Binge-watching the latest movies and TV shows on varied streaming platforms, has been the entire world’s escape mechanism through lockdown. The other popular distractions are social media platforms — the all-consuming online portals where everyone gets lost for hours on end.
People easily forget, however, that the blue light of the screen is terribly harmful for the eyes; the sunken posture often adopted while using screens, wreaks havoc on one’s spine and bone structure; and spiralling down the rabbit hole of social media can be extremely distressing to one’s mental health.
Unfortunately, as working from home becomes the norm, certain screen-related activities cannot be avoided, such as online meetings, working on one’s laptop or reading the news online. It is therefore important to reduce screen time as much as possible for entertainment purposes. Here are some simple screen-free activities to keep oneself entertained at home:
READ BOOKS: There are umpteen benefits to nurturing a life-long habit of reading books. People who read are generally more creative, adaptable and quick to think on their feet. Additionally, reading enhances language skills, which allows people to communicate better. With work, family life and social obligations, it is difficult to find time to read, so one should inculcate this habit now when there is time. Try reading a few pages of a chosen book every day before going to bed. Soon it will become a daily ritual that will help induce better sleep as well. Join a book club if possible, as it will regularly enforce a reading routine.
ATTEMPT DIY ACTIVITIES: Saving money is the need of the hour these days. An easy way to begin saving, is by DIYing certain things that were previously outsourced. Whether it is by cooking new and fancy meals or by making a shoe rack from chopped up wood. Enterprising people may even turn a DIY hobby into a potentially lucrative business idea.
TRY INTRICATE COLOURING BOOKS : Art and craft are an easy outlet for the stress and anxiety overtaking people’s lives. Invest in a few good-quality adult colouring books or try the hugely popular art of mandala drawing. The intricate designs and judicious use of colour ensure healthy distraction for long periods of time. Trash or old plastic bottles at home, can also be reused to create promising works of art.
DANCE FREELY: Listening to music and dancing are the best stress-busters. It is hard to beat the pure joy of dancing to one’s favourite numbers. Dancing encourages body movement and releases happy hormones or endorphins. It also provides great exercise, which can be done without supervision or the worry of injuring oneself while busting a move! Other forms of exercise including walking, yoga and meditation also have untold benefits, and prove great distractions if one tends to feel bored quickly.
MAINTAIN A JOURNAL: Everyone agrees that we are living through unprecedented times. Hence, it is the ideal time to maintain a diary to record one’s individual experiences through this difficult year. Maintaining a journal allows one to recognise and internalise their own feelings while keeping them hidden from the world. One may even feel compelled years later, to turn their journal into a bestselling book like that of Anne Frank’s! Future generations will certainly appreciate this candid look into their ancestors’ life during these troubling times. Journaling is a dying habit with the onset of online blogs, but now is the best time to explore this hobby.
These are a few ideas to help one stay away from screens as much as possible. If one has the intent and the requisite will power, a complete social media or phone detox should be attempted as well. Working from home, surrounded by family, makes it easy to disconnect with the outside world, since there is no need to worry about the safety of loved ones or fret about communicating with them. It may sound difficult to pursue, but it will certainly lessen the negative effects of screens on one’s physical and mental health.
The writer is a lawyer who pens lifestyle articles on her successful blog www.nooranandchawla.com. She can be found on Instagram @nooranandchawla