Cutie things that help me sleep

Bonus: they match each other! It was unintentional. I found this journal for sale at a grocery store and when I brought it home, I was surprised and delighted to see it’s the same colors as my squishmallow. I guess I have an attraction to lavender and rainbow-y things.

Squishmallows are the greatest invention in the world of pillows. They combine a super velvety exterior with the plushest interior. Imagine a giant non-sticky marshmallow you can sink your head into. And they are all shaped like cute creatures. I think this one is supposed to be a narwhal. (In my opinion the stuffed version is much more adorable than the real animal.)

A purple journal next to a purple squishmallow (stuffed animal pillow)

The journal is for a new habit I started a few months ago. It’s part of my plan to decrease my screentime. As I’ve written in previous posts, I often get too attached to my phone. One of the best things I do for myself is keep my phone out of reach when I’m in bed. But I still need an activity to help me transition from waking to sleeping. Journal to the rescue!

Throughout my life I’ve filled dozens of notebooks with writing, but I would always get the large, plain spiral-bound notebooks. This journal is smaller so it’s easy to hold while laying in bed. And it’s so pretty, just looking at the cover makes me want to write in it.

I like to fill the pages with bullet points about what happened during my day and how I feel. Sometimes I draw doodles. I scribble whatever I think of until my eyes begin to close and I rest my head on squishmallow.

This bedtime routine is so pleasant. My eyes don’t get strained from staring at the bright light of a screen in a dark room. I feel like my mind is a room, and I’m sweeping out the emotions from the day as I write them down. I slowly grow sleepy with a calm spirit.

But do I write every single night? Nope! No way. Because right as I’m starting to get really consistent, a stressful day happens and I feel too lazy to put in the effort. I just want the easy comfort of my phone.

It’s embarrassing to admit a tiny electronic device can have such a hold on me.

Why do I never get the relief of breaking a bad habit once. I have to break it over and over again, at different times. Maybe I am doing something wrong. Or is this part of adulthood? Locked in permanent competition against our vices?

At the last restaurant I worked at, I accidentally knocked my phone into a bucket of water during a busy night. I didn’t replace it for half a year. During that time I felt free as the air, except I was always running late to everything and constantly getting lost and no one could ever get in contact with me. Maybe that’s why I felt so free… But my friends and family worried about me.

“Didn’t you all get along just fine in the age before cellular devices?” I’d grumble.

They shook their heads. “Come back to the 21st century!”

I knew my obstinacy was causing frustration. And it wasn’t the safest idea to wander around Los Angeles without communication. I caved in and got another cell phone.

Here’s where it gets interesting. You would think, after a 6 month technology cleanse, that I would remain aloof to the allure of the screen. In those 6 months I had practiced so much mindfulness as I accepted all the daily moments of boredom — I waited in lines and rode the bus and lay in bed with my hands empty and my thumbs at rest. The landscape of social media faded from my memory. I wasn’t distracted by the immediacy of notifications.

And yet one week after I get my new phone, it was like the previous 6 months had been completely scrubbed away. I was back to my old ways. Tethered to the persistent stream of texts and emails. My brain dulled with mindless activity. Instagram, Reddit, TikTok. I could feel my eyeballs glaze over as I scrolled away from the present moment.

So, yea— I missed how it used to be. I thought I should give my new phone away. Then I realized that would cheat me of the opportunity to build a sense of balance. Besides, my reaction was fueled by negativity.

When I get desperate for a sense of control, I fool myself into thinking drastic decisions will save me.

In those moments I wallow in dramatic daydreams. Hmm…Let’s delete everything. Drop off the grid. Give all my stuff away. Crumple the rest up and throw it in the trash. Drive off into the sunset and never look back. I don’t need anything or anyone.

Extremes rooted in negativity are unrealistic. They may provide a temporary reprieve, but they’re unsustainable for the long-term.

Maturity requires restraint. Maturity means I have to let go of the fantasy that life is supposed to be simple.

I’ve had to re-learn balance and re-build boundaries with my phone, many times over. I deleted Instagram and TikTok, then got hooked on Reddit. As soon as I got rid of Reddit, I found WordPress. Hello endless blogs to read! I’m currently obsessed with a language-learning app called Duolingo. In other words, there will forever be something on the screen that clamors for my attention.

With my situation in this modern world, my best choice is to maintain a healthy relationship with technology. My favorite strategy is a soothing bedtime routine to help me fall asleep calmly. Even if I’m not perfect about actually doing it. Maybe especially if I’m not perfect about it.

Letting go of my vices is a lot of ups and downs and backs and forths, but I’m beginning to think that’s the whole point.

63 thoughts on “Cutie things that help me sleep

  1. TRUST ME, AFTER READING THIS POST, I’M SUPER CONVINCED THAT WE’RE KINDRED SPIRITS! First, the pic- it literally pulled me here the way candy entices little kids. I thought that’s definitely the kind of notebook I’d get- I loooove notebooks with these cute covers. AND THE STUFFY BUDDY- ISN’T HE SO MUSHY MUSHY, SUCH A CINNAMON ROLL! (Hope you read that in baby voice).

    “I deleted Instagram and TikTok, then got hooked on Reddit. And then moved on to WordPress.” This hit me like a truck! Not exactly the same apps, but I did move from one obsession to the next and here I am, in WordPress and I love that our obsessions have coincided this time. I’M MADLY OBSESSED WITH DUOLINGO TOO! I have a 457 day streak as of today. What language do you learn?
    Literally, I felt myself in your words. Such a very relatable post! Sorry for getting so overexcited lol. It’s exciting to relate to people. Technological obsession is real, especially during the pandemic. We’be all become slaves to screens.
    I was so happy to read this post today! Wishing you a great day, my friend! 💖

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Your comment made my day, thank you my friend 😁🙂 Ahahaha yes the photo doesn’t even do justice to just how unbelievably squishy this squishy guy is! We will never be too old for stuffed animals !
      And ok miss 457 day streak…I am in awe of your dedication. I found you on Duolingo and followed, hopefully thats cool 🙂 I have a 54 day streak haha… currently on the Korean course 🇰🇷
      Thank you for validating me that technological obsession is real. I’m so happy it’s a relatable topic and I don’t sound completely neurotic. I agree phone addictions have hit even harder during the pandemic, which is fine as long as it doesn’t affect mental health. Some apps are definitely better than others. Like duolingo: it gives us the chance to learn other languages!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yayy!!! We’re gonna be friends on Duolingo? HOW COOL! AM SOOO GLADDD THANKSSS TONNES!!
        Trust me, I’m the most inconsistent person in the world. Yet the course content of German is super interesting and I’m sure it’s that way for Korean too.
        Neurotic lol- far from that. It’s totally normal to be that way 💖

        Liked by 1 person

      2. What’s your Duolingo handle? The notification hasn’t popped up yet. Btw, congratsss on your streak, my friend! 54 is excellent and it almost assures that you’ve developed a habit.
        Also, if you find time, you may join free Duolingo events to practice speaking- they’re super fun. Over time, you make lovely friends and improve your speaking skills. It’s totally optional though. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

  2. LiziRose you are on the right track! I’m 63 and the allure of technology is real and a real problem too. However the addiction can be managed. It takes persistence. And forgiveness. You have to work hard to create a habit (they say 31 days in a row will create a habit) and then if you skip a day or pick up the phone, you have to forgive yourself. Then go back to building the habit! And yes being an adult is a series of difficult tasks interspersed with not so difficult tasks. The key is to retain your whimsy!! The squishmallow is a good start. The journal is also a good addition to whimsy. I wear silly socks (even though no one sees them) and very silly hats which everyone sees – but their funny looks just make me laugh and brings a little joy into my life. You just have to find the things that connect you to inner joy and your child-like sense of play!! I had to toss my purple hippo that was a microbead filled squishy pillow – it sprang a leak after 20 years. :-( but I’ve asked for a new one for my birthday….

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for such an awesome comment Murisopsis, first of all you made me feel really good that I’m not crazy to have this addictive attachment to technology. And thank you for the advice to keep persistently building better habits and have forgiveness for myself when (not “if” Lol) I mess up.
      I love that you wear silly socks and hats😁 Incorporating whimsy with mementos like that gives us a physical reminder to welcome some joy into our lives. A few years ago I was convinced I had “outgrown” colorful and cute things, but now I know that I don’t ever have to outgrow things that put a smile on my face!
      P.s. I hope you get a new purple hippo🙂


  3. Journaling before bed sounds so much better than getting lost on whatever phone thing I’m on. I was recently in Vermont and having the nature and lack of stimulation from city life made me so much sleepier. It was amazing to see the comparsion between my home (city life) and my vacation sleep.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, wow I didn’t even consider the impact of being in nature! But what you said about being sleepier while on your vacation from the city make me think about circadian rhythms and how technology could affect our sleep. I’ll have to research this😁
      Thanks for leaving such a great comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Going analog is always a great way to end the day. I tend to journal before bed, but my TRUE last activity is reading on the Kindle, which does have some light, but not as bad as real digital screens. Thinking about your routine just makes me feel all cosy inside. Thanks for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Analog” is the word I was looking for!
      In my opinion Kindle barely counts as digital because the screen light is designed to be much easier on the eyes. And regardless, reading is a 10000x better activity for bedtime than scrolling on social media.
      Thanks for your comment!


  5. Wow, I googled narwhal and it really exist. And wonder why it has this long stick out of its head. It must be for a reason. I just hope it doesn’t impede the animal’s movement. Yes, for me it is the kindle fire pad that is consuming all my leisure time. I can’t have enough of it. Without it I won’t be able to live a life.


    1. Ok I read a bit more about them and found out this creepy fact: the narwhal’s long horn is actually one TOOTH that grows way longer than the others! it seems scientists still don’t know quite what its used for. They are basically the unicorns of the ocean Lol
      I think Kindle is better than phone because from what I’ve read, the screen light is less harsh.


  6. It is really an addiction. Both social media and kindle fire. It is a worldwide addiction. Now I am starting to think that even if this addiction is managed, some other digital addiction will come to replace it. I think my biggest fear about losing electricity during a future hurricane like the Hurricane Sandy we went through is the loss of ability to charge my kindle fire. Losing lights or other comforts is only a secondary consideration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What is it about digital devices that’s sooo addictive? even once I removed social media apps I still feel attached to my phone. Maybe it’s fine, what really matters is that what’s ON the device isn’t causing us harm (social media made me feel depressed BUT listening to music wherever I am is awesome!)

      Yes, thats always my most intense frustration during a power-out. Maybe In the future they will sell “disaster kits” that only contain a battery charger for devices 😆 Priorities!!


  7. I think it is a lovely idea using a journal 💖🌷 I know social media can be so addictive, it feeds some part of one. I think you are very wise to try to develop other things like Journaling. Well done. 🌷🌺🌷


  8. This resonates within me on quite a few levels. For starters I get that need to purge things when I am feeling negative and for years I would buy a cheap flip phone every few months and use it until I couldn’t handle not having a smartphone anymore, among more severe examples of OCD. So I definitely get all of this. Slumps of negativity are not fun. At any rate, wonderful post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the comment! I’m glad my post was relatable! Honestly having an old-school flip phone sounds pretty nice… But I can see how if it’s motivated by negative feelings, that’s not ideal. Here’s to both of us finding our balance😁

      Liked by 1 person

  9. OMG LiziRose, I am so there with you. I wrote a post last week about trying to get some sleep when my mental dialogues continue. 😴 It is a constant battle because there are too many distractions in our possession and we are not wired to remain in the “on” position all the time. Girl, it’s easy to recognize the problem, but it’s harder to completely step away from them “cold turkey.” Yet, sometimes we get so fed up until we do make drastic decisions we may question ourselves about, trying to justify what we know makes sense. 🤔

    I applaud you for your journaling commitment. 👏🏽 I too used to have my wire school notebooks to write my thoughts in. ✍🏽 I’ve got a ton of journals that I will one day start strumming back through (20+ years). 😜 I think your snuggle buddies are cute and are an inspiration in itself to relax, release and relate. I adore this reflection! Stick with it sweetie pie. Even if you don’t find a balance, you at least will know when it’s time to shift gears! 🚗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for this lovely comment Kym!! I’m happy you saved all your old notebooks, and it would be awesome if one day when you look back through them you find some treasures to share on your blog! I’m sure it will be an enlightening experience to reflect on how you felt 20 years ago versus now.

      You know I am inspired by your post “Shut up I’m trying to get some sleep” – everything you said really resonates with me. I think I use technology in an attempt to drown out my mental chatter. But then the screentime disrupts my sleep, so it becomes a vicious cycle.

      Love your advice: even if I don’t find the perfect balance, I’m still developing the awareness to know when it’s time to shift gears! 😁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LiziRose, you inspire me. 🙏🏽 Thank you so much for taking the time to reflect on our journeys. I don’t think I have anything further to add to what you have commented on and what you composed in your post. You nailed it sweetie! 🔨🎯🏹 So happy reading what you shared. Thank you! 🤗🥰😊

        Liked by 1 person

  10. you do write very articulately and describe the traps of addiction perfectly … one has to ‘give up’ many times to break that bond. Your device is controlling you, is that really how you want to live.

    I have a phone, dumb not smart, so it’s only used for phone calls and texting. I often forget to take it with me … use the mac for internet stuff. So I seldom know the time and prefer to still use paper maps, which are getting harder to find. But I prefer to have time for me and suggest all people should have a minimum of 3 hours a day screen free and one day a week with it totally off … try that and let me know :)


    1. Thank you for the compliment!
      A “dumb” phone sounds like the smartest phone to have. I’d like to get one once my current phone breaks. Sounds like a good balance between staying connected but with less distraction at my fingertips. Thank you also for the suggestion to do 3 hrs/day and 1 day/week without a screen. I’m going to make that my new goal!

      Funny thing about paper maps: I had the hardest time finding one when I was phone-less in LA. I think I went to 7 different stores before I found one. Ridiculous…

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Hahaha wow you said a ton of interesting things and I really did get a sense of how you felt attached to your phone.

    Phones are so advanced now-a-days that they literally can do anything under the sun and that is part of the major attraction behind the allure of modern phones — they help you to do so many things that as long as you have them, you can’t help but notice them because there is always something you may want to do that they can help you accomplish and the fact that they are a main source of connecting with other people, it makes it that much more tempting to use them or have them around no matter how hard you try not to. One of the best ways to actually minimize the use of the phone is to keep in mind what is priority and what isn’t because if you consider the kind and number of things you may want to do with your phone and really assess if they are truly neccessary or not, then you might find that most of the stuff you want to do with your phone can be done at any other time, so sometimes it may be ok to relax and just have moments to yourself where you are just enjoying your surroundings and experiencing life in a natural way, in contrast to always being compelled to look at the phone for some reason or another. It’s ok to put the phone on hold (no pun intended 😂) rather than put other aspects of your life and the experiences you can have on hold over a piece of technology and things that are not actually priority, or going anywhere any time soon.

    When you talked about the Narwhal and how they are like non-sticky marshmallows, and I also saw the image of one that you included in the post, it was the cutest thing ever i’ve read 😂😂. I really admired your sense of connection with things like that and how they made you feel, which actually does highlight a very important issue, which is that doing stuff like adding things into your life that creates a happy tone and warm environment, can make all he difference in terms of your piece-of-mind, comfort, relaxation and stimulation.

    Minor adjustment and small details like that can actually make you want to try different ways of spending your time, so that’s very cool. Plus I loved hearing about your approach to classic writing (meaning that you used pencil/pen and paper as opposed to digital means) where comfort wise you used a Journal that was a bit smaller and easier to hold compared to some of the larger book formats, and how that helps you to transition from waking to sleeping. The Journal itself does look very lovely haha 💕💕💕


    1. Yes it’s so true! In a short amount of time, phones have become so technologically advanced that it can make us feel too reliant on them. A phone is a way to stay connected to friends and family, learn about the world, play games, listen to music, get directions to places, etc etc, all fitting right in the palm of my hand! Makes it hard to put down! I like how you suggested to prioritize what’s most important and try going without the phone in those moments. Wonderful advice. This is definitely my goal. At the end of my life I don’t want to look back and regret spending too many beautiful moments of my life with face buried in a screen.
      Glad you liked the photo haha, it does give me comfort to have a stuffed animal and this ritual of journaling on paper, a gentle reminder to slow down my mind before falling asleep…
      Thanks for reading and commenting! Always appreciate your insight🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely, the amount of things you can do now-a-days with a smartphone has basically revolutionized what it means to have a phone in our life, but the moment you start to feel like you want to adjust or make changes, it’s best to follow your gut because that’s your judgment telling you something; never worry too much about disconnecting or unplugging from any device and taking a time out to experience life how you want to experience life because technology is not going anywhere any time soon, so what you said about not wanting to look back and regret spending alot of time consumed on the phone at the expense of other life experiences, hits the nail on the head 💯🙏.

        I am very happy that you appreciate and embraced my thoughts because this is very much an area of life that I have thought about aswell (even more so after reading what you have shared on the matter) and it’s definitely something to pay attention to and upon seeing your lovely post, I was very compelled to contribute.

        Hahaha definitely, I am charmed by your take about your comforting stuffed animals and Journaling on paper, and I am happy for you. It’s a pleasure commenting and seeing what you have been up to, and can’t thank you enough for your sweet words and appreciation ☺️🤗🌹.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks indeed for sharing your thoughts! I’m reassured to know I’m not the only one who thinks about this topic! It’s always wonderful when you join the conversation. Here’s to following our intuition on when to take time to unplug from the devices. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Haha you are welcome; likewise, it’s very awesome to hear what you have to say my friend, aswell as having such an interesting conversation with you since we had not spoken in quite some time LOL. I will definitely keep in touch 🌹💙💙😇

        Correct, listing to our inner intuitive compass when it’s saying enough is enough, is within our optimal interest 👌😂😂

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I use an app called your hour that helps me limit my screen time. I can do challenges like the “4 hour Instagram challenge” where I can’t open Instagram and if I accidentally open it, they give me a 10-second warning before I fail the challenge. You can also do a “1 hour no phone challenge” but you can still receive phone calls (not WhatsApp) during that hour. You can block app usage after 30 minutes if you want. So many options and they give you a daily, weekly and monthly report so you can keep track of your screentime, in addition to your 5 most-used apps. They also give you an overall view of whether you are being obsessed with your phone, addicted to it, or just dependent on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ok this app is genius! Thank you for telling me about it. I like the challenges because it makes it like a game. And it’s good to see which apps we are using the most. Because sometimes I will have music playing in the background but not be looking at the phone, so it’s nice to not count that for screen time.


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