Internet Snow Day: Activities that don't Require Screens

The other day, while glued to my phone and scrolling through Twitter, I saw this tweet that really struck a chord with me.

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Damn, I felt that one in my heart. Honestly, I felt attacked. I feel like I’ve nearly said that exact tweet, word-for-word before. And by “before” I mean…almost every day.

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It’s the sad reality of the world we live in today. I wake up, and I go on Instagram, Twitter or Reddit before I even get out of bed. I use my phone as I get ready, and then stay glued to it until I’m at work. Then I work on my laptop and desktop computer for 8-9 hours. I come home, drained from work, and hop on my laptop to watch YouTube or turn on the TV to watch a show. And then as I fall asleep, I usually scroll through Reddit or Buzzfeed.

The more I think about it, the more I’m truly terrified. Fuck man, I’m looking at screens all the time. This can’t be good for me. I imagine it’s similar to when everyone thought smoking was fine for your health a few decades ago.

I wanted to make a change after reading that tweet, and found myself still thinking about it even after a few weeks went by.

The only issue was - I didn’t know what the hell else to fill my time with. The main reason I like being on screens is because I get so much joy from them! I love going on Reddit. I like watching ASMR and YouTube videos. It’s a quick fix to recharge my battery after a long day of work. What else can I do that will bring me the same level of joy, but without the glow of a screen?

So I did some research, chatted with friends, and came up with the below list.

Here are 22 things you can do - at home, by yourself - that don’t involve using any screens:

  • Go for a walk (for real, just get out of the house for 10 minutes)

  • Do a puzzle

  • One of my favorites: Listen to a podcast while

    • Cleaning

    • Stretching

    • Putting on lotion

    • Plucking your eyebrows

    • Clipping your toenails and cleaning your nasty ass feet

    • Getting rid of stuff that you don’t need in your closet

  • Do one of those coloring books - or if you’re hyperactive like me, get an activity book instead, where you can do crosswords, mazes and things of that kind along with coloring. (Yes, I’m basically a grown toddler)

  • Sudoku

  • Crosswords

  • Buy a magazine and read it. I could say book - but I feel like the only time millennials settle in to read a book is while on a beach, during vacation, once a year. But going to your local bodega, buying a magazine filled with gossip or sports or something you wouldn’t normally buy, and reading that is framed as more of a treat in your mind than a book is. Give it a shot!

  • Call someone you love. I like to call my grandparents, or a friend who lives across the country. Parents and grandparents will almost always pick up and be free to chat, but sometimes if you’re calling a fellow millennial it helps to set a time in advance.

  • Re-arrange or decorate your apartment. This could be as simple as switching the pillows on two different chairs, or lighting an old candle that you’ve had in a drawer. Just mix things up a little bit!

  • Try and teach yourself to be ambidextrous

  • Read a Choose Your Own Adventure Book (remember how fun those were?)

  • Practice a make-up skill you’ve always been too scared to try. Give lip liner a whirl! Try a cool cat eye. Attempt a smokey eye…but good luck, I don’t think I’ve ever done a good smokey eye in my life.

  • Learn a dance routine on YouTube

  • Make muffins! Deadass. Not this “cook a meal” advice. Make muffins. Because you can essentially turn that into making cupcakes - if you feel like that - or making them something healthy if that’s what you prefer.

  • “5 things” - Go out somewhere, or even just sit in a certain spot in your apartment, and write down 5 things that you’ve never noticed before.

  • Make your own list of things to do without screens! You might find some new activities that surprise you, I know I did!

The last method I want to leave you with is the Zooey Deschanel/Jessica Day method. Jessica Day is a character (played by Zooey Deschanel) from the show New Girl. Jessica is similar to all of Zooey’s characters - she’s a bit of a manic-pixie dream girl, someone scrapbooks, knits, and likes to make tea. Watch a couple episodes of New Girl (I’ll allow you to watch screens this time haha) and you’ll get her vibe pretty soon.

Whenever I’m looking for something to do, I channel Jessica Day. Jessica Day wouldn’t scroll on Twitter for hours. She wouldn’t play iPhone games for 3 hours straight. She definitely wouldn’t lurk on Facebook.

She would cook a meal, and make up a dance routine and talk to her roommates and maybe sew some clothes or something like that.

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So there you have it! 22 suggestions for things to do sans screen, and also a TV show recommendation because you might need to slowly ween yourself off the screen ;)

Catch you for the next one,
S