As soon as I open this door, I want to plop on that couch, flip on the TV and zone out.
(Ok let’s be realistic… as soon as I get home, work out, make dinner, wash the dishes, make tomorrow’s lunch, re-pack my life, take a shower, finish doing my side jobs… THEN I want to plop.)
When I finally get to sit down my right hand automatically picks up the remote… but my left hand feels left out.
Ah, yes. Food.
As my eyes dive into another world, my hands are accustomed to diving into something else… something in the shape of a bowl, bag, or box.
Channel surfing and waves of snacks go together so effortlessly, don’t they?
Why? Because we’re used to it!
Breaking The Routine
For me, snacking while veging out is a habit, a routine, a very comfortable pattern – and a mindless activity.
But without it… MY HANDS! What do I do with my hands!?
Related Article: Night Eating Turns Habit Eating
If you too struggle with post-work fidgety digits – I’ve got an early holiday gift for you today.
Here are 26 things to keep your hands busy while you relax the rest of your body and your mind.
26 Things To Do With Your Hands At Night Instead of Eating
- Decoratively paint your keys with nail polish so you can tell them apart (Add some sass to your brass!)
- Scrapbook or collage (When collaging, I love ripping paper, it makes me feel naughty – in a good way!)
- Give yourself a mani or pedi (Treat yourself to a little tub that you can fill with warm water and Epsom salt to soak your feet in at night)
- Play solitaire, Internet games, or video games
- Clean your laptop keyboard and screen (When was the last time you did THAT?)
- Write your computer passwords down all in one place (To save yourself 10 minutes of failed attempts and password resets every time you try to log in) Try something cute like this lil’ guy.
- Massage your scalp, shoulder, feet, or wherever needs rubbin’! (For my shoulders and back, I bought this ingenious invention called the Body Back Buddy that I don’t use nearly enough)
- Make gifts for upcoming holidays and birthdays for loved ones or even decorations for yourself (Popcorn strings, macaroni necklaces, paint and personalize a picture frame)
- Squeeze a forearm handgrip or stress ball (Take that, hands!)
- Sew, crochet, or knit
- Polish your jewelry or silverware (I sometimes find slow, repetitive acts relaxing)
- Iron (This one is all my Mother – it puts her in a calm state that I have yet to appreciate)
- Squish, bend, and stretch some play-doh® or FIMO® clay
- Braid, curl, straighten, brush, or play with your hair
- Pluck something (Eyebrows need a little sprucing??)
- Exfoliate and lotion your hands (Then slip on some socks or gloves to lock in the moisture)
- Drag a mini rake through a mini sand Zen garden (Tiny, cute things are always a good idea)
- Doodle or Color (Stress-relieving adult coloring books are a REAL thing! And they’re on my Christmas wish-list)
- Play an instrument, write a poem, paint, or draw
- Organize something (A gadget drawer, coupons, receipts, socks)
- Put backs on all of your earrings and make sure they all have matches
- Try your hands at origami (I wish thee luck!)
- Do a cross word puzzle, word search, or Sudoku puzzle
- Floss your teeth (Ok, listen… standing and doing this in front of the mirror is torture at times but on the couch, with a tissue handy, it feels like much less work, seriously, give it a try)
- Write a “GO ME!” List that includes things you did well today – things you’re proud of accomplishing (Give yourself some credit!)
- Write a “Gratitude List” thanking the universe for every awesome human, event, and thing in your life.
Mindful snacking is a “normal” (I always use that word lightly) and healthy activity. It helps satiate our taste buds and our tummies in between in meals so that we aren’t ravenous when lunch or dinner finally rolls around.
Related Article: The Art & Science of Snacking
I once heard that the most mindful eaters always have food with them – they’re prepared with feel good snacks around-the-clock. (I’m not quite there yet, I admit!)
It’s no secret to many of us that after dinner and late-night snacking can be a little trickier. So, I always start from the beginning:
Ok self. Let’s be honest. Am I hungry or bored?
So, as you digest this post (ha!), keep in mind that there is absolutely nothing wrong with mindfully munching – it’s fun and it’s yum. But when yum turns into “I feel a binge coming on!” hopefully we can refer to this list for some other food-free, hand-happy activities.
Until next time,
Do you have more of what Green Mountain Binge Eating Specialist Kari Anderson refers to as “food-incompatible activities” to add to the list? We’d love to hear your thoughts and strategies. This is our safe space to explore and share new ideas and yours are always welcome.