It began with a serious bout of burnout. After years of burning the candle at both ends, creator, business owner, and self-proclaimed workaholic Amy Tangerine found herself all out of wick. Her creative flow had run dry, her sense of purpose became less clear, and she was struggling to bring the best version of herself to her work, her friends, and even her family.
“I knew something needed to change,” she wrote while looking back on that time.
One massive change was her approach to sleep. Instead of making the laptop the last thing she looked at each night, she created a bedtime routine that was filled with intention, making space for her to move out of work mode and into a place of pure presence and imagination. She began reading books instead of scrolling through her phone; journaling her thoughts instead of obsessing over them; painting her feelings instead of letting them stew. They were small things that made a big difference in how she was able to show up for herself and others each morning.
That journey also led her to a community of scrapbookers who were using their creative talents to document the joy in their lives. It inspired her to become the multi-passionate maker she is today — teaching craft workshops around the world, filming colorful YouTube videos for her loyal following, and sharing tips from her best-selling book, “Craft a Life You Love.” It’s safe to say that this recovering workaholic has replenished her wick.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
How does your partner support your bedtime routine?
We have a great harmony and rhythm now, though it took some time and adjustment with a new baby. I am grateful for a supportive partner who enjoys cooking and is quite good at it. Throughout our relationship we’ve had a philosophy of “whoever cooks doesn’t have to clean,” but after kids, it’s whatever works in the moment. We do order delivery often because it’s just easier for all of us as working parents.
Though I don’t love to clean, I tend to be a bit more thorough, so I tidy up while JC plays with the kids. I am in charge of tubby time (bath) so that’s when JC watches sports or does a crossword puzzle. He also spends quality time with the kids while I take 10 minutes (or so) to wash my face and brush my teeth. I suppose we have a divide-and-conquer routine that really works for us right now.
Did you learn anything from anyone regarding your routine?
Someone once told me that one of the best traits you can have while traveling is being adaptable. It turns out that it’s a good lesson for life, too. Since we’ve spent so much time at home together in the last couple of years, it’s really wonderful to be able to figure out what works best for us and our priorities.
How do you balance family time and self-time at night?
It’s an ongoing process that takes intentional practice. We have made a tremendous effort to not have individual screen time after school/activities until bedtime. It doesn’t always work out, but we have found that time goes quickly and there are only a few hours for all of us to connect and play.
I’ve also made a huge effort to stop working after hours like I used to, but it’s easier said than done — especially for someone who’s had their own business for 20+ years and is a recovering workaholic. Prioritizing self-time is really important.
Since the baby is still nursing and in bed with us (it’s what allows me the most sleep as a mom), I usually wait until she’s asleep to read or do stuff on my phone. The nighttime journaling and morning pages have not been as consistent these days, but I have also learned that giving yourself grace is just as important as sticking to a routine!
Why is creativity important to your bedtime routine?
Creativity as an act of self-care is important to me for so many reasons. While I am lucky to engage with it during the day because it’s a large part of my job, I have found that everyone can benefit from just 10 minutes of doing something creative, just for themselves. Journaling, painting, crafting — anything you find freeing can be therapeutic. Even something as simple as writing the next day’s to-do list can free yourself from the worry of trying to remember things, allowing you to have more restful sleep.
What parts of your routine help you feel like you’re mentally ready for bed? Why?
- Reading and not being on devices too much. I indulge in good TV shows and find that sometimes you just need to do that for yourself. But when I sit down with a good book before bed, I have noticed that I feel more rested and usually fall asleep faster.
- Journaling at night is a beautiful practice that I plan to go back to after our daughter stops nursing.