I love Netflix. There is nothing more enjoyable than catching up on my favorite TV shows after a long day. However, Netflix can be a black hole for productivity. Suddenly you find yourself halfway through a season, and you should have been in bed hours ago.
Why do so many of us gravitate to watching TV when we want to relax? Sure, watching a show doesn't require that much energy, but something that requires (or demands) our attention can't be that much of mental break. Isn't a mental break exactly what we all crave at the end of a day?
I know with the days getting shorter and the temperatures dropping, it’s easier to give in to the sweet temptation of Netflix. So to avoid binge watching my evenings away, I have created a list of alternatives to try!
Things to Do Instead of Watching TV
Go For a Walk
I know, I know! Who can convince themselves to be active when all they really want to do is watch TV?! Hear me out though. Wouldn't a short walk after work (or classes) help us de-stress or unwind much more than immediately collapsing onto the couch? Not only will you feel more refreshed, but also happy that you accomplished something! If you can, try to not bring any distractions, but if music is a must, try something that is relaxing.
Whether it is catching up on the latest news, starting a new book, or skimming through your favorite magazine, reading is a great activity. It is often (at least with me) forgotten, so I am working on making it a daily habit. Compared to watching TV, reading is a great indicator of how tired you are becoming. Does anyone else get sleepy after reading only a few pages? Unless you are just utterly bored and it is only 5 in the afternoon, your body is probably telling you to go to bed! This is why I like to read right before heading to bed.
This is another habit that I am bad at sticking with, but when I do it I feel much lighter. This is a great way to address any hidden (or not so hidden) stress from the day, as well as reflecting on the good events that happened!
Whether calling your mom or catching up with an old friend, staying in touch with loved ones is important for our overall health. With our busy schedules, it can be hard to make time for family and friends, but that is why when you find yourself with a few hours to spare, don't waste it in front of the TV! The memories you make, even talking on the phone, will be much more rewarding than catching up on the latest season.
Work on a Hobby
Whether you like to draw, knit, cook, or create cute crafts, working on a hobby can be much more fulfilling than aimlessly sitting in front of the TV. Hobbies can often feel like chores, but turn on some music, make a cup of tea and soon enough you'll remember why you picked up that hobby in the first place!
If all else fails turn on some upbeat music and have a dance party in the kitchen. Your roommates (and pets) will look at you like you’re crazy, but ignore them! :)