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My Nightly Routine: How to shut your brain off at night

My Nightly Routine: How to shut your brain off at night

If you’re anything like me you have trouble shutting off your brain at night.  Especially during this #stayinplace order which means my sociableness is a degree below zero, and my work from home is in full effect.  My home has become my only world, and while it’s not a small home for Brooklyn, all of my categories seem to have melded together like an all-encompassing work smoothie.

I mean, I’ve worked 10 hours today already, and yet I thought it was a good idea to sit down and write this post instead of making myself a nice meal.

But, I should say, through the muck and mire of quarantine I’ve found a way to develop a nightly routine that lets me separate from my work and destress my brain. 

Let’s first begin by saying my computer stays downstairs, in my “office”.  Because if I’m anywhere near my computer I’ll just keep working or annotating analytics.  So to prevent that my computer is a downstairs only computer.

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So what is my nightly routine? 

1. “clocking out”

Ever since I read Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers” I have become fascinated with clocking my hours every day.  He suppositions that part of the reason certain people have found major success in their field (think Bill Gates, The Beatles, etc) is a specific set of opportunities and background factors PLUS an incredible amount of hours honing their craft (10,000 to be exact).

And, since I want to be a fashion resource extraordinaire I’ve started clocking my hours to make sure I am putting in as many hours as I can to further my goals.  On weekdays I usually do anywhere from 9.5 to 11.5 hours and during weekends I average about 4-6 hours. 

nightly routine, how to set up a work hour count

So, when I’ve completed my tasks and I’m close to hitting my hourly goals, I jot it down in my notes section on my phone. This is me “clocking out”.

2.  Eat with an episode

Next, I make dinner. Usually, something easy that can be reheated or friendly for future meals.  After all, I’m only one person.  No way in hell am I making a three course meal for myself.  Honestly, cooking at all is an improvement from my usual take out habit.

While I eat I enjoy a single episode of whatever tv show is floating my boat at the moment. Tonight it will probably be Outlander, tomorrow maybe The Daily Show or even something that requires little thought like Vanderpump Rules. I know… 😉

The point of this is to not only feed my body and do that whole mandatory eating for survival thing but, it is also important to switch my brain over from “work gaby” to “evening off” gaby. 

3. Skin Care Routine 

nightly routine, skincare routine

Next, I go upstairs to start my skincare routine. I find this routine extremely soothing and honestly, the results have been well worth it.  My skin is much better than it used to be.

Heres my nightly skincare routine (although products have slightly shifted because of the weather getting warmer)


Now, in between serum and moisturizer I user the Skin Inc Tri-LIght for some light therapy. It helps prevent wrinkles, aging, brightens your skin, and more.  I love it.  I do it for 10 minutes a night while I listen to some good music. 

And if you’re curious about the skin-inc tri light- I made this video a while back. The full post is here.

Then I moisturize my skin with a face oil (switched from a lotion moisturizer because of the weather and current season).  This is the one I’m loving right now and it’s on sale!

I brush my teeth, floss, and head to my bed.

But, I’m not sleeping just yet….

4. Enjoyable Things

Now, I’m relaxed, clean, and preventing aging to the best of my ability, I’m ready to get into the things that keep me happy and sane.

First I start by putting these gel patches under my eyes for approximately 10 minutes.  They are affordable, and since I stare at screens all-day the patches help depuff my eyes. 

Next: Duolingo

nightly routine, duolingo streak hobbies

I’m learning Spanish and have a 335-day streak, so it’s imperative I do at least 15 minutes of Duolingo each night.  I would be a bit devastated to lose such a long streak.

Plus, I really enjoy practicing Spanish and challenging myself.  I find Duolingo incredibly effective in the different methodologies they teach a language.

After that… Reading

nightly routine, skincare books relaxing nightstand

There was a period in my life where I just felt like I was too busy to read.  But, I regret that immensely and have since committed to never living a life that doesn’t include active reading. 

Reading feeds my soul, as long as it’s a book that I enjoy.

I just finished this book:


And boy does Bell Hooks examine the idea of love in all forms, and how love shapes and can transform us given a more open examination of self.

And, this book I’ve been slowly working through:

While this is not quite a “breezy” read, I love the examination of the human species and why we are successful as a species.  It focuses on the anthropological and evolutionary aspects to our success and dominance on earth, and I have found it quite enlightening.

So, read for about 30 minutes. Check.

Say goodnight to social media.

While I would like to say I put my phone down and just drift off, that’s not exactly true.

Social media is part of my job, and while I am on it during the day, it is mostly* more for work. Tracking analytics, posting, replying, and generally focusing on work tasks.

But at night, it’s time for mindless scroll, meme appreciation, and TikTok binges.

Like, this one:

@imbrandonfarrisTrying horrible 5 minute crafts part 1♬ original sound – imbrandonfarris


Then, I do one last inbox check just to make sure the world isn’t collapsing. And I go to bed.

This whole process takes several hours, but each step is repeated every night to create a routine that not only separates me from my work but gives me a structure to my “time off”.

We all know that getting enough sleep as an adult is super important. But, it actually goes further than that because studies prove that adults (as well as children) tend to perform better and avoid health complications with a nightly routine and “set” bedtime. (source)

I’m not saying my nightly routine will be this exact once social distancing is phased out, but I’d like to think the core needs of this routine will be carried on.

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nightly routine, how to shut off your brain at night