You’ve had a long week at work. It’s Friday and all you want to do is go home, sit on the couch and watch your favourite show. Just the thought of doing anything at all is exhausting. All you want to do is relax. However, is TV actually giving you what you need? Here’s what psychological research has to say:
Fact #1: The older you get, the more hours you spend watching TV.
Fact #2: The older you get, the less you enjoy watching TV.
Fact # 3: The older you get, the less effective watching TV becomes in decreasing your perceived stress levels
Fact #4: Other leisure activities (reading, socializing, meditating) do successfully lower perceived stress levels no matter your age.
This means that we need to do other things than watch TV to feel relaxed and enjoy a positive mood boost! Here’s a list of alternatives for winding down after a long, busy day at work that will leave you feeling genuinely refreshed:
Listen to a podcast
Go for a walk
Call a friend/family member
Take a bath
Make plans to meet up with a friend
Play with your kids/pets outside
Taking the time to decompress is incredibly important. It’s easy to spend your whole evening watching TV, and while that might seem relaxing, in reality you are not reaping any restoring benefits. Make sure to schedule some time each day to do things that will lower your stress levels and allow you to recharge.
Sources: Colin A. Depp, David A. Schkade, Wesley K. Thompson, Dilip V. Jeste, Age, Affective Experience, and Television Use, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Volume 39, Issue 2,2010,Pages 173–178