Have you ever wondered about what to do instead of watching TV? When the working day is over, you may find yourself reaching for the remote control. Television consumption usually doesn’t require much cognitive effort and it’s a way of shutting down while trying to relax. Keep reading to learn more!
Table of contents
- Revealed: What over-consuming TV does to your brain
- 26 Fun and productive ideas of what to do instead of watching TV
- Expert tip: Start monitoring how much TV you watch
- How do I stop myself from watching TV?
- Are there other activities that are healthier than watching television?
- What happens when you quit watching TV?
- How do I stop watching TV and start reading?
- Articles related to self-improvement
- Leverage this great list of what to do instead of watching TV!
While there’s nothing wrong with kicking back and catching up on your favorite shows, too much of anything is unhealthy. When you’re working towards your goals or looking to achieve overall wellness, watching television may not be the best use of your time.
If you feel like you don’t have enough hours in the day, there’s a simple way to find more. Cutting back on your television time will open up new space in your calendar. In this article, we will talk about what to do instead of watching TV but first let’s discuss over-consuming TV and your mind!
Revealed: What over-consuming TV does to your brain
We all love a good TV show but you may have also heard the saying: “Watching too much TV rots your brain”. But, is it really true?
There’s a body of research that reveals how this so-called relaxing habit could be impacting your mind. According to Scientific American, over-consuming television can be linked to antisocial behavior, a new structure in your brain, and even lower verbal IQ.
To break that down, watching hours of TV could hinder your brain and your verbal skills. Luckily, there is an answer. You don’t have to cut out the television completely. However, finding things to do instead of watching TV will give you more options.
As you will see in the following section, there are loads of fun and productive things you could be doing rather than binge watching shows. You can use the below ideas as inspiration if you always feel tempted to reach for the TV remote!
26 Fun and productive ideas of what to do instead of watching TV
Rather than spending your free time in front of the television, be more intentional with your time to make the most of it. Here are 26 productive things to do instead of watching TV:
Take some time to journal and get your thoughts and ideas out onto paper. Journaling helps to clear your mind and may even bring about new ideas and goals.
It is also a great way to decompress. If you need some inspiration, check out these 60 journal prompts for self-discovery.
2. Read a book
Whether you’re reading something educational or getting lost in a novel, reading is a great alternative to watching television. Reading non-fiction gives you the opportunity to learn or improve upon something. Your relaxation levels will go through the roof.
Reading fiction opens up your imagination and provides a deeper, less superficial form of entertainment. So read a good book during your free time.
3. Go for a walk
Being out in nature is beneficial for your physical and mental health. You’ll get the benefits of movement and exercise while also giving yourself time to think without too much external stimulation.
You may even discover things that you may not have noticed or paid attention to in your neighborhood.
And if you’re up for it, a hike is a fun idea for weekends or after work in the summertime. The fresh air and exercise will keep you from wondering what to do instead of watching TV.
4. Go for a drive
Maybe there’s an area in your city that you’ve been longing to explore. Get out of the house and drive around for a while.
Go somewhere that’s new to you and familiarize yourself with the area. You may uncover some hidden gems and find some other things to do instead of watching hours of TV.
5. Spend time with your friends
Host a dinner party or game night to spend some quality time with your best friends. You could even go and get manicures and pedicures at a local salon. Enjoy some time being social and conversing with others.
Being isolated can be overwhelming, and seeing and spending time with your friends can be a better alternative to watching movies alone.
6. Complete projects around your house
There may be some home improvement projects, either big or small, that you have started or want to start. If you’re wondering what to do instead of watching hours of TV, get to work on those projects.
You may have put them off due to a lack of energy or time. Make some time to complete them by cutting back on your TV time.
7. Deep clean and organize your home
When looking forWhen looking for things to do instead of watching TV, organizing and decluttering is a great task to take on. Spending time cleaning & organizing will reveal things that you no longer want or use.
You can then donate or sell those items at a garage sale or online to free up space in your home. You may even find things that you do need or want that were misplaced in the clutter.
You can even take the time to organize your closet and who knows, you might discover new outfit ideas you didn’t consider before.
8. Listen to music
Pull up your favorite albums or playlists and listen to the music that you love. Some of this music may be tied to memories that spark and inspire conversations.
Listen to music from certain eras of your life, and allow it to inspire thoughts and feelings from that point in time.
Take some time to belt out and dance to your favorite tunes. The music may also make you feel productive and help you get other things done.
9. Learn something new
When it comes to achieving your goals, increasing your knowledge or learning a new skill may be a big part of the necessary work.
Maybe there’s something that you’ve always wanted to learn but you’ve never had the time to do it. Like learning to play an instrument, learning how to cook, or finding out how to invest, and be better with your money.
Putting some time into your education is one of the most useful things to do instead of watching TV. Discovering something new not only increases your knowledge and skills but also gives you the opportunity to experience new things.
10. Practice meditation
Turn inward and bring your awareness to the present moment via meditation. Meditation will relax your mind and can clear your brain of racing thoughts.
It also improves your mental health and self-awareness which can help you be more productive and work towards achieving your goals. If you’re looking for a way to combine relaxation with a productive activity, this is the way to go.
11. Improve your finances
Instead of watching TV, spend some time working on tasks that will improve your finances. Set financial goals or make a written plan to meet the goals that are already in place.
Take a few moments to create or update your budget so that you’ll have more control of your money and where it’s going.
Use this time to improve your knowledge of personal finance. You can research and read about financial management, budgeting, investing, etc. with your time not spent watching television.
12. Make more money
One of the most beneficial things to do instead of watching TV is to make more money. If you have a side hustle, put some work in to bring in more extra cash. If you don’t already have a side hustle, take this opportunity to start one.
There are several different ways to bring in extra income such as blogging, starting a business, passive income streams, selling on Amazon or Etsy, and joining the gig economy. Cut back on the hours of TV to do something that will bring in extra money.
13. Volunteer your time
Take some time away from the TV to volunteer and make a difference. Find a cause that you’re passionate about and volunteer to help out.
Volunteering is also a great way to socialize and meet new people while doing your part!
14. Rest and relax
We spend a lot of our day mentally stimulated in one way or another. How often do you get some time to relax and just be without any sort of stimulation?
Resting is one of the most productive things to do instead of watching TV. Yes, rest is productive.
Your mind and body aren’t meant to always fire on all cylinders, so resting is a cheat code to help you be more productive. Instead of watching TV, just relax and do nothing for a little while.
15. Get more sleep
Cut back on TV in favor of getting more sleep. If you’re watching a show or movie late at night while the day is winding down, you’re cutting into the time that you have to sleep. Turn off the TV and get some rest instead.
Watching TV whenWatching TV when you’re about to go to sleep increases external stimulation and you may get caught up and continue watching even if you told yourself that you would only watch an episode or two.
Limit yourself to how much TV you watch before bed, and set a time when you turn off the TV and go to sleep.
16. Find new hobbies
If you find that you’re spending your time watching too much television, it’s a great time to find a new hobby. Take up rock climbing, write poetry, try a craft like learning how to knit, or do any other fun things you can think of.
And even better, get a friend or two to start a new hobby with you. That way you can be social and try a new hobby at the same time.
If you’re not sure where to start with this one, take a look at Pinterest and see what catches your eye. You might be surprised by what you find there.
17. Listen to some podcasts
Trading Netflix for podcasts is a great idea! You can laugh and be entertained, or find out more about a subject you care about.
So next time you’re tempted to reach for the remote, grab your headphones and tune in to a podcast instead. You can binge a podcast series and learn something new at the same time.
18. Take a class
When you’re wondering what to do instead of watching TV, you can try out a class for a subject that you find interesting. Whether that’s painting, writing a book or freelancing, or playing piano, you’ll gain a new skill.
And taking a class, either online or in person, can introduce you to a whole new network of people. You may find people to cheer you on in your career, finances, and life.
19. Cook or bake something
Try out a new recipe or two instead of watching television. Go shopping, or see what you have in the fridge or pantry and work with that.
It’ll get you off the couch and instead, you’ve discovered a fun way to spend an hour or two. And who knows? Maybe you have a hidden cooking talent you didn’t even know about. You can even start creating meal plans to save yourself some more money.
20. Work out
A workout at the gym or at home is the perfect thing to add to your evening routine. You might take up running, tennis, a yoga class, or other fitness activity.
The point is to get moving and find a good alternative to TV. As a bonus, you’ll likely feel better and be healthier.
21. Start a garden
Spend time outdoors in the fresh air by starting a garden. If you have a lot of space, you might try growing tomatoes and other plants that take up a lot of room.
But even if you don’t have a yard, you can still create a small herb garden in a window box or even indoors. You can make watering and care for your garden part of your daily routine instead of TV.
22. Go to a local event
Find out what’s happening in your city and go check out an event. A concert, restaurant opening, or some other fun activity is a great way to get out of the house and do something interesting.
Invite friends or family to join you to make it even more fun.
23. Visit an art gallery, museum, or the library
To find out what to do instead of watching TV, check out the interesting places in your town or city.
Visit an art gallery, or try out a museum for a fun and educational experience. Or you can always visit the library and check out some books.
24. Take a bike ride
A bike ride is a fantastic way to get some exercise and explore your town. You can even take some friends or family with you and make it an adventure by bringing along a picnic.
You can start out with an easy path, or if you’re an expert bike rider, challenge yourself with a more difficult trail instead.
25. Spend time with a pet
Instead of sitting around, take your dog out in the backyard for a game of frisbee, or teach your pet a new trick. Not only do you get to spend quality time with your pet, but pets also lower your stress levels.
26. Start a photography project
Photography is a great hobby that could also make you some serious money. If you’re a creative person, it may be worth looking into this side project. You can start taking pictures of the environment around you, go on nature walks, or even create some portraits.
Get started by looking into photography courses, investing in some equipment, and learning as you go. You might find that you have a natural knack for taking epic photos.
Expert tip: Start monitoring how much TV you watchChances are, you have a few TV shows you enjoy watching. You don’t have to cut them out completely. Start tracking how much time you spend watching tv and then aim to cut back by a few minutes (or hours) each time.
Based on your assessment, you may find that it’s helpful to only watch one hour per night (or every two nights!). You could spread a TV series over a few weeks, rather than binge watching it. Being aware of how much TV you tend to watch will help you to dedicate less time to it.
Another option is to use “rules” to determine when you watch TV. For example, you can choose to avoid watching it after 9 PM. Or you can watch shows once a week on a Friday. Whatever you choose to do instead of watching TV, can be a positive move.
How do I stop myself from watching TV?
When you know that, it can help you to curb your screen-time. Next, create a list of things you can do instead of watching TV. Try a few of them for yourself the next time you are tempted to start watching a show.
Are there other activities that are healthier than watching television?
Yes! There are certainly several other activities that are healthier than watching television. For example, you can join a gym or a sports team. Physical exercise not only supports your body but it helps to boost your brain power.
If you’re not into physical fitness, you can to take up another type of hobby. Reading can help to broaden your vocabulary, for example. Gardening can also give you a chance to spend time in the fresh air. Consider what interests you have — other than watching TV — and start exploring them now.
What happens when you quit watching TV?
When you quit watching television, you will find that you have more time than ever. The average American spends 294 minutes per day watching TV. Think about what you could do with that time.
If you’re not sure where to start, consider things like meditating, volunteering your time, reading or listening to books, working out, or even decluttering your life and home.
How do I stop watching TV and start reading?
If you want to stop watching TV and start reading more, focus on making reading a habit. The good news is that reading books can be a great habit to build!
Let’s say that you tend to watch TV each evening. You finish your dinner and then turn on the television. Well, rather than turning on the TV, pick up a book. Start by trying to read for five minutes. You can set a timer to help you along the way.
Chances are, when the alarm goes off, you ill be absorbed in the story and want to carry on reading!
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Leverage this great list of what to do instead of watching TV!
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying TV, but too much of it has proved to have some unhealthy consequences and can be detrimental to achieving your goals.
Over consuming TV can cause you to be antisocial, unproductive, and anxious, among other things. So rather than spending several hours in front of the TV each day, think of better ways to spend and maximize your time.