Today is my 30th day without watching television. I embarked on this challenge a month ago with some trepidation. I honestly really like watching tv. I know the stereotypes: couch potato, mindless entertainment, etc., but after working a job that is so mentally challenging each day, sometimes all I want to do is come home and not have to think for a little while.
However several weeks ago, I realized that tv was starting to become a crutch more than a technique for relaxation. It started out innocent enough: I would come home, turn on the tv, and Bryan and I would watch Jeopardy while we ate dinner. (I know, we’re old people.) Then, that harmless 30 minutes of trivia would turn into watching Wheel of Fortune while I digested (because there is no way that you can digest and do anything else besides just sit.)
And then we started having “show nights”. We had to watch Grey’s Anatomy on Thursday, and then I might as well keep watching after because I wanted to see previews for next week, obviously. Mondays were for the Bachelor, Tuesdays were Fixer Upper, Wednesdays were Property Brothers, and on and on and on.
Again, I’m not one to judge people who have a tv habit, as made obvious above. But for me, television was starting to creep into areas of my life where it didn’t belong and ruining my productivity. Or at least my plans for productivity. I started watching tv while working out (thus, totally ruining my focus and allotting for quite a few half-assed workouts), while “grading” (this never, ever, ever works), and while eating all my meals (hello, mindless eating and not actually enjoying my food)!
My once-relaxing habit was now seriously taking over. So, I decided it was time for an experiment: 30 day of no television: no shows, no news, no mindless watching. And it was so much easier than I expected!
What did I do with the time that I’d normally spend watching tv?
- I read 7 books. Yep, 7 books in 30 days. For some people that number might not seem like much, but I love reading and don’t often make time for it, so I was ecstatic.
- I finally finished a few craft projects that I’ve been hoarding for several months/years. (See the previously blogged about Wedding Dress Crafts here.)
- I started this blog with my wonderful husband! 🙂
Besides having more time to cultivate my hobbies, I also experienced more focused workouts, mindful eating, and an all-around calmer brain. If I’m going to spend time working out and eating healthy, I might as well put my full effort in, or what’s the point?
I don’t miss television like I thought I would. I imagined myself feeling deprived and irritated, but I feel the opposite. I feel like I have so many other options of ways to spend my time now.
I don’t know if I’ll keep my all-out ban going. I like the idea of trying to limit my viewing hours, but I know myself and I know that I’m much more of an abstainer than a moderator.
See image to the right: Which are you? Abstainer? Moderator? Somewhere in the middle?
These terms come from Gretchen Rubin’s great book, Better than Before, which is all about breaking bad habits and creating better ones (more on this in a future post). I do know that less tv makes for a better, happier, and even healthier me.
Now for the most important part: What did I miss over the last 30 days? Are there any shows I should catch up on first?