11 Things to Do Instead of Watching TV

I know, the fall lineup is just around the corner and there are so many great shows just waiting to be DVR’d. But, I’d like to offer an alternative. I don’t think many would argue that prolonged TV watching is not good for us. Getting lost in TV shows causes us to be physically inactive, not counting the hand-to-mouth exercise of snacking that often accompanies TV watching. Also, excessive watching can lead to gathering knowledge and opinions based on what others are saying. We aren’t using our own critical thinking with a mix of sources and facts to determine our own viewpoints. These are just a few of the reasons this inactive activity is not very good for us.

So, what can you do instead?  Here are some entertaining options to consider instead:

  • Read a book – This can include listening to an audio book as well. Both fiction and non-fiction have benefits. How is this different from watching a story told in my favorite series? For one, it improves your vocabulary. You are much more likely to slow down and process a word you are unfamiliar with when reading compared to when watching TV. Also, as there are no actors or directors creating every image for you, you engage your imagination and develop your own images and ideas.
  • Do a puzzle – Puzzles are FUN! The whole family can participate and they are a fantastic stress reliever. This activity forces both sides of our brain to communicate. The left side focuses on the individual pieces are tries to sort them into a logical order. The right brain focuses on the bigger picture. This activity helps to improve our short-term memory, and releases a nice dose of dopamine each time we properly place a piece.
  • Organize something – This could be a junk drawer, a stack of photos, or that basket of junk mail on the counter. This will make you feel accomplished and productive and will no doubt remind you to take care of something you’ve long forgotten about.
  • Play a game – Cards, board games, even memorization games related to kids’ homework creates a group activity that engages everyone. Using memory, strategy, and imagination are more cognitively stimulating than TV. These also tend to keep our hands too busy to munch on goodies.
  • Set goals – Whether creating a to-do list for tomorrow or giving thought to what you’d like to accomplish in the next five years, spend time setting goals. Start with a goal, then break it down into smaller pieces and milestones that you can start working on immediately.
  • Personal Development – While the internet can be as much of a mind-suck as TV, if you discipline yourself to stay focused, it can be a great benefit. Search up classes or blogs that address an area of personal development you’d like to work on. This will help you surround yourself with tips and techniques to get working on that area.
  • Professional Development – Deep dive into articles that can sharpen your skills professionally. You can also connect with others in the same field through LinkedIn or local networking groups. It can be difficult to find time during working hours to do this, but this can set you apart from your peers and make you more valuable. It also allows you the opportunity to share articles of interest with others you’d like to stay professionally connected with.
  • Get physical – You knew this was coming. A spin class, yoga dvd, or a walk after dinner are much more beneficial to you than the latest episode of your favorite show.
  • Catch up with a friend or relative – Life can get away from us, causing us to lose touch with those we care about. A nice chat over the phone or Skype will feel much better than that TV program.
  • Take a class – This can be an adult education class, a class at your local craft store, or any other interesting way to learn something new. There are so many options out there. You can meet new people and have fun learning.
  • Join a group – You know I’m a lover of Toastmasters, but there are plenty of other organizations that would love to have you. Church groups, reading groups, hiking groups. The list goes on and on. Again, you’ll meet new people and expose yourself to new ideas and activities.

To be clear, sometimes watching TV is great way to relax and unwind. It can also be a great form of entertainment. But several hours of just TV watching most nights, is doing more harm than good. You deserve more goodness in your life, so stretch yourself and try one of these other activities instead.

I KNOW there are more than 11 things to do instead of watching TV, so won’t you share one? Tell us in the comments section something else you think would be a great replacement, or share why one of the 11 listed is a favorite of yours!

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Comments

  1. Read a book is a great placement of watching TV. I like to process the stories in the book and use visual imagination. Watching a movie in the theater is another entertainment option, as the movie only lasts for 2-3 hours, and TV shows and news take place everyday and it can really make us lazy and inactive.

    • I really like your point about the movie theater, Erin! It’s a limited amount of time and entertaining. It’s not like we’d forget to get up… When the movie is over, we leave. Great option, thanks for sharing it!

  2. I LOVE this post! Particularly because I cannot really commit to watching TV… I feel I have no time, and by the time I do, I fall asleep watching! As I have many professional development things I am working on, I like the idea of doing that instead… and reading… Reading is bad for you – said no one ever!!!

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