When your workday is punctuated by meetings and deadlines, it can be hard to simply switch off when you walk out of the office. We know evenings are a valuable time to catch up with family or an S.O., but learning to quiet a racing mind is something that many women struggle with—including those at the top of their field.
When we reached out to women we admire to share their nightly routine, a clear message emerged: Your evening is a crucial time to calm your thoughts, connect with those you care about, and practice much-needed self-care. Squander those precious hours by checking emails or mindlessly scrolling on social media, and you'll likely rise the next day feeling tired and wired. Here, CEOs, founders of thriving businesses, moms, and execs spotlight the stress-inducing habits they avoid at night, and what to do instead.
This is how successful women relax and regroup at the end of a long, hard day.
TRY: Chamomile Tea
It might be tempting to pour yourself a glass of vino after a tough day, but studies suggest too much alcohol will disrupt your sleep, leaving you feeling tired and foggy the next day. Ariel Kaye, founder and CEO of Parachute, reaches for an herbal tea that offers a similar calming effect without the next-day brain fog. "One thing I've learned is that your body needs cues and routines to get into healthy habits," she tells MyDomaine. "I like to drink chamomile tea in the evening, which is almost instantly calming, and for good reason! It's rich in calcium, magnesium, and other trace minerals that naturally relax muscles and nerves."
Kaye says this evening ritual helps her find balance after a chaotic day. "My schedule can be very hectic, and while I love the hustle, developing a consistent nightly routine has become the anchor to my day and helps me to maintain work/life balance." Another non-negotiable: "I never miss my favorite way to unwind—taking a hot shower before bed. It's satisfying to literally wash away the stresses of the day."
SKIP: Talking About Work
TRY: Making Plans
It's important to chat with your S.O. about your work life, but Joey Wölffer, the founder of Styleliner and co-owner of Wölffer Estate Vineyard, says talking shop when you get home can make the workday feel even longer. "I try to avoid talking about work with my husband past a certain hour," she says. "We work together so we have to make an effort not to make the workday continue into the evening. It can be a struggle, but it's really worth the effort."
Tara Foley, the founder of Follain, says work is off-limits during dinner. "I never talk about the office at the dinner table. When my husband and I can both be home for dinner on a weeknight, we insist on eating together and not talking about work."
Rather than dwell on office politics or drama at work, experts suggest the key to a happy relationship is to focus on the future. Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., suggests that making small plans shifts your focus forward, not backward, and creates a bond and sense of security.
SKIP: Watching TV TRY: Reading Fiction
Submerging your mind in a Netflix binge or mindlessly scrolling on Instagram might offer a temporary escape, but Britt Maren, former Victoria's Secret model and founder of Cooking with Britt, says it's not beneficial in the long term. "Social media, emails, and all other apps have really taken over our lives lately, so I try to put those away and read a book before bed," she tells MyDomaine. "Recent ones I've enjoyed are Sweetbitter, The Girls, The Last Love Song, and The Third Plate."
Leura Fine, CEO of Laurel & Wolf, calms her racing mind the old-fashioned way, too: with pen and paper. "Before I end each day, I like to write down any final thoughts or ideas so that when I wake up the next day I'm not stressed about forgetting or executing them," she says.
SKIP: Work Distractions TRY: Being Present
Nidhi Kapur, founder and CEO of Maiden Home, has one rule: She never works up until bedtime. "It's tempting to squeeze as much work into the day as possible, but I've found that creating a buffer between my workday and sleep is the secret to getting a good night's rest," she tells MyDomaine. "One hour before bed, I switch my attention from work to another part of my life: calling a friend, planning the weekend, or just watching TV. The distraction helps settle my mind, and put whatever happened during the day into perspective. So important to avoiding burnout!"
Jane Francisco, editor in chief of Good Housekeeping and editorial director of Hearst Lifestyle Group, says she doesn't impose limits on when she should work and relax but notes that when she is with her family she is 100% engaged. "Everyone's creative juices flow in a different way. Weirdly, I never say never to work or play at any time of the day or night. I do prioritize my family, particularly when I'm at home. But it's not about what I don't do, it's about focusing on what's most important in a given moment."
SKIP: Dwelling on Mistakes TRY: Setting Your Intention for the Next Day
When it's finally time to dim the lights and pull the covers, it's easy to let racing thoughts flood your mind. If you can't quiet your mind, consider setting your intentions for the next day. Babba Rivera, former director of brand marketing at Away, says exercise boosts her mood, so she plans her workout the night before. "Working out has been such an important part of my work/life balance. I'm a happier and noticeably healthier person when I'm able to spend time at the gym before starting my day," she says. "If I'm in need of extra motivation on a particular week, I lay out my gym clothes the night before and plan my workout as a way to commit myself to the following morning's fitness routine."
Thakkar MM, Sharma R, Sahota P. Alcohol Disrupts Sleep Homeostasis. Alcohol. 2015;49(4):299-310.
Miraj S, Alesaeidi S. A Systematic Review Study of Therapeutic Effects of Matricaria Recuitta Chamomile (Chamomile). Electron Physician. 2016;8(9):3024-3031. doi:10.19082/3024
Goldsmith B. Look Ahead to Strengthen Your Relationship. Psychology Today. Posted October 24, 2013.