At the end of a long day (isn’t back-to-school season especially exhausting?) I often feel like I barely have the energy to drag myself to the couch let alone do anything but scroll mindlessly on my phone. From Instagram to TikTok, that little device sucks me in night after night and leads me into a blue light-filled time warp until bedtime. Sound familiar?
After spending so much time at home last year (and, some days, feeling totally bored) I’ve logged far too many hours on my phone and seriously need to break the habit. In an effort to be more productive in the evening while still finding ways to wind-down and relax before getting to sleep, I’ve compiled 10 creative things to do at night instead of scrolling on your phone—check them out below!
Is there anything more relaxing than diving into a new page-turner on a crisp fall night? I devoured New York Times bestselling author Liane Moriarty’s latest book, Apples Never Fall, in just a few days and highly recommend it if you’re looking for a can’t-put-it-down family drama to read before bed.
Apples Never Fall tells the story of couple Stan and Joy Delaney and their four adult children as they deal with the aftermath of Joy’s mysterious disappearance. When patriarch Stan becomes a suspect, the Delaneys realize their idyllic childhood and their parents’ seemingly picture-perfect marriage might not have been quite how they remember it. Then, it’s revealed that Stan and Joy recently took in a stranger, a woman named Savannah escaping domestic violence—could she have anything to do with Mrs. Delaney going missing?
From the same author who brought us Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers, you’re sure to love Moriarty’s latest novel, Apples Never Fall, now available everywhere books are sold.
2. Organize Your Nightstand
One of my favorite 15-minute nighttime tasks is decluttering my bedside table drawer because it’s an easy organizational project with immediately satisfying results. From crumpled receipts and extra phone chargers to tangled everyday necklaces and a plethora of randomly-collected lip balms, my nightstand always becomes a hidden dumping ground of anything and everything—and it feels so good to periodically clean it out.
3. Call or FaceTime a Friend
OK this one isn’t technically something to do without your phone, but I always feel so warm and fuzzy when I take time to reconnect with a friend I haven’t caught up with in a while. We’re all so busy, and setting aside a few extra minutes after the kids go to bed to chat with your bestie can do wonders to reduce stress and give you a boost of happiness to last you all week long.
4. Take 15 Minutes to Move Your Body
I’m admittedly not always in the mood for a nighttime workout after a long day, but exercising in the evening can promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and normalize your internal clock. Though it does involve a screen, I love taking a 15 or 20-minute obé fitness yoga or stretch class to wind down before getting ready for bed.
5. Do a Clean Sweep of Expired Fridge Items
Be honest: when was the last time you cleaned out your fridge? Doing a interior deep-clean and organize is a bigger task, but taking a quick 10 minutes to check condiment expiration dates and dispose of anything old is an easy yet productive evening task.
6. Give Yourself an At-Home Manicure
There’s truly something meditative about doing your nails at home—but only if you have the right tools to make the job stress-free and fun. I treated myself to Olive & June’s manicure kit last holiday season and have really enjoyed perfecting my at-home mani. Plus, the brand’s newly-released fall colors are so. cute.
7. Write in a Gratitude Journal
Practicing gratitude has many positive health benefits—reducing stress and increasing optimism are just two—and an easy way to do so is jotting down what you’re thankful for each night in a gratitude journal. If you’re new to journaling, The 5-minute Gratitude Journal linked below includes helpful writing prompts to get you started.
8. Prep Your Weekly Meal Plan
Every Sunday afternoon, without fail, I ask my husband the dreaded question, “What do you want to eat this week?” In an effort to make meal planning less of a sore subject, I’ve tried to chip away at our grocery list and meal plan a few nights per week while watching TV so when the end of the weekend rolls around, I’m ready.
9. Doodle in a Coloring Book
Treat yourself to an adult-themed coloring book (the one linked below is a personal favorite) and a new set of markers or colored pencils and unwind with this delightfully mindless activity. Aside from reducing stress and anxiety and improving sleep, coloring is just plain fun!
10. Sort Through Desk Clutter
There’s always a pile of mail sitting on our desk and while I’d much rather be relaxing on the couch, I often find taking 20 minutes to declutter paperwork at the end of the day to be really helpful. Filing away important documents, quickly paying a bill or two, and shredding junk mail not only cleans off my desk but helps me start tomorrow’s workday with a clear mindset in an organized space—a win-win!
This post was in partnership with Henry Holt & Co. but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.