Friday, September 7, 2012

Alternatives to Television.

This past week I made a quick on the wimp decision to not watch any t.v. for the week. I watched maybe 20 minutes of a show on netflix. I didn't cut out internet but I did t.v., netflix, hulu, movies, all together. The reason was not that that I felt the shows were bad, wrong and changing my thoughts to ungodliness but stealing chunks of my time.

My biggest beef with entertainment is the time wasting nature of it. You sit and your thoughts are taken away by things that leave you no time to process or hear your own thoughts. During the first year of having my children (through adoption) it was very stressful. Placing two children (3 and 5 at the time) into our family, after they had already been in 5 different homes in little over a year, was an extremely difficult task. Throw in being a first time parent, extreme anger and distrust from the 5 year old and you make for a very difficult season.

Each day I literally lived in survival mode, I never knew what was coming my way, physically, mentally, emotionally. Just to be honest here, when bedtime for the little ones rolled around, I needed a break. Mentally, emotionally, physically I just couldn't handle anymore for the night. I needed a distraction and I honestly couldn't read due to my extreme tiredness. So what happened? I turned to shows, movies to 'veg out'.

The shows I watched weren't necessary terrible but they weren't profitable. I think that began a pattern of putting the kids to bed and mellowing out with netflix. A few years later I'm beginning to really see how much time I'm spending doing this. Usually I am really tired after the kids are tucked in and I'm too tired to read. I've spent the last few years justifying watching a few hours a night watching shows because the alternative was reading but I just couldn't do it, I was too exhausted.

This past week I began to brainstorm on things I could do at night other than routinely turning on netflix and possibilities beyond reading, if I'm too sleepy. So here are some alternatives that have helped me, some I have done this past week, others I plan to do this week:

Catch up on e-mails.
Catch up on facebook messages from friends.
Plan blog posts.
Take a long relaxing bath.
Paint my nails.
Make one last tidy up run through the house so it's straight when I wake up.
Simply enjoy a hot cup of tea.
Brain storm homeschool ideas.
Think through the day, how my kids are coping with moving, adoption and ways I could reinforce my love for them the next day.
Ask the husband questions about what I'm reading in the morning.
Chalk paint a piece of furniture that's in need of some love.
Browse on pinterest (yes, this can be a huge time waster, so be careful but for me it's more profitable than watching t.v.)
Work on a craft or project.
Browse cookbooks and find new recipes to try.
Upload pictures from camera and edit.
Play a game with your spouse.
Write a handwritten letter to someone and send it through snail mail.
Send out a needed thank you card.
Read meaningful posts from bloggers.
Skype a friend.
Go to bed early.

I'm not trying to tell you to throw your t.v. out to the curb or unsubscribe to netflix but just think about how much time you spend on it. Is it too much? Is there something else you could be doing? I know the  above suggestions aren't just spiritual tasks but I think most of them give you room to think, hear your thoughts, question them , align them with the Cross. It gives you time to work on a project that you need to or things that usually are on your to do list that keep getting pushed back.  Do you find yourself gravitating to too much t.v. at night? What do you do instead of watching t.v? Pin It Now!


  1. I have actually been thinking about this a lot lately. Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Great post! Thanks for this. =) I don't have kids, so I find myself easily justifying watching a lot of tv or not doing anything productive after I get home from work. I do find that anything on the internet can be just as time wasting as tv (for me) so I'll try to stay away from the computer at all... But things I like to do other than tv: Walk the dog, work on a crochet project/other craft, clean up one area of the house, eat ice cream, call my mother/mother-in law (don't do that enough), or make a list of all the things I need to do the next week! It's hard to think of things that don't involve the tv or computer, so thanks for making me think! =)

  3. What an important topic you addressed! I've never been one for TV/movies. Rather my weak area is internet use, specifically social media. It's such a time-suck, and I need to unplug and spend my time in more meaningful ways. Your post has made me more aware of that, so THANK YOU!

  4. This is a great reminder that it is not healthy to "veg" out on NetFlix. {guilty, for the same reasons as you shared}

    However, there are more profitable ways to spend my time, even when I am purely exhausted. Thank you for the gentle encouragement and tips!