In the margin

25 things to do instead of watching TV

27 March 2017
too much TV 2

I love settling into the couch and watching my favourite TV show just as much as the next person. Over the last few years, I have watched (and watched and watched) many stories unfold over a few too many seasons, such as How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Friends or Gilmore Girls, just to name a few!

But a few months ago, I realised that it was just no longer worth it. I was wasting so much time catching up on stories and characters I didn’t even like that much anymore. If you guesstimate that an average person watches 2 40-minute TV show episodes every evening during the week, that adds up to 6 hours and 40 minutes a week and 26 hours and 20 minutes every month!

I have many hobbies that bring me much more joy than any TV show, so I decided to try and dedicate as much time as possible to them and reduce screen time as well. I set myself two goals: to not get into a new show (despite the many recommendations I hear virtually every day), and also to stop watching most of the shows I was already following. I wanted to read more instead, or just relax without looking at a screen.

After a certain weaning period (TV is a real drug, I swear), I managed to reach my two goals. I now only watch one episode of Jane the Virgin a week, and I truly enjoy every minute of it! I also watch the occasional episode of New Girl every once in a while. My time-consuming habit has now become an occasional treat and I feel so much better for it.

I suspect that I am not the only person to have let TV take up too much time in an already busy schedule. So I thought I’d share a few ideas of all the things you could do instead of watching TV, if you feel like branching out and trying new things!

  1. Scrapbooking (I really need to write an article on that someday)
  2. Listen to a podcast or an audiobook without falling asleep ;)
  3. Make tawashi sponges with old laddered tights, so as to avoid buying ordinary sponges and also to reduce waste
  4. Go to a museum
  5. Make jam or fruit leather: it’ll be a readymade gift for the next person who invites you over for dinner
  6. Make your own candles (to gift or to keep) homemade candles
  7. Open your kitchen cupboards, figure out what pantry items are going to go off and decide what to do with them
  8. Plan what to do at the weekend
  9. Go for a walk
  10. Choose your outfit for the next day so you save a little time in the morning
  11. Bake apples with honey, cinnamon and vanilla
  12. Make your own lip balm with whole, real ingredients
  13. Sew a button onto a coat or shirt or fix a hole in a pocket (I always have something on hand that needs repairing, don’t you?)
  14. Place citrus peels in a bottle of white vinegar to be used later on to clean your house
  15. Contact some friends to plan a meetup in the coming weeks
  16. Prepare a lunchbox or two for work: a few ideas here
  17. Call or write to someone you haven’t seen in a while
  18. Soak some dry chickpeas or lentils so you can cook them the next day
  19. Go through and reorganise your bookcase, sock drawer or whatever tickles your fancy
  20. Light a scented candle or an essential oil diffuser in your living room
  21. Listen to a record from before you were born
  22. Exercise (I have heard that some people find this relaxing)
  23. Bake a quick cake to take to work the next day: your colleagues will love you for it
  24. Read a book (such a simple idea should really been among the first ideas of the list)
  25. Try out a new craft: watercolour painting, drawing, calligraphy…

Are you also trying to cut back on watching TV, or do you love watching your favourite shows? What other hobbies help you relax?

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2 Comments

  • Reply Greg 25 April 2017 at 19 h 34 min

    You’ve just added 25 things to my to do list!

    • Reply Nathalie 26 April 2017 at 5 h 47 min

      Haha sorry about that!

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