My brain is a noisy place, and it only gets rowdier as the day goes on. By the time night rolls around, chatter is regularly turned up to Level: Ridiculous. If I want to be able to sleep, I have to start shutting that party down a couple of hours before I even get into bed.
And while there are bunch of great apps for quieting down your inner howler monkeys, I like to go old-school in the evenings.
These are all things I can do with other people around, which is good, because there are always other people around. None of these require silence or a meditation cushion.
They’re just ways to give my brain a DIFFERENT task to work on (instead of cataloging every wrong move I might have made in the last twenty-four hours and/or making detailed lists of everything that might go wrong in the future).
Here’s what works for me.
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Any logic puzzle or brain teaser activity will work to keep my mind busy and quiet—and yes, you can find tons of apps for these, but then we would be looking at our phones again, and that is not among our goals for the evening. My own favorite analog option is this wooden color-based Sudoku set.
There’s no device, which means no backlight to confuse your brain into staying awake extra-late. Just smooth wooden pieces, rainbow colors, and a lot of trying to remember which-spot-can’t-be-green-so-it-must-be-blue.
And yes, I bought this for my kids and then totally stole it back. (I share! Just not when I’m in the middle of a puzzle!)
Theoretically this activity even has a logical end point (you solve a puzzle, you go to bed) but in practice I am tempted to keep solving these forever, which is its own dilemma.
Jigsaw puzzles are great when I want something that will take longer than a logic puzzle and that I can do WITH other people. Jigsaws are not quite as perfect late at night (because: glare off the pieces is annoying), but somehow this does not make me put the puzzle away.
When Dane is out of town, I tend to pull a puzzle out and leave it on the table—it gives me a reason to slow down and sit near my kids in the evenings when I might be tempted to keep rushing around to try to Get Everything Done With Only One Parent In The House. And again: quiets the noisy brain.
Books I can get lost in
After I’ve put away my phone for the night, getting lost in the world of a book reminds me that life is bigger than the scroll of a feed.
Books are where I remember that we can think more deeply, speak with more nuance, and see our own connection more clearly than a sound bite allows.
It’s almost like my brain exhales. Ahhh. The world is still the world. The world is not a dumpster fire. (The world may be full of dumpster fires! But that is not the whole story.)
And if you’re looking for something to read right now, this is super cool: my new book won’t be on bookstore shelves until early November, but you don’t have to wait to get your hands on it—because anyone who preorders the book is invited to join us in the Launch Team!
Permission Granted is a story about letting go of who you think you’re supposed to be and becoming who you really are. And if you join the Launch Team, you’ll get a digital copy of the whole book to start reading immediately.
You’ll also get membership in a private Facebook group, so you can read along with a fun community—and join in exclusive live Q&A about the book with me.
(This does mean: screens. So maybe not in the hour before bed? Or maybe you have a fancy Kindle with good lighting, what do I know? I am going to trust that you can make your own call about the whole when-and-how-to-read situation.)
Launch Team members ALSO get to spread the word about the book to THEIR friends, by sharing about the book and posting their thoughts in early reviews.
If you need something to read RIGHT NOW TODAY, might I suggest you check it out?
And then get back to relaxing
Because I don’t know about you, but for me, reading about how someone ELSE handles the howler monkeys in their head is a pretty much a win all the way around. (Books + Seeing myself in someone else’s story + The feeling of being understood + Unwinding before bed = All the good things, all in one place.) xo!