TV Free Evenings
How do you relax in the evening after a busy day?
Many people have a routine of crashing at home in front of the tv. Tv gobbles up time you might spend on nurturing yourself, making love, planning community projects, practicing spirituality or good old-fashioned conversation. It also blasts you with hundreds of advertisements, trying to convince you that you lack stuff, which may be why tv watchers tend to be more unhappy than people who watch no tv.
When my area switched to digital tv a few years ago, I didn’t bother tuning in. We use the tv for watching DVDs only, and when we move house at the end of the year I think I’ll get rid of the tv completely and just have the laptop. Children’s addiction to tv is one hurdle (many of the arguments in our house are about screen time), without adults succumbing to the seductive and addictive unhappiness vortex of the blue box!
So what else can you do in the evening without a screen?
Rub seeds off their stalks. This is a nice, meditative activity that I never seem to get around to in daylight hours. Once they’re done, you can sort them ready for spring planting.
Read a good book. //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=qf_sp_asin_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=shoestrisusta-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=B00QMJB6H4&asins=B00QMJB6H4&linkId=TQHJI4YHE3YQXLDR&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true” target=”_blank”>My Year Without Matches is one my latest best reads, about a forest campaigner who goes from hectic office work burnout to a year in the Tasmanian bush learning how to build her own shelter, tan leather and eat bushfood. Reading real books, unlike watching a screen, is restful for your eyes and doesn’t interfere with your circadian rhythms. Watching screens in the hour before bed disturbs your sleep.
Start a fermented food – sourdough bread, kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucha, yogurt. Then it can bubble overnight and you can tend it again in the morning.
Draw or colour in. I often sneak into my son’s room when he’s asleep and borrow his coloured pencils. He, in return, likes colouring in my black and white designs (above). You can find lots of adult colouring in books now with intricate designs, which help you to both relax and focus at the same time. It’s the new (rediscovered) way to be mindful. This site lists improved sleep as one benefit.
Make up a homemade body scrub or mask to pamper yourself with, using cheap and effective ingredients from your pantry.
Play a board or card game. Great if you have company, board games hone problem solving and abstract thinking. A pack of cards only costs a few dollars and you can play dozens of games with it. Find secondhand board games at op shops and garage sales (check inside to for missing pieces before purchase if possible). You can also borrow puzzles at most public libraries. We keep half-done puzzles on a large sheet of plywood that slips under the couch or bed. My six year old’s favourites are Monopoly and Uno.
Rub lavender flowers off the stalk to use in sleep pillows, bath bags, soap making, face scrubs, etc. This gradually coats your fingers in lavender oil, which is absorbed into your skin. Lavender is calming, soothing and helps you sleep. Excellent pre-bed activity.
When I have couchsurfers stay the night, they often help me knead bread, sort olives for pickling, rub seeds or simply swap travel stories all evening. Leave the screens turned off and see what you can smell, hear, taste and touch in the real world tonight.