21 Tech-Free Evening Wind Down Routine Ideas

When’s the last time you spent an entire evening without technology? I’m going to guess that it’s a rare occurrence for you, because between our phones and Netflix queues, it’s never been harder to intentionally decide to go without technology for an entire evening – yet alone for an entire week. 

That said, I’m challenging you to try it.

Last month, I decided that I would experiment with Monday–Thursday without TV in the evenings for a couple weeks. The results? I felt more rested, read more than ever, and was actually able to get to bed earlier and wake up at 5:15 in the morning with ease (which never happened before).

While I spend a lot of my evenings working on Life Goals, and not totally screen-free, I think it’s important to end our days without technology when possible. If you’re not spending all your free hours on your own business, create an evening routine or maybe dedicate one evening to screen-free bliss. Pick something on this list, and see if you feel more productive and put together the next day.

If you leave yourself an hour or two free in the evenings to unwind, here are some ideas on how you can fill the time and recharge without technology.

1. Spend time outside

You can stargaze or spend time on your balcony or porch, if you have one and the weather permits. Pour a glass of wine, or grab a Kombucha or beverage of choice, and just relax with your partner, roommate, friend or solo. You can read or talk, or just enjoy the organic sounds of the outdoors.

2. Journal 

Creating a consistent journaling habit is so beneficial for your mental health, and yet, it’s one that we usually think about when things aren’t going smoothly in our lives. It’s a great tool for working through problems, but it’s also great for just figuring out what you’re feeling and jotting it down instead of holding it in. If you want somewhere to start, check out this list of 50 journal prompts for self-reflection.

3. Meditate

When you think of meditation, you might feel like you need an app to guide you through, and if that’s your practice and you can’t get yourself to meditate without it, go for it – and put your phone away as soon as the meditation ends.

But if you want to stick to a totally tech-free evening, try a silent meditation and add a mantra. It’s a different kind of meditation if you’ve always done guided and you might find that while it’s easier to get distracted by your mind, you’re also a lot more likely to get to the magical place of ~no thoughts~. Follow your breath and use a simple mantra like “om” to get your mind back to your breath.

4. Color

Relax with coloring, or even watercoloring after dinner. Get creative! We don’t play enough as adults. You can color with an adult coloring book and feel free to color outside the lines. We don’t judge here. It’s all about relaxing and enjoying.

5. Play board games

Make up your own games! My boyfriend and I created a fun drinking game while at a brewery together, and you can do the same at home or out somewhere. It’s even more fun after you’ve crafted the game to invite friends over to play with you.

6. Cook from a recipe in an actual cookbook

There are so many recipes online that it can feel really indulgent to purchase a cookbook, or even taking the time to select the dishes you want to make. Embrace the indulgence, sit on the couch, relax and flip through a cookbook and leave sticky notes on a few that you want to make. 

7. Read a book or magazine

Flipping through a print magazine is the epitome of relaxation to me, and some of the only times I’ll purchase one is if it’s one that feels like a good coffee table selection, or if I’m on a long flight. But I love the idea of going to Barnes and Noble (another leisurely activity that’s a favorite of mine) and selecting a magazine at random to flip through before bed. Books are the more obvious choice, but reading is so essential in all forms. Try to read a physical book before bed to protect your eyes – or if you’re a total minimalist and reading on an e-reader is your thing, be sure to invest in some blue light protection glasses.

8. Study a new topic

I suddenly became deeply interested in subjects only after graduating college, and now I can’t even believe how much I want to learn. A few things on my list of researching are hormone health, yoga, enneagram and religion. I’m curious about a lot of topics, but when the internet is around and work can be done or a TV show can be watched, I’m less likely to do that research. Pull out a notebook and get your inner nerd on. Start taking notes and researching.

9. Sew/knit

I’ve been wanting to macrame for awhile now, and my mom even bought me a beautiful macrame DIY kit two Christmases ago. Have I touched it? Nope. Do I still want to do it? Yes, ma’am. This is the kind of thing I totally picture myself doing while relaxing on a sofa with some wine. It sounds so idyllic, right? 

10. Create a yoga or stretching sequence

Intuitive stretching is a great approach to a yoga sequence, because you can build the series based on what your body actually needs. Instead of following along to a yoga video, see if you can create a sequence on your own.

11. Outline a book 

Dream of writing a book? Get started with outlining. You might need a computer once you get to the next point in the process, and when you do, turn the WiFi off. But to start, use a notebook and start figuring out what you want to write.

12. Plan your day for the next day

What do you want to accomplish in the morning? Sometimes a productive day needs an intention before it begins. The hardest part for me when I first crafted my morning routine was figuring out how to start my morning. If I didn’t have a set agenda, it was easy to forget about my goal and opt to sleep in. Go to bed with a mission for the next day. Craft a morning that feels both productive and rewarding, so that you can wake up with excitement instead of dread.

13. Bullet journal or create a self-care journal

The all-in-one journaling system, called bullet journaling, has long been the creative’s favorite way to plan. There are spreads everywhere on the internet to inspire pages upon pages of planning. You can get ideas from our bullet journaling ideas post, or create a self-care version for all things you need to hear, and see when you need some extra love.

14. Take a bath with fun bath bombs

Baths are probably the most common option for a self-care evening without technology, so I get it if you’re rolling your eyes. But it has to be said. You can create a real bath time ritual that you love, with crystals, a good book, CBD and some amazing bath products. There’s so much you can do to make bathing a ritual. Here’s how we create a cozy bath ritual.

15. Create a solid skincare routine 

Do you have a skincare practice that doesn’t feel like a chore, but feels relaxing? Do you have a night during the week where you take longer showers, do a face mask, and really shower yourself with self-care? If not, it’s time to elevate your skincare routine. Here’s a list of clean skincare brands we love that might take your skincare practice to the next level.

16. Work on a house project

That “someday” list of house or apartment projects can now be tackled! It feels so good when you tackle one of those things on that someday list. What’s a DIY project you’ve been wanting to do for awhile now, but always put it off for a time when you’re not as busy? Take action.

17. Curate care packages to send to friends

Nothing feels better than getting a surprise gift in the mail, except maybe the joy of putting it together. You get so excited for the delivery to the recipient and it’s so fun selecting content for a package filled with love. If someone has recently moved or hasn’t been having an easy time lately, it might be fun to curate a package filled with beauty products or snacks or thoughtful little gifts.

18. Going for a walk or run outside

There are so many fun houses in my neighborhood that I didn’t notice until my second year living in Long Beach. One evening, my family was visiting, and we went on a totally different route along the water and I was thrown off. I’d always walked a route that I liked, but felt kind of bored with and suddenly I was excited about my neighborhood again. I started taking walks every evening.

Sometimes it takes a little exploring to figure it out. So take time to explore your area – map out a run that is a little different or take a different path while you’re out. We get stuck in our routines and forget that there are so many roads unexplored.

19. Create a travel journal

Find yourself reminiscing on your last vacation and counting down the days until your next one? Look back on your travel photos and create a travel journal. There’s no reason your photos need to just sit on your phone or instagram feed. Make it a fun project, print out photos, get some fun papers and stickers and create a little journal, documenting your adventure.

20. Draw or sketch

You could even get competitive with a fun drawing competition with your partner or roommate. You can play music in the background on vinyl if you have a player. It might be cheating a bit but we’ll allow it. Choose something to draw, set a timer and maybe even post them both to social media and put it to your friends to vote on whose is better.

21. Go through your old stuff

It doesn’t have to be spring to go through your things. Give things away, purge, sort, clean, donate. Start with a small space, and work your way to the tougher areas of the home. A good place to start is your junk drawer. We all have one, and they’re such a headache to go through. Yet, it’s small enough that you can tackle it in less than 20 minutes.

Do you find it hard to spend an evening without technology? What’s your favorite way to wind down?

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