The average American watches 35 hours of television per week. In Canada, it’s about 30 hours. In essence, we sit in front of the television for a time equivalent of nearly a full-time job.
Watching so much television can have an adverse effect on our health, our relationships, and our life satisfaction.
For myself, I haven’t owned a television in many, many years. I’m not suggesting, of course, that you get rid of your television, even though such an act would likely serve you well in your life.
No, what I’m really encouraging you to do is ask yourself some questions. How might my life improve if I took a sabbatical from my television? For, say, three months? Or six months? Would I be happier? More productive? More energized? Healthier? Would I really be missing anything?
And more importantly, if I took a sabbatical from my television, what the heck would I do with an extra 30-35 hours per week?
If you’re curious about what a television sabbatical can do for you, here are a bunch of ideas of things you can do while your television is unplugged.
1. Dance around your living room with a glass of wine in your hand.
2. Learn to meditate.
3. Read a good book.
4. Find a recipe and cook something out of the ordinary.
5. Clean your living space.
6. Pick up every object in your home and ask yourself if you really need it. Discard the soul-sucking objects.
7. Play with your children, or your nieces and nephews.
8. Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while.
9. Walk all of the streets in your neighbourhood and mark the ones you’ve completed in yellow on a map.
10. Identify and visit all of the historical buildings in your city.
11. Visit a museum and take notes.
12. Journal about anything that comes to mind.
13. Make a scrapbook.
14. Sign up for a course. Learn together with other students.
15. Write a poem or a song.
16. Practice a musical instrument.
17. Listen to soul-enriching music.
18. Write a thank you letter to someone.
19. Practice speaking another language.
20. Take the first step toward reaching a goal you’ve had on hold.
21. Volunteer somewhere.
22. Read and learn about another culture.
23. Visit the library and get caught up on your favourite magazines.
24. Attend a poetry reading.
25. Join Toastmasters and improve your public speaking skills.
26. Create a vision board.
27. Capture a memory from a parent or grandparent and write it down. Share it with your family members.
28. Start an exercise program.
29. Learn about proper nutrition.
30. Visit the grocery store and read the nutrition labels on all the products. Adjust your grocery list.
31. Develop a seminar that you can deliver at your library, either for money or for free.
32. Find a cause and support it.
33. Decorate your personal space.
34. Practice yoga or Pilates.
35. Visit a place you’ve never been to before, that is only a walk or short drive away.
36. Learn 100 random facts about your country.
37. Go bird watching.
38. Start a gratitude journal. It has been shown to improve one’s happiness.
39. Visit an art gallery. Get inspired. Learn the lingo to evaluate art.
40. Write customer reviews of books on Amazon.
41. Paint or draw a picture. Exercise those creative muscles.
42. Get a massage or learn to give a therapeutic massage.
43. Become a reiki master.
44. Learn to be a hypnotist.
45. Walk around your neighbourhood and take some photographs. Learn to be a better photographer.
46. Join a book club.
47. Start a story-telling club, where people come and tell a 5-minute story.
48. Figure out your purpose and write out your personal vision and mission.
49. Learn to identify the constellations.
50. Throw a dart at a map and then learn all about the country you hit.
51. Go on a road trip.
52. Learn to make your own wine or beer.
53. Learn about the history of your community or country.
54. Sit on a bench and watch the people.
55. Visit all of the food artisans and artisan cafes in your area.
56. Start a quest, such as cooking a traditional meal from every single country in the world, or walking every single street in your city, or identifying every single bird species in your area.
57. Start a blog or Facebook page about something that interests you, such as humour, or historical pictures of your city.
58. Have a nap. Catch up on your sleep.
59. Learn to identify all of the trees and plants in your neighbourhood.
60. Become a better cook.
61. Play cards or a board game. Learn to play a new game.
62. Learn to become a better father/mother/son/daughter/friend.
63. Identify a problem in your life and read up on what you can do about it, such as how to deal with difficult people, or how to deal with anger or self-doubt.
64. Join a chat room where you can provide expert advice on something.
65. Start a hobby, such as knitting, hiking, or collecting.
66. Start on that novel you’ve always wanted to write.
67. Make a craft.
68. Join a club or organization.
69. Get involved in politics, your church, or a charity.
70. Breathe, and enjoy your new serenity.
I wish you the best of luck on your television sabbatical, however long you choose it to be.