Binge-watching TV. We’re all guilty of it. Let’s be real: it’s wonderful and comforting and the ultimate stress reliever. But as rewarding as it feels to complete all six seasons of your favorite show in an epic marathon week, there is other stuff to do in this world. So get off the couch or roll out of bed, and shake things up a bit with these seven tips.
1. Go out with friends.
Yes, this means you actually need to leave your apartment. Grab dinner at that new fancy restaurant or your favorite dive. Get drinks at the corner bar. Hit the mall…fall is on its way. Check out random events going on in your city that you wouldn’t normally go to. [Even better if it’s free!] If it’s lame, at least you got out and did something.
2. Invite people over.
Put on your big-girl pants (or really, any clothes will do) and host that dinner party or brunch you’ve been promising for months. Pull out all the stops: choose a theme, turn on some mood music (instead of the TV!), set up a beautiful table, dig up some board games. Your friends will appreciate the gesture and maybe they’ll return the favor!
3. Let those creative juices flow.
Draw. (Or for those of you who can barely etch out the guy during a game of Hangman, there are actually adult coloring books—staying in the lines not required.) Edit those photos that have been sitting on your desktop since last Christmas. Practice some funky makeup trends. Put your Pinterest to good use and make a present for your special someone. Listen to music while you daydream. Or write your own dang TV show—someone’s gotta be the next Shonda Rhimes; why not you?
4. Do something intellectual.
Before you nix this idea for fear of being nerdy, bear with me. Bust out a puzzle with your Mom or Grandma…and subsequently make their day. Read a book—bonus points if it’s not a saucy romance or written for children! Learn a new language. Show off your mad Sodoku skills. Research something you heard about that piqued your interest. (If you’re really feelin’ it, try to go beyond Wikipedia.)
5. Be productive.
You know, the opposite of watching endless hours of TV. Find and throw out all those mismatched socks. Organize your junk drawers or computer files—purge what you can, celebrate the hidden gems you thought you lost ages ago. Wash your car. Book those tickets you’ve been putting off. Respond to your Aunt’s email that has been sitting in your inbox for two weeks. Send those thank you cards. Whatever is on your To Do List, start checking things off now!
6. Move your bod.
How is it that you never have time to work out, but you magically find hours on end to finish Season 9 of Friends…for the fifth time? Lace up those tennis shoes, tie back your hair, and get that booty going. It’s semi-cheating if you watch TV while you’re working out, but hey, it’s better than nothing.
7. Try out new recipes.
Deliver your most successful goodies to friends and watch how much easier Tips 1 and 2 become! (Because who isn’t going to hang out with the girl who gives them treats? Plus, all this cooking practice will be useful for that dinner party you’re definitely going to host now that you’re watching less TV.) Or if cold turkey is just too much for you, these new recipes can be a shameless hunt for the perfect TV-watching snack…nobody’s perfect and a girl’s gotta eat!
Like any other addiction, the less TV you watch, the easier it’ll become to do other things. Mix and match your TV-avoiding techniques until it’s second nature to come home and open a cookbook or a notepad instead of your online streaming account. Shut the Netflix tab, turn off the DVR, put away the DVDs and go do something. Really, anything.