We all love a good Netflix session, right? There’s something so comforting about snuggling up on the couch with a cozy blanket, a bowl of popcorn, and a great show to watch.
But if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably found yourself mindlessly sitting in front of the TV, scrolling through the same kind of shows and movies, unable to make a decision or find anything new that interests you. Or maybe you start watching a new series and before you know it, it’s 2am and you’ve lost track of time!
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing inherently wrong with watching Netflix or TV in general. In fact, it can be a great way to relax and unwind after a long day.
The problem starts when it becomes a mindless habit or takes up too much of our time, it can actually have negative effects on our mental and physical health. And by tapping smartly into consumer behavior and psychology, the creators of Netflix and other streaming services make ‘Netflix and Chill’ a very hard habit to break.
So What Can I Do at Night Instead of Watching Netflix?
I’ve put together a list of 42 things you can do instead of watching Netflix tonight. You’ll really be amazed at how much free time you suddenly have from even a temporary break from Netflix and TV.
From fun and creative activities to productive tasks and healthy habits to things to do as couples or with friends, there’s something for everyone.
So, the next time you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through Netflix or Hulu or HBO, or whatever your current streaming platform of choice, consider trying one of these activities instead. You might be surprised at how much more fulfilling and rewarding your evening can be!
Indulge in Some Fun and Creative Activities
When it comes to finding alternative activities to watching Netflix or TV, the possibilities are endless. Here are some fun and creative ideas to get you started:
- Board games and card games: Dust off those old board games or decks of cards and have a game night with friends or family. There are plenty of classic games to choose from, as well as newer ones that are sure to provide hours of entertainment. Some of my favorites include Sequence, Cards Against Humanity, and good ol’ Taboo.
- Work on a puzzle: Puzzles are totally the new board games, right? There are so many different styles of puzzles these days and it also makes for a really great gift option!
- Coloring or drawing: Coloring books aren’t just for kids anymore! Adult coloring books have become a popular trend in recent years, and for good reason. Coloring can be a relaxing and meditative activity that helps to reduce stress and anxiety. I’ve found myself reaching for my coloring book often when I am feeling too overstimulated by anything technology.
- DIY projects: Get creative and tackle a home DIY project you’ve been putting off. Whether it’s painting a room, building a piece of furniture, or upcycling an old piece of clothing, there’s something satisfying about creating something from scratch.
- Learn a new skill or hobby: Always wanted to learn how to play the guitar or learn to paint? Take advantage of the plethora of online tutorials and classes available and start learning a new skill or hobby. The options are literally endless here, so you could find plenty of options for hobbies depending on your interests. Engaging in a new hobby is a great way to keep your brain sharp while also finding something fun to do in your spare time.
- Learn a new language: In today’s digital age, there are plenty of online courses and resources available to help you learn a new language. Take advantage of apps like Duolingo and Babbel and challenge yourself to learn something new.
- Read: You know I love my books so there was no way that reading was not going to be on this list!!! And you know, you can totally make a cozy evening out of it – just that instead of firing up your TV/laptop, you’re gonna be curling up with a good book.
- Discover new music: I am definitely one of those persons who can listen to my favorite albums and artists on repeat and never get bored (and admittedly, most of these favorites are not the ones you would find trending on Tiktok!). But occasionally, I’ll spin the wheels on Spotify trying to find some new artists and songs, and lo and behold, hours would have passed by! I highly recommend giving this a try once in a while.
- Take a walk or bike ride: Get some fresh air and exercise by taking an evening walk or bike ride around your neighborhood or local park.
- Go for a swim: One of my favorite ways to relax, especially in the summer.
- Picnic in the park: Pack a picnic basket (or grab some easy-to-eat takeaway foods) and blanket and enjoy a meal in the great outdoors. Bonus points if you invite friends or family to join you.
- Go on a hike or nature walk: If you’re feeling more adventurous, hit the trails for a hike or nature walk. You’ll get some exercise and enjoy the beauty of nature at the same time. If you’re doing this in the evening or at night, ensure that you’re taking whatever safety measures necessary.
- Play sports or games with friends: Grab a ball, frisbee, or other outdoor game and challenge your friends or family to a friendly competition.
Whatever you choose to do, remember that the goal is to have fun and be creative. Use this time as an opportunity to explore new activities and hobbies you might not have tried otherwise or have been putting off for a while.
Get Ahead with Some Productive Activities
If you’re looking to be more productive and tick off items from your to-do list, here are some ideas to consider:
- Get organized: Tackle that pile of mounting paperwork or the dreaded hold-all/junk drawer. Your future self will thank you!
- Declutter: Spend some time decluttering and organizing a section of your home. Not only will it make your home feel more organized and less cluttered, but it can also have a positive impact on your mental health.
- Clean a room: Whether it’s a quick dusting and vacuuming or a deep clean of your bathroom or kitchen, taking the time to clean your home can feel oddly satisfying.
- Meal prep or plan: Spend some time meal prepping for the week ahead or planning out your meals and grocery list. This can save you time and money in the long run and help you stick to your health and wellness goals.
- Tackle your chores: One fact of adult life is that the list of chores is seemingly never-ending! Use this extra time productively and get caught up on your chores. Sure, these tasks may not be the most exciting, but they can provide a sense of accomplishment and relief. If it was me, laundry or ironing would be my most pending chores to tackle!
- Update your finances: Admittedly, most people hate tackling their finances or updating their cash flow spreadsheets, but this is one of those adulting things that you just have to get used to. Use that extra time you’ve saved to update your income and expenses for the past few days/weeks, look over your assets/liabilities numbers, or pay off any pending bills and taxes.
- Update your ‘In Case of an Emergency’ details: Go over your emergency binder and make sure everything is up-to-date.
- Catch up on industry reading: Sometimes the never-ending list of things to do at work does not leave much time for doing some extra reading. The evenings could be a perfect time to make some dent in your work-related industry readings. I wouldn’t recommend this as a daily habit though – there has to be some boundary between work and personal time – but as a one-off activity, it is a great way to get a little ahead at work.
- Find a side hustle to make some extra cash: Have you always been dreaming of starting something outside of your day job? Giving up a little bit of Netflix time can free up your schedule to help you to work more seriously on your side hustle idea. There is no end to the possibilities – think of things that interest you or you’re good at and start from there. A few ideas to get your creative juices flowing:
- Start your own blog
- Open an Etsy shop
- Offer some freelance services on Fiver/Upwork
- Taking online surveys
- Uber driver/UberEats delivery
- Dog-walking, etc.
By tackling and working on these kinds of productive tasks, you’re basically setting yourself up for success in the long run.
Healthy Habits to Try Out
If you’re looking to improve your overall health and well-being, here are some healthy habits to consider:
- Yoga or stretching: Incorporating some gentle yoga or stretching into your routine can help improve flexibility and reduce stress and tension in the body. Especially after all those long hours of sitting on a chair at work!
- Exercise or workout: Whether it’s going for a run, lifting weights, or taking a fitness class, regular exercise has plenty of physical and mental health benefits.
- Meditation or mindfulness practice: Taking a few minutes each day to practice mindfulness or meditation can help reduce stress and anxiety and improve overall well-being.
- Dance or aerobics class: If you’re looking for a fun and energizing way to move your body, try taking a dance or aerobics class. Not only will you get some exercise, but you’ll also have fun and connect with others.
- Connect with friends or family: Spending time with loved ones can have a positive impact on our mental health and well-being. Whether it’s a phone call, video chat, or in-person hangout, make time for social connections. Call up your best friend or a family member you haven’t caught up with in a while and have a fun time!
- Practice journaling: Use the extra time to do some free-flow, brain-dump kind of journaling, or use journal prompts to process your thoughts and emotions.
- Take a break from technology: Sometimes, our constant connection to technology can contribute to unnecessary stress and anxiety. Taking a break from Netflix would mean an automatic break from technology unless you intend to use that free time to jump onto social media or watch YouTube videos. Consider taking a break from constant screen time, even if it’s just for an hour or two, to give your brain a break. A mini digital Sabbath, if you like.
- Do nothing: When was the last time you did nothing at all? Find a cozy spot by your window or on your porch and watch the world go by. Look at the clouds drifting away. Observe the new flowers that have sprouted. Watch the sunset. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to fill every second of your day with productive things! Rest is equally essential to a good life.
- Get some more sleep: And while we’re on the topic of rest, let’s not forget about how getting enough hours of sleep is critical to our overall health. So switching off the TV and heading to bed a little early is one of the best things you can do for your mind and body. This book makes some compelling scientific arguments for why we need more sleep and has been a real game changer for me.
By incorporating these healthy habits into your routine, you’ll not only improve your physical and mental health, but you’ll also feel more energized and productive in your daily life.
Things to Do as a Couple or with Friends
If you’re looking for fun and engaging activities to do with your significant other or friends, here are some ideas to consider:
Date night ideas:
- Cook a meal together: Spend some quality time in the kitchen with your partner and cook a meal together. Maybe try out a new recipe even! Not only will you get to spend time together, but you’ll also get to enjoy a delicious meal at the end.
- Plan a weekend getaway: Whether it’s a road trip to a nearby town or a full-fledged vacation, plan a weekend getaway with your partner to explore a new place and make memories.
- Take a dance class or workshop: Spice up your date night and take a dance class or workshop together. It’s an excellent way to learn something new, but you’ll also get to have fun and connect with each other.
- Watch a live comedy show: Yes, I know Netflix has plenty of stand-up comedy shows these days, but there is a different vibe to watching one live. Support your local artists and clubs and make an evening out of watching a live comedy show.
- Play tourist in your own city: It’s always fun to look at your town/city with fresh eyes. Go on a guided walking tour, find a new place to eat/drink, or simply rediscover hidden gems.
- Have a potluck dinner or BBQ: Invite some friends over for a potluck dinner or BBQ dinner party. Not only is it a great way to enjoy good food and company, but it’s also a low-key and affordable way to socialize.
- Volunteer or do community service: Give back to your community by volunteering or doing community service with your friends. Not only will you feel good about helping others, but you’ll also bond with your friends over a shared experience.
- Have a DIY or craft night: Get creative with your family/friends and have a DIY or craft night. Whether it’s making jewelry, painting, or knitting, it’s a fun way to spend more time with your loved ones.
- Have a vision board party: Depending on your type and how much woo-woo you like, you may just be rolling your eyes at this idea, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Get together your girlfriends, pop open some magazines, or keep your printer handy, and start putting together your vision board. You’ll get something done for yourself while also spending some quality time with friends.
- Host a pop quiz or game night: Whether it’s testing your knowledge with trivia questions or competing in a board game tournament, game nights can be a great way to socialize and have fun. Plus, they’re affordable and low-key, making them a great option for a fun night in. So gather some friends, prepare some snacks, and get ready for a night of laughter, friendly competition, and good times.
- Try out a social/hobby club: This is a great way to meet new people and expand your connections, especially if you’ve recently moved to a new place or want to connect with more people with similar hobbies.
By taking the time to plan fun and engaging activities with your significant other or friends, you’ll not only strengthen your relationships, but you’ll also create lasting memories that you’ll cherish for years to come.
I hope this list gives you some great ideas for alternative or new things to try instead of spending yet another evening watching Netflix.
Remember, the goal isn’t to completely eliminate Netflix or TV from your life (though there is totally a thing like too much television!) but rather to find a healthy balance and explore new interests or new hobbies. By trying out some of these activities, you may discover new passions or talents that you never knew you had.
So the next time you find yourself in front of the television, mindlessly watching your favorite show for the 50th time(!!!), consider taking a break – after all, there IS such a thing as too much television – and finding some alternative ways to rest and relax. Your mind and body will thank you for it.