One of my favorite ways to kill free time is by watching tv (or YouTube). It’s easy entertainment. However, I’m starting to get into a rut of watching until I feel like my eyeballs are going to fall out (no one’s perfect right). If I binge watch, I find myself in a static emotional state, it’s not a great place to be. To counter I’m trying to watch less tv and actually do something that’s healthy and makes me happy.
I’ve come up with a list of a few things you can do instead of watching tv, just as a sample of some of the things I’ve been doing when I start to feel I’m in a dangerous spiral of doom. You’ll see that many of these involve socializing or going outside and that’s because I find it’s best to do something that will make you happy when avoiding that static state of being.
- Play with fluffy animals
Whether it’s a cat, a dog, or a rabbit, animals are lovely to be around (so long as you’re not allergic). Cuddling with a pet not only will make you feel happy it will also make them feel happy and loved.
- Go for a walk
Getting a bit of fresh air can make you feel better if you’ve been cooped up inside too long. It can be hard to just step outside sometimes, I know I drag my feet and cry like a five-year-old when I make myself go out but I rarely regret it.
- Call a friend/Go out with a friend
In our ever digitizing word, people forget to have conversations. We text but we don’t actually talk about stuff. There are no fun tangents or laughing together through texting. Calling someone will brighten your day and your friends day.
Or you can meet face to face. You can go for coffee or browse a book shop. Have conversations that go beyond the weather and what you had for lunch. Make a human connection, even if it’s just for five minutes.
- Be Creative
Get your brain and your hands working. Draw or knit something. Focus on making something beautiful that will spark joy, or make something just for the fun of it. By painting a picture or making a hat you can feel accomplished and not melt your brain at the same time.
Bonus: Make Christmas Gifts for all your friends. You’ll save money by doing home made gifts and you can make them really meaningful.
Once again, doing something good for someone else can also make you feel great. Plus when you sign up with an organization you have an obligation to go. It will get you out of the house and you can meet new people. You can also combine this with #1 by volunteering at your local animal shelter.
- Play a board game
You don’t always have to go out to have fun with your friends, plan a night in and play some board games! Board games are a great way to have some light hearted fun and to get off screens for a little bit. They’re also great for de-stressing. When I and my friend were facing our final exams and would get super stressed at the library, we’d take a break and play a round of battleship.
This is a good alone activity. I’m not a person who meditates, on purpose. Meditation is reflecting and thinking about the world around you and your enteral feelings. I do this when I’m in the shower or outside. I also write and self-reflect, which you can read all about in my post Why Writing Is My Mind On Paper.
Speaking of writing, it is an excellent way to get off the computer and do something that will occupy your mind. You don’t have to be a writer or start being a writer. You can write a list of things you love, a journal entry, a stream of thoughts. I like to write down lists of things that are stressing me out and then cross out any that I can’t control, this helps me to remember what I should actually be thinking about and not letting my anxiety get the best of me.
- Do something nice for someone else
I know I have already said to volunteer, but this is something different. Pick a person in your life that could use a little reminder that you care about them. A friend, a family member, or a co-worker. Buy them a coffee, write them a song, bake them cookies. Put time into making one person’s day, and you may make yours as well.
- Read a book
What kind of writer would I be if I didn’t tell you to read a book? It’s just as entertaining as watching tv, but it won’t feel like your brain is melting for looking at a screen for too long. Just get off the screens for a bit, and you’ll feel a little better every day.
I realized as I was writing these out that these are also my tips for when you’re feeling depressed. But they’re good things to do when you feel like you’re stuck in a rut. You could also do a bit of tidying but I’m realistic and I know I’m not going to pick myself up just to tidy.