Effective Ways to Manage Evening Anxiety

Man sitting on edge of bed with his face in his hands at night time

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Anxiety is the sense of uneasiness, worry, and apprehension that most people are accustomed to experiencing every so often. For people with an anxiety disorder, these feelings have become a way of life that need to be carefully managed in order to function and live a fulfilling life.

Whether or not you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, such as panic disorder, you may find it difficult to control your anxiety or nervousness. Many people experience morning anxiety, feeling unnerved about the day ahead. Others find that their evenings are filled with anxiety-related worry and tension. Still others struggle with anxiety throughout the day, feeling perturbed most of the day.

Steps to Reduce Evening Anxiety

Anxiety that strikes in the evening can be incredibly bothersome as it may take away from your free time, zap your energy, and even contribute to sleep issues. For people who experience panic, increased anxiety can result in panic attacks. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help reduce your evening anxiety, allowing for a relaxing evening to a restful night.

Set an Intention Early

Many of us go from one activity to the next throughout our day without really considering how we are feeling, let alone how we would like to feel. For example, do you ever come home after a long day of work and think to yourself, “I really want to relax and enjoy this evening?”

Most likely you are far too busy or preoccupied to stop and ponder how you want your evening to be. However, by setting an intention early, you are more likely to get the results you want.

If you remind yourself each day that you are determined to have a peaceful evening, you are more likely to actually experience it that way.

Remembering to set an intention is easier when you mark a certain point in your day for it. For example, while driving home from work, you may be going over in your mind all the stress that you went through that day.

At a certain point during your drive home, such as when you drive over a bridge or pass a certain landmark, you can set the intention to let go of work stress from that point forward and enjoy the rest of your evening. Another option can be to set an alarm that reminds you to set your intention for a nice evening.

Regardless of what type of prompt works for you, get in the habit of setting your personal objective of how you want to feel each evening.

Learn to Be Present

Along the same lines of not being in touch with how we want to feel, many of us spend much of our time completely unaware or detached from the present moment. By making an effort to be more mindful, you may be better able to enjoy your evening.

Mindfulness can prevent you from going over every worry in your head and allow you to recognize that you do not have to react to every thought that pops into your mind. Mindfulness is a skill that can be learned through activities such as mindfulness meditation.

If mindfulness seems odd or too time-consuming, simply make an effort to be more aware of life as it is instead of searching your mind for nervousness and fear.

Try to listen closely to your loved ones, enjoy the food you are eating, notice the beauty of the earth—these are all simple ways to push anxiety aside and become more mindful.

Leave Some Extra Transition Time

Transition time is the time that is needed between tasks. Many of us underestimate how much transition time is needed. For instance, your evening may consist of numerous different tasks that you need to do before you go to bed.

Whatever amount of time you have allotted for each task, add a bit more time as a buffer should a task take longer than you think. That way you will avoid feeling overwhelmed, trying to cram too much in before bedtime.

Prepare for the Next Day

Many people find it anxiety-provoking to think about all that they need to do the next day. One of the best things to do to avoid this type of anxiety is to be prepared. Get as much ready as you can, like having your clothes picked out, lunches and bags packed, and your alarm clock set. Putting a small amount of effort into preparation can help keep evening anxiety under control.

Create Some Space to Unwind

When everything is done for the night and ready for the next day, you do need some time to relax and re-energize. Set time aside each evening to simply relax and let go. You may find it nice to practice a relaxation technique, such as deep breathing, journaling, or yoga. Perhaps you find it comforting to read a book. Maybe you unwind best with a warm bath or tea.

Regardless of what brings you serenity, set aside at least 10 minutes of downtime each evening. Doing so allows you to feel calmer and may even be the start for getting a good night’s rest.

Establish a Bedtime Routine

Establishing a bedtime routine lets you focus on taking proactive steps for yourself instead of ruminating in your anxiety. Your bedtime routine may include activities such as taking a shower, brushing your teeth, changing into pajamas, reading from an inspirational book, prayer, or listening to music. 

Your bedtime routine should be established to help set you up for better rest. Don’t include any activities that may be too overstimulating, such as reading through social media or watching TV. Instead, make your routine calming and quiet, leading up to you falling asleep. This will signal to your brain that it is time to rest and will allow you to go to sleep without an upset and anxious mind. 

A Word From Verywell

If your anxiety is making it difficult to function, reach out for professional help. Schedule an appointment with your physician or reach out to a mental health professional. Anxiety is treatable and therapy, medication, or a combination of the two can help you manage your anxiety in a healthy way.

If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

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