We are all guilty of a Netflix binge now and then... If however, it is a daily must-do, Natasha Hatherall-Shawe's tips for kicking the habit are more helpful than Marie Kondo herself
My Netflix habit is bad. And I mean BAD. I spend more time with my trusty streaming friend than I do anyone else now, yes my husband included - although he often accompanies me. I’m not alone it seems as recent figures showed how adults were now spending a third of their waking hours watching TV and online content.
With Dubai summer on the way and months of indoor life coming up, it will only get worse again. Cancelling my subscription or throwing my TV out the window is extreme, so if like me, you’re concerned about the amount of time you’re spending in front of the TV, I’m making a list of things I can do instead of ‘Netflix and Chill’ in the months ahead and to see what sparks new joy and energy in my life.
Make an amazing meal
Set yourself the task of making one amazing meal each week. Try something new from a cookbook or subscribe to a cooking box if you’re not that brave – Hello Chef and Kibsons both have great options. Not only will this expand your culinary repertoire and give you new kitchen skills, but you can also use it as a way of socializing, treating your other half and family or inviting a different group of friends over each week. Kill a few birds off with one stone so to speak.
Board Game night
When was the last time you played a board game outside of the holidays? Why not try and host board game night once a week for you and your partner or wider family. Not only does it give you time together, but actually playing board games has been proven to get you in a meditative state which can help your breathing, heart rate and brain. Monopoly, Uno, Scrabble and Pass the Pigs are some of our favourites.
Why not use this time to move. This could be a visit to the gym, a fitness class, a run or even a walk. You don’t even have to leave your home or spend any money as you can do a yoga, Pilates or workout session online with plenty of free videos online. You will always feel better for it, even if you have to force yourself to move.
When was the last time you held a physical book or magazine in your hands and read? Reading fiction has been shown to be one of the most effective ways to reduce stress, yes even more so than walking just in case you needed convincing. In the words of bestselling author Matt Haig, "Reading isn't important because it helps to get you a job. It's important because it gives you room to exist beyond the reality you're given." – we love that.
Remember when we all started colouring in Covid, then we stopped! Colouring books are not just for kids and are a great option for adults as well which can keep you busy for hours whilst also relieving your stress levels. There are so many great options in the shops including quote ones, fashion ones and more, so keep it fresh and change up your medium with crayons, colouring pencils or paint.
Call, don’t text
How often these days do you text/whatsapp a friend or family member rather than calling? I know I’m super bad at actually picking up the phone and calling anyone these days as we all seem to have become averse to the old fashioned art of conversation. Research has actually shown that while texting/messaging gives the illusion of closeness, it can actually be detrimental and decrease relationship satisfaction. So, why not assign one night a week to be “call night” and you have to call one or more people you’ve not spoken to in a while. Get back to “human connection” and trust me you’ll feel warm and fuzzy for it.
Write a journal
Journaling has become very popular in recent years and for good reason, it’s such a powerful tool for self reflection. Writing down your thoughts and feelings in a journal is a great way to reflect on the day that was and if you commit to this every day for a month, we promise it will leave you feeling better about your life and problems and being thankful for your blessings.
Sign up to an online course
Why not enroll on an online course or certification in your spare time? This could be work related or something totally different. Maybe you always wished you’d had time to do a Masters or even possibly plan for a career change by doing a different degree or certification. Not only is it an extra skill or string to your bow, but it could help you progress, skill up for that promotion or pay rise and become more competitive in your workplace. It doesn’t have to be for any reason though, perhaps you just always wanted to learn how to take photographs or learn a language.
Clean and declutter
Bear with us here! It’s not as bad as it sounds. Cleaning and home organization can actually be a very satisfying experience. Don’t set huge targets, but pick one room or area that you’d like to declutter or make work better and set to it. Perhaps your kitchen cupboards need a re-org, or your bathroom cupboards filled with beauty products have become unruly. Or does all your personal paperwork need attention? Being organized feels good and can actually help overall wellbeing.
Meditation comes in many different forms and if you feel like you need some calmness and peace in your life, dedicating even 20-30 minutes a day to meditation and losing one episode of a Netflix sitcom can create a big change. Meditation helps re-focus your thoughts and re-set your mind and there are so many free apps and resources online to help if you don’t know where to begin.
We could go on, as if you think about it in the time before Netflix and online streaming we all found ways to keep our days filled and complete. Ultimately when it comes to reducing your time online, it’s about trying new things, adjusting your schedule, finding out what makes you happy and your heart sing. If you enjoy something do more of it, if you don’t then try something else. Just find new things to do that help you go to bed each night with a happy and smiling heart.