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9 Things To Do Tonight (And All Week TBH) Instead of Doomscrolling

Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer By Eliza Sullivan
Food Writer
Eliza Sullivan is a food writer and SEO editor at mindbodygreen. She writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She studied journalism at Boston University.
woman laying on couch reading

reading on couch

Image by LUCAS OTTONE / Stocksy

This has been quite the year. On top of the major social and health crises going on across the globe, this fall's presidential election has, for many, brought up particular election anxiety. And as tonight progresses, it may be tempting to stay glued to our devices, watching the election results flowing in.

Unfortunately, for many people, that constant influx of information (hello, doomscrolling) may only serve to increase those anxious feelings, which is why we're looking for things to do to break up our attention. We're talking something actively away from our devices that may help bring us back to feeling present and calm (hopefully).

If you're beginning to feel like it may be time to step away for a momentary break, these little grounding activities are perfect for channeling extra energy that may be bubbling over:

1. Do some plant care.

Our plant babies always deserve our love and attention always, but caring for them during moments of stress can be particularly calming. "Growing things and cultivating things gives purpose, and right now we could all use a little bit of purpose and control," says zero-waste activist Lauren Singer, "Giving and providing life gives us a sense of control, which a lot of us are lacking right now."

For extra mellow, go beyond the watering you do regularly. Maybe your plants are in need of a repotting (following along with this step-by-step guide can help relieve fears of doing it wrong), or perhaps they need a little care for the colder temperatures that are settling in (plants get chilly too!),

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2. Begin a sourdough starter.

Ah, 2020's perennial hobby! If you're not particularly green-thumbed but crave that caregiving feeling of control plants may give, fear not: Tonight is the perfect time to begin a new sourdough starter (if you haven't already). The slow process of making sourdough can actually be quite calming, and caring for your starter can be a nice addition to your daily routine.

Plus, once you have a viable starter, you'll have the pleasant reward of loaves of bread to enjoy on a regular basis if you so choose. And really, sourdough starters are a great jumping-off point for a variety of baking projects beyond bread, and even for a fizzy beverage.

3. Start a new book (or reread an old favorite).

Offline escapism is nowhere more available than in the pages of books, something mbg staffers have been taking advantage of since earlier in this relatively crazy year. Tonight, picking up a book you've started already, or diving into an old faithful, is a great place to find comfort far from screens and within your own home.

If you're not feeling a need to read but do want to get lost in a story, consider combining an audiobook with one of the other things on this list—the perfect backdrop for any small task around the house.

4. Pick up that DIY project you may have neglected.

I don't know about everyone else, but I've certainly neglected the new crafting skills I picked up at the start of lockdowns in my city. But tonight, I have grand plans to dive back into the knitting project I've been working on for far too many nights. Knitting, and other crafting projects, can actually become methods of active meditation.

As neuroscientist Sarah McKay, MSc, Ph.D., explains, "The rhythmic and repetitive nature of knitting is calming, comforting, and contemplative." Those are three descriptions that definitely sound appealing for a cozy night in.

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5. Do a puzzle, play cards, or pull out a board game.

Another thing you (like others!) may have overcommitted to early on in the pandemic? Puzzles!

The simple nostalgia toys had quite a moment a few months back. Though you may well have flown through all of yours while staying at home, now might be a good night to pull them out to do again. And don't forget: Puzzles goes beyond the world of jigsaws. The internet is full of word puzzles, like crosswords, that are great for a last-minute evening plan.

Another nod to nostalgia: If you don't live alone, it's a perfect night to pull out a deck of cards (may we suggest Rummy 500?) or a classic board game for a bit of good old-fashioned fun.

6. Make yourself a bit of a sweet treat.

A chocolaty no-bake bar is a perfect sweet project for a weeknight: The active "cook" time is minimal, and then you can pop these in the fridge to chill while you maybe do something else from this list or flip on your latest binge-watch for a while. These recipes are also sure to include some convincing healthier ingredients for good-for-you benefits.

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7. Treat yourself to DIY a mask (the skin care kind!).

Not to be confused with the masks that are now a staple part of our wardrobe, you can DIY a beauty mask (for hair and skin!) with plenty of things you likely already have around your home. Coconut oil? Perfect for adding a bit of moisture back to hair. Honey? Most likely to make your skin glow. Even yogurt can be used for a super-simple face (like, you-just-use-the-yogurt-alone kinda simple) mask to soften skin.

8. When in doubt: Do a bit of organizing.

Keeping your home clean is a powerful tool for harnessing calm (and not just because of feng shui), but giving an area of your home a bit of a refresh tonight is a hands-on task to keep your body and mind active. But it doesn't have to be a massive undertaking.

Consider a smaller project, like rearranging your books, cleaning your shower curtain, or reorganizing your fridge and pantry for a quick thing you can complete for a bit of a feeling of accomplishment.

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9. Try a guided meditation.

Changing your mental focus can be difficult, and if you find that these activities just aren't doing enough for changing your frame of mind, a guided meditation may be just the thing to try. Each of these options is only around 10 minutes (fast enough for a quick before-bed practice, even) and will help you focus on just about anything else.

If you try one of these little activities and find it helps, then it may be worth thinking about going forward as a practice for helping you find calm in the moments when it feels nearly impossible to do so—a valuable skill, especially if it's also an activity that brings you joy.

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