play solitaire with real cards





15 – 20 minutes



The electronic version of the solitaire became famous when Microsoft added it in Windows in 1990.

I didn’t know about it but apparently, it was done to help people familiarize with the operating system and the mouse, helping them among other moves, learn how to do the drag-and-drop move.

That’s not the reason why I played yesterday at 10:30 PM. Firts, I don’t play solitaire on my screen because I think I already have too much screen time. Plus, I don’t have a mouse anymore.

So here is the equation that lead me to this activity:

  • I was looking for an activity to quiet my mind before going to sleep. I don’t know about you but I need a transitory phase between activity and bed or the quality of my sleep is affected negatively.
  • I wanted to do something pleasant for myself before going to sleep. The hours before going bed time are kind of busy: making dinner, staying with the kids, taking them to bed, having dinner is fun. But taking some alone time before sleeping is a must.
  • I didn’t feel like watching TV
  • I wasn’t in the mood for reading
  • I wanted to do something that would last for 15-20 minutes, not more. Just enough to get me to sleep
  • I wanted something that was more fun than a meditation practice.
  • I wanted a self-care act that I had never done before to be able to share something new and pleasant with you.

Expressed that way, the unknowns of this equation seem very clear. Of course, they weren’t yesterday evening.

They were more like clustered thoughts, a general feeling that guided me. And that I followed until my eyes crossed a deck of playing cards on the dresser.

As soon as I saw it, I saw my aunt, Amina, sitting in her living room at night. Playing solitaire, game after game, relaxed, after a hard working day.

This image alone was a mind-calmer. Ok, time to play.

As soon as I started playing, I felt the same effect as when I played puzzles years ago.

During the first minutes of play, I could hear far-off, numerous and indistinct voices in my head.

If I had to make a guess about their nature, I’d say they’re all the noises and voices -mine included- that I hear during the day.

Mixing and walking in a huge metro station, which echoed.

They talked and talked and walked.

But when I started to play, they slowed down.

Some of them fade away.

Others decided to leave the metro station.

The metro itself stopped arriving at the station.

The more I played, the quieter it was.

I don’t know how much time it took, but after a little while, the station was empty, quiet, peaceful.

Dark and closed. 

And I was ready to go to sleep.

WHY IS IT SELF-CARE? Playing solitaire is a good way to quiet the mind before going to bed, a perfect alternative to meditating or reading.


For this self-care act to be self-care and quiet your mind, you need to play with real cards and not behind a screen, especially if you do it before going to sleep.

Generally speaking, if you want to improve the quality of your sleep, avoid screens during the 30 minutes preceding bed time.

If you play the electronic version anyways, don’t play at the office. A state employee in New York was fired by major Bloomberg for playing solitaire in 2006 🙂 Read the article here: Solitaire Costs Man His City Job After Bloomberg Sees Computer


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