little evening routines like this during the week help keep us humming along when things get busy.
If you’re the kind of gal whose morning to-do list keeps her up at night, take a moment to review your day. Any major successes or notes for your boss to jot down? Action items that keep popping up in your brain? Taking five minutes to jot them down before you get into your personal routine. It will set a relaxing and work-free zone.
4. ….And Your Evening
We often think about pre-gaming our mornings but you can also apply these same prep steps to your evening. One of the best ways to simplify your weeknight routine is to think about it before it’s actually underway! Before darting out the door for work, take a few minutes to consider what little details would make for a welcoming evening at home. Start the dishwasher. Set out your favorite teacup and the book you’re reading on the coffee table. Text a friend and schedule a call to catch up that night. These comforting moments at the end of a long workday can mean the difference between crashing and proper self-care!
5. Become a Sunday Meal Prepper
A few hours of meal prep on Sunday can make a world of difference for your week. If you’re new to meal prep, know that you don’t even have to tackle full meals to get the benefits of this dedicated cooking time. Break meal prep into smaller goals by just pre-chopping veggies or making a few marinades. You can even take prep some inspiration from our friends at Blue Apron!
Blue Apron sends along a little “knick knacks” bag of all the smaller, pre-measured ingredients you need for a recipe. You can do the same thing by looking at your meals for the week and organizing ingredients in your fridge by meal, making little containers of all of the odds and ends, seasoning, and smaller add-ins.
Blue Apron is also interested in sustainability, so don’t trash those little containers! They now offer a recycling program. You can either use their recycling locator to find recycling options in your community or return your packaging for free to Blue Apron via USPS.
What is your weeknight routine like? Tell us in the comments below!
This post was in partnership with Blue Apron, but all of the opinions within are those of The Everygirl editorial board.