15 Things to do Instead of Watching TV

Watching TV is without doubt a mental drain.

Of course not all TV programs are created equal and while this post would never suggest you giving up TV viewing entirely there might be a better way of using your time instead of watching TV that is either there to shock you (charity adverts especially), numb your perception of reality (news) or just feed your time with so called entertainment based on reality that isn’t really real (celebrity TV).

Those times that your screen is filled by scenes that either make you feel vulnerable, unsuitable or excite you enough to forget where you are, or what time it is, is the exact time to be doing something more positive.  After all you only get one life and for every hour you spend watching negative TV you’ve just lost another hour you could have spent making, or doing something much more fun with much better personal results.

Think of TV programs as your friends.  Friends are there to encourage and support you through the rough times and laugh with you through the good times.  You enjoy spending time with them, not to waste time, but to be part of their life and make memories along the way.

However some people you make friends with thinking you’ve got something to offer each other only it turns out you’re doing all the giving and they the taking.  By the end of a coffee morning with them you feel drained, annoyed at having wasted your time and worse you’ve just agreed to a whole load of things they want you to get involved in, soon realising your next weekend is going to be taken up with them again.

Some TV programs are exactly the same.  Some educate you, some amuse you and some give you ideas for your own life but then others just waste your afternoon, make you feel rubbish because you’re nothing like the people you see in front of you and think you should, and worse express their very opinionated viewpoints on to you without giving you any time to respond.

So instead lets get rid of rubbish TV by doing something else instead.  Switch your set off and find something more engaging, more life fulfilling than the hour your about to waste on that one programme you think you should watch, just because everyone else is too*

*It won’t be everyone.

15 Things to do Instead of Watching TV

  1. Go for a walk – in 30 minutes you can get your heart muscles going, keep your cholesterol down, clear your head, burn between 75 and 125 calories, and get your blood circulating around your legs.
  2. Write a letter – when was the last time you contacted that friend that you haven’t seen for years?  Frightened they won’t respond?  Write it without any expectation and let them know you’re still there for them.
  3. Read a book – an hour spent reading your favourite author or subject is an hour you’ve just gained enjoying and learning something at the same time.
  4. Review your day – spend time writing down (it doesn’t have to be a diary) what went well today and what didn’t go so well.  Who did you meet and what did you learn.
  5. Make plans for tomorrow – write down what you want to get done tomorrow.  By having a part list, part idea, you’ll have a foundation for getting a kick start the following day.  Even a shopping list can make your day a lot easier.
  6. Spend time with family members – go and visit them for an hour, or if living at home try (try of course being the operative word with teenagers) to engage them in talk.  Ask them about their day and be prepared to listen
  7. Dig out and play a board game with your partner – board games are highly underrated (in the world of electronic gaming) and shouldn’t be as they are not only challenging but offer the chance to chat, laugh and learn all at the same time.
  8. Learn something new.  In one hour you could practice a new language, a new musical instrument, a new skill.  In a month those hours soon start to add up and the skill becomes yours.
  9. Spend time in the garden, or local park.  Notice the season, the time and the plants.  What do they tell you?  It sounds slightly poetical but spending time with nature is not only better for your health but it’s just nice to enjoy the very plants, grounds and earth you’re blessed with seeing at that very moment.  Don’t take it for granted, it’s there for a reason.
  10. Do something towards your dream.  Everyone has that one dream they have been thinking about their whole lives but haven’t done anything about it.  Write it down, look at it and start to act on it.  If you only want to keep it as a dream then why does it come to the forefront of your mind so often?  Making just one step towards your dream will feel incredibly empowering.
  11. Do something completely out of the ordinary.  Getting out of your comfort zone isn’t easy and shouldn’t be done regularly but just for an hour go and do something radical.  For an introvert that means going into a social setting and attempting to chit chat to people you’ve never met.  For an extrovert that means learning to enjoy silence, alone.
  12. Plant a tree – in less than a hour you could plant a new tree that will not only provide colour and structure in your garden but could also bring in more birds that will also get to enjoy it.
  13. Plan a patch of ground.  Not your whole garden, just an area that you could give full attention to and turn it into something unique.
  14. De-clutter – spend an hour working on a pile of papers, your wardrobe or other area that has become messy and turn it into an organised place that you can feel proud of.  If nothing else it will also clear your mind.
  15. Spend an hour doing something just for you.  Take time out to look after yourself and pamper yourself for one full hour, without interruptions, distractions or even thinking about anyone else.  It’s just one hour and nothing will fall apart, leave you or become unstable.  And contrary to what I wrote above if that one hour involves sitting down with a cuppa and watching mindless TV because it makes you relax and feel better then so be it – it is after all, your hour.


What do you do instead of watching TV?


Cover photo courtesy of theilr


6 responses to “15 Things to do Instead of Watching TV

  1. Love it! I’ve got a friend with a 3 year old and 8 year old and they actually gave away their tv on Jan 1st and it’s lovely hearing what the girls do instead – one has discovered origami in a big way, and they have more family time. They seem a lot closer and happier without it.

  2. well we have never had tv here some 27 years now and the four girls survived their growing up without it. only one out of the four is a tv lover and mostly she downloads shows to watch not use the channels.
    we all love food eating it and growing it. we all tend to be good readers enjoy playing scrabble backgammon, cards . us girls knit or crochet or sew. we draw and write some play ukelele or guitar. we talk to each other . doing nothing is highly valued or we could call it meditation contemplation reflection – Being.
    there is a tv in the room with a cover over it and we can play dvds when and if we choose.
    we hear the frogs in the evenings and enjoy the quiet. I know quite a few families without tele. as our youngest says when does one ever get the time to watch it.
    good call on the 15 things


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