Yikes, the average American watches five hours of TV a day. It’s hard to believe, but the folks at Nielsen don’t lie. So just for fun (just kidding, it was torture), we gave up TV for a week. Here’s what might happen if you give up your habit cold turkey.
AT FIRST, YOU’LL HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO WITH YOURSELF
“Should I check my email again? Maybe I got a text message. Maybe now I got a text message. Has anyone posted anything on Instagram in the last 45 seconds? No? I wonder if there’s a new House Hunters on. Wait. No, I don’t. I don’t wonder that.”
…AND YOU MIGHT FEEL LEFT OUT OF CONVERSATIONS
You’d think going out for drinks with your friends would be a good way to avoid TV, but then everyone starts swapping Game of Thrones theories and, suddenly, you’re totally out of the loop. There’s no way to sugarcoat it: This sucks. But trust us, it gets better…
BUT THEN YOU’LL REALIZE HOW MUCH EXTRA TIME YOU HAVE
With five extra hours in the day, think of all the stuff you can accomplish. You could finally learn to knit. Or finish painting the spare bedroom. Or take a spin class. Or plan a vacation to Hawaii. When you cut back on Friends reruns, the options are endless. (Sorry, Chandler.)
YOU MIGHT BE TEMPTED TO CHEAT
OK, you said you were giving up TV. But then you heard this Black Mirror episode was really great, and it wouldn’t hurt just to pop on Netflix and watch it for a few minutes, would it? It’s your choice, but maybe take some time to reflect on how much power TV has over you.
BUT YOU’LL READ SO MANY BOOKS
You know all those novels hanging out on your bookshelf that for one reason or another (*cough* Westworld), you never get around to reading? Seize the day, people. The time is now. You might finally finish Infinite Jest.
YOU MIGHT SLEEP BETTER
Watching a half hour of TV to unwind before bed might seem harmless, but the National Sleep Foundation warns it could mess with your sleep quality. The blue light emitted by TVs and computers suppresses melatonin in your body, which might make you feel wired and upset your sleep/wake cycle. Read the new issue of The New Yorker before bed instead. You’ll be out in ten minutes.
YOU MIGHT PICK UP A NEW HOBBY
Instead of coming home from work and plopping yourself in front of the TV, sign up for a pottery class. Or a yoga intensive. Or a hiking club. You’ll be so busy pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, you’ll barely even remember that you missed the most recent episode of The Walking Dead. (Or hey, if not, fake it ’til you make it.)
…AND MAKE NEW FRIENDS
If your circle spends most of happy hour talking about what happened on The Bachelor, expand your group and find friends that talk about other topics. Like all those books you just read.
EVENTUALLY, YOU’LL STRIKE THE PERFECT BALANCE
Once you’ve successfully kicked your TV addiction for a week (nice work!), pick a few shows a week you’d love to watch and slowly add them back into your schedule. This way, you can distinguish the shows you watch because you actually like them and the shows you watch just because they’re on. Mindful TV watching. It’s the best.