30 relaxing activities to do instead of watching TV

30 relaxing activities to do instead of watching TV

According to a 2016 Nielsen report, Americans watch more than five hours of television a day. It’s easy to get sucked in and realize you’ve spent your whole evening watching TV. While some screen time can be relaxing and entertaining, too much of it can negatively impact your:

  • Mental health. “When you are watching TV, you aren’t using much cognition, but rather shutting down,” says Nancy Morales, MFA, ATR, a counseling intern at Cancer Wellness.

  • Physical health. Blue light from screens—including televisions, tablets and smartphones—stimulates the body, which can cause you to have trouble falling asleep or sleeping deeply. Avoid using a screen an hour before bed.

  • Relationships. “Watching television tends to isolate us and diminish conversations within families,” she explains.

30 things to do besides watching TV

“Anything you can do to be creative, get outside in nature, get moving and spend time with other people is a beneficial activity,” says Morales. 

These activities can help you be intentional with your time, making the most of your life:

  1. Arrange flowers

  2. Bird watch (put a small birdfeeder outside a window)

  3. Cook or bake

  4. Craft or work on an art project

  5. Draw

  6. Doodle in a coloring book

  7. Enjoy a cup of tea

  8. Fill out a crossword puzzle or Sudoku

  9. Garden

  10. Go for a walk in nature

  11. Have a picnic in your living room

  12. Journal

  13. Knit

  14. Learn to play a musical instrument

  15. Listen to music

  16. Listen to a podcast or audiobook

  17. Meditate

  18. Pamper yourself with a beauty treatment

  19. Play a board game

  20. Play with your pet or take your dog for a walk

  21. Put together a puzzle

  22. Read a book

  23. Sit on your front porch to get fresh air

  24. Skype or FaceTime with a loved one who lives far away

  25. Snap photos around your neighborhood

  26. Stargaze

  27. Take a bubble bath or long shower

  28. Take a class for fun, such as art, cooking or photography

  29. Volunteer

  30. Write a letter to a friend

Remember, it’s okay to start small.

“When you’re sick and going through chemotherapy, the last thing you may want to do is go for a walk, but if you can just sit outside on your porch for a few minutes, you’ll get the benefits of the sights and sounds of nature,” says Morales.

See more creative ways to make the most of your time.

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