Admittedly, I love TV. I’m a sucker for a good story, romance, and comedy all rolled into one. Throw in some high quality acting and a well-choreographed surprise musical number (here’s looking at you The Magicians) and you have my attention. I’ll also be the first to admit that watching tv, even in small doses, can sometimes turn your brain to mush. Shows are loaded with programming for your subconscious. Hello, they’re even called “programs”, and after a while whatever you’re watching will inevitably seep into the recesses of your brain for better or worse.
Something my husband and I are stretching ourselves to do is kick TV altogether, eventually. For now, we restrict ourselves like grounded teenagers and stick to the most benign content we can find. No ghost hunters or gory horror, nothing heart-wrenching or emotionally draining, and nothing with themes that aren’t things we want burned into our brains. So basically Hallmark movies and educational documentaries, which is fine because I like both.
When you’re in the moment looking for something to do besides flip on the TV, for some reason our modern brains can short circuit and think of zero alternative activities. So, I made a list if you need some help remembering what people used to do in the olden days before all of our furniture was pointed at the picture box. If you, too, are looking to reduce your television consumption and engage in the real world during your evenings at home, here are 11 activities you can do instead by yourself or with a friend or partner.
#1. Play a game.
Uno is a house favorite around here. Get your mind engaged and do something fun alone or with your partner that adds a little excitement and competition to the evening. Puzzles are a great option, too.
#2. Play with your pet.
My cats don’t get TV at all. They also don’t understand the concept of not interrupting during the most dramatic scene. Show your furry friends some love and engage in playtime instead of playing zombie. They’ll appreciate you for it, and you’ll probably be happier since playing with animals has that effect on people.
#3. Go for a walk.
Who cares if the sun has gone down? Get out and stretch your legs. I love going for long walks in the evenings after dinner to process my meal and have meaningful conversations with my husband. Plus, the dose of fresh air is so much better than blasting my eyeballs with blue light from a screen.
#4. Read a book.
TV gets in the way of my reading. I know I’m not the only one that would have an empty reading list if I trading all my TV time from the last year and made it reading time. No more excuses!
#5. Create a vision board.
Dreaming and positive visualization is perhaps one of the best things you can do for yourself instead of mindlessly watching TV. Either by yourself or with your partner, use Pinterest or good old fashioned paper and scissors to create a vision board of your life or one thing in particular you are excited about experiencing in your future.
#6. Have a conversation.
With the talking heads on TV doing the, well, talking… we forget that other living human beings are in the room with us! Talk to them!
#7. Plan your dream vacation.
Tangent to creating a vision board, you can also plan your dream vacation. This might look like a vision board, or it might look like exploring the website of cool resorts and making a list of things to do or see in your destination.
#8. Do yoga.
Moving the body is always a great activity. Yoga can be a workout or it can be super gentle and relaxing, so there’s never an excuse to skip it. Your body will thank you!
#9. Clean your house.
Suddenly I’ve wasted my entire evening binge watching Netflix and like a miracle, I’m too exhausted to take 10 minutes to load the dishwasher. Tidy up early in the evening for a house and mind that feels better!
#10. Sit around a fire.
Alone, with friends, or with your partner, a fire is a fun place to commune for good conversation or just staring into space while the flames flicker. Plug in with nature a bit, sit back, and relax!
#11. Have sex.
Need I say more? Quit watching TV and get busy!