6 Things That Happened When I Stopped Watching TV

Sometime in the summer of 2019, my husband and I had a conversation that ended with me asking, “What if we just quit watching TV?” Surprisingly, he immediately responded with an enthusiastic, “Okay!” And that is the story of how we quit watching TV.

Okay, now I’m pretty sure you think I’m a crazy person. But before you start picturing some crazed Luddite with wacko hair on the other side of the internet, let me assure you that I am a lot like you (the wacko hair is probably true sometimes, though). I know my way around a computer and write online content for work. I post random memes to my Insta story and have electricity in my home. I’m just a girl who stood in front of her TV one day and told it no.

Our decision to quit TV may have been rash, but the repercussions were a refreshing surprise. After getting over the initial FOMO of it all, we realized that quitting TV wasn’t all too difficult. It became some foreign world that we forgot about until Game of Thrones was referenced occasionally in social circles. While we do watch the occasional television program these days, here’s some of the insights gained from calling it quits from the boob tube for six months:

1. I read more.

We all love a good story, and when you’re not getting your fiction fill from the screen, it’s natural to turn to a book. And, the more I read, the more I wanted to keep reading. Because of TV (and my busy schedule), I had forgotten how fun it was to read, and the benefits of reading far outweigh the benefits of watching TV.

2. I had more free time (duh!), which gave me more boredom, which helped me exercise creativity.

All of my TV shows had been eating up hours of my day. When I got rid of that pastime, I realized that I didn’t really remember what my hobbies were and I had to get creative in rediscovering old ones and learning new ones.

3. I learned to value movies as works of art and minimized my desire for “trashy” TV. 

Getting rid of TV is like experiencing a cleanse. It helps you to refocus your priorities and hone your preferences. I am not anti-film or TV, but quitting TV helped me to see what a true artform film is when it is done right. Now when I see a movie, I feel awakened to the beauty of it. The flipside is that I don’t care for “trashy” TV anymore. I would rather spend time on one of my hobbies.

4. I learned to better listen to my mind and body.

Turning off the TV was like turning off the noise in my head. I know, sounds like some spiritual mambo-jambo, but it’s true! With more space and quiet in my life, I learned to better understand my emotions and my responses to them (and realized that I watched TV a lot to numb my emotions).

5. I was less tired. 

Watching TV prompts you to sit on the couch. Do enough sitting on the couch and you just feel groggy (it’s a classic “you crave what you feed yourself” scenario). When I stopped watching TV, I learned to feed my mind and my body in ways that fostered more energy, not less. It felt unnatural at first, but boy, do I enjoy it now.

6. My kitchen got cleaner. 

I like my kitchen to be clean. I don’t like to clean it. Turning off the TV doesn’t release some special fairy dust that just magically cleans my kitchen (I wish!), but it does help me to feel more motivated. I realized that having a clean kitchen makes me a healthier person mentally and helps me to feel more content. The mental clarity I talked about above really helped me sort out my priorities, such as the value of cleaning my kitchen before getting to the fun thing.

Now, maybe you feel like TV is your favorite hobby, but I would really encourage you to try turning off the TV even for a short length of time. You might be surprised what you learn. I know I was. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

I still send snail mail and I believe in everyday magic.

Keep up with Emma on Instagram and emmalwoodward.com