Saturday, September 27, 2014

A tv-free day?

Some of you may have seen the coverage in the UK over new recommendations that people limit themselves to two hours of tv per day, and try to have a 'tv-free' day, to promote active lifestyles and combat obesity.

I've been thinking for a while about how to reduce the amount of tv we watch. It's partly that after a long day at work we are both too tired for anything more stimulating. But if I'm really honest, it's mostly that I have yet to find a way to make a tv-free evening sound attractive to my boyfriend. 

The good news is we are probably just about at the two hours a day limit, many days watching less, and we rarely watch live tv, it's usually pre-recorded shows we know we enjoy, or films. This is definitely some progress. But I'm struggling to come up with easy, relaxing alternatives to sitting staring at a screen.

To be honest, that's kind of scary. Like an addiction. What did people do before they had tvs? This is crazy. I know how people did laundry a hundred years ago, but not how they whiled away the evening hours.
So I did what everyone of my generation would go - I googled it. How to give up tv. And I mostly found blogs and forums of people who replaced tv with watching DVDs or playing games on mobiles/tablets. Doesn't that defeat the point? Surely the idea is to not be sitting in front of a screen?

I have found some interesting posts on this which intriguingly refers to several side effects of going tv-free - including greater sensitivity to the sights, sounds and smells of everyday life.

After a bit of thinking, I decided to try to avoid watching tv this last week. I've been pretty successful, really an hour or less most days and one tv-free day. So far, three things have helped:

1. Reach for the book (or the sewing/knitting) rather than the remote. I usually feel too tired to read, but after a few pages I'm fine and I think it's actually more restful - more restorative - than watching tv.

2. Don't sit down opposite the tv. Move your sofa, or sit down somewhere else. Ideally so that you are now looking at someone else rather than the screen. This seems to make conversation arise without effort, and makes turning on the tv something antisocial rather than just the default option.

3. Make plans, ideally with people. Go out to see a show, check out a new bar, arrange to meet someone for dinner. Extend those plans - go early to wander around the neighbourhood if the weather is nice, or suggest a detour on the way back.

Do you have any tips? Is it something you've had a go at?

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