A New Way to End Your Day and Love Life a Little More

A woman lying on a small couch on a balcony, overlooking a pink sunset with lights hanging above her.
Photo by Roberto Nickson.

Here's a simple idea: end your day doing something that is not only relaxing, but that makes you happy.

The idea comes from Nicole Dieker on Lifehacker who noticed a pattern in her mood tracking app - on days where she did something she enjoyed right at the end, she gave the day as a whole higher ratings.

For her, this included verboten activities like watching funny videos on YouTube (screen time! Evil!) and not-so-controversial things like reading a good book. Her criteria is simply that it's an activity that makes her feel relaxed and makes her smile.

If this isn't an excellent idea, at the very least it's one worth trying.

Honestly, my main holdup is trying to figure out exactly what counts. If I'm home for the evening, then chances are my last activity before I go to bed is watching a little TV. Nothing wrong with that, and I do enjoy it, but does it make me smile? Not really. Most of the time, it's pretty passive consumption of something I have already seen. (Yes, I'm one of the people who has watched The Office a zillion times.)

Also, what counts as relaxing??? Oh man, I am getting so up in my head about this now.

Okay, here are some ideas, and I am trying not to overthink it too much:

  • Watch something I haven't already seen that requires me to pay attention.
  • Do yoga.
  • Read a book that I really enjoy.
  • Connect with a friend in a meaningful way.
  • Listen to some music (like, actually listen to it, not just put it on in the background).
  • Go for a walk outside.
  • Make some no-stakes physical art (like paint or colour - I am not good at drawing and that stresses me out, so not drawing).
  • Do some stream-of-consciousness writing.
  • Put myself in the presence of something beautiful.

This seems like as good a place as any to start.

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