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!
- Scrapbooking (I really need to write an article on that someday)
- Listen to a podcast or an audiobook without falling asleep ;)
- Make tawashi sponges with old laddered tights, so as to avoid buying ordinary sponges and also to reduce waste
- Go to a museum
- Make jam or fruit leather: it’ll be a readymade gift for the next person who invites you over for dinner
- Make your own candles (to gift or to keep)
- Open your kitchen cupboards, figure out what pantry items are going to go off and decide what to do with them
- Plan what to do at the weekend
- Go for a walk
- Choose your outfit for the next day so you save a little time in the morning
- Bake apples with honey, cinnamon and vanilla
- Make your own lip balm with whole, real ingredients
- 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?)
- Place citrus peels in a bottle of white vinegar to be used later on to clean your house
- Contact some friends to plan a meetup in the coming weeks
- Prepare a lunchbox or two for work: a few ideas here
- Call or write to someone you haven’t seen in a while
- Soak some dry chickpeas or lentils so you can cook them the next day
- Go through and reorganise your bookcase, sock drawer or whatever tickles your fancy
- Light a scented candle or an essential oil diffuser in your living room
- Listen to a record from before you were born
- Exercise (I have heard that some people find this relaxing)
- Bake a quick cake to take to work the next day: your colleagues will love you for it
- Read a book (such a simple idea should really been among the first ideas of the list)
- 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?