If you’re looking for tips on how to stop being a couch potato, you’re not alone. Many people feel that their biggest vice is that they watch too much TV, and spend too much time on the couch when they should be more active.
Learning how to stop being a couch potato is especially challenging in the colder months when being a couch potato is more socially acceptable. No matter what time of year it is, however, being too sedentary is very unhealthy.
Since the advent of the digital revolution, tech gadgets like your smartphone, tablet, Smart TV have become an indispensable part of daily life. In the last decade, carrying this gadget in the pocket has become commonplace. Unfortunately, though technological advancements make life easy for humans and many things efficient, these devices have also created a dependence.
Today, more than 5 billion people in the world own a mobile device. From there, anyone can watch Netflix, YouTube, and other streaming sites on the couch. With a mini-TV in your pocket, it can be hard to take your eyes off the screen since you are bombarded with entertaining and informative shows that are specifically designed to tickle your fancy. To compound the problem, platforms like Netflix entice you to stay tuned as they automatically play the next episode.
The Harsh Realities of Too Much Screen Time
Sadly, when you binge-watch your favourite series, your brain continually produces dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter or a chemical messenger that carries and transmits signals between brain cells. Habitual drug use, frequent gambling, video game obsession, and TV addiction all have dopamine as the common denominator.
Thus, watching too much TV elicits a drug-like high that makes you not want to stop. As a result, you live a sedentary lifestyle. Worst of all, most people who are addicted to screens also frequently reach for unhealthy munchies like chips, popcorn, candy bars, and soda. The lack of movement coupled with empty calories is why the following are pervasive in today’s society:
- Insomnia or sleep deprivation
- Problems with productivity
- Diminished attention span
- Ophthalmologic problems like eye strain or photosensitivity
- Chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease.
Transform from “Eat-lethic” Couch Potato Into an Athletic Persona
Keep in mind, too much of anything is always bad. Studies show an overabundance of dopamine results in an overactive brain cell function, leading to hallucinations, delusions, schizophrenia, and psychosis. Sounds scary, right?
And you should indeed be scared of a downward spiral. So now is the time to break your bad habits by watching less TV and getting off your couch. Here are helpful hacks that you can follow to transform from an “eat-lethic” couch potato into an athletic and well-rounded person.
Seek Assistance and Accountability From Family and Friends
A bad TV habit needs proactive intervention from accountability buddies. Let your loved ones know that you are trying to cut back on your TV habit. Ask them to remind you and check on you from time to time. Enlist their presence and assistance so you can do activities together like sports or craft projects.
Remember, never feel embarrassed about asking for help. Acknowledging you have a problem is the first step to finding a solution. Besides, the people who genuinely care about you will gladly offer a helping hand.
Set a Strict Time Limit for Daily TV Consumption
Research indicates that adults spend around 11 hours of their day staring at the screen, whether it’s typing on computers, checking their phones, or watching TV. Health experts recommend that everyone, especially teens and school-aged kids, should spend no more than two hours a day in front of the screen. It is just as important for adults to follow these rules to limit their blue light exposure and kick their sedentary habits to the curb.
If you are struggling with a TV obsession, you must set specific time limits for yourself. For example, you can limit yourself to one episode per day on weekdays and two on weekends. Set the alarm on your phone, so you have a loud and concrete reminder to break your bad habit.
Find Time For Other Fun Activities
You will be less glued onto the TV if you have other enjoyable things that keep your time occupied. Now is the perfect chance to rediscover hobbies and activities you used to love. You can also make time to learn something new. Use the time you usually spend watching TV to try the following:
- Playing interactive games outdoor like frisbee or airsoft
- Hanging out with family and friends
- Going for long walks or runs with a group
- Reading different books
- Learning to cook or bake
- Listening to inspiring podcasts
If you typically watch TV to de-stress, you need to channel it through other means. Often, a TV addiction develops as an escape. Thus, you must develop other coping strategies when things become overwhelming. For example, you can work out, do pilates, try yoga, or express yourself in drawing or writing.
Treat This Activity as a Reward
For some people, binge-watching means they neglect their chores, tasks, and other activities. If that’s what’s happening in your life, make a vow to prioritize your important responsibilities. Make it a point to never turn on any show until you have accomplished everything on your to-do list.
Instead of making watching TV a habit, treat it as a reward. A reward system works well because when you have a reward to look forward to, you will feel less lethargic and more inspired to get things done.
Keep Tech Gadgets Out of the Bedroom
If you have a serious TV addiction, you need to take a more radical approach. For starters, take out the TV in your bedroom because it will serve as a constant temptation. You can also keep your smaller devices like your phone and tablet out of your room to ensure you get the sleep you need. This means you can’t readily reach for it at bedtime.
A screen-free zone ensures you don’t get caught up in another movie marathon and forgo your rest. Remember, your body needs rest because your cells heal and regenerate at night. In addition, you need quality sleep to keep your immune system up and diseases at bay. That knowledge alone ought to motivate you to stop compromising your health with excessive TV use. To help you unwind without the TV, you can try the following:
- Meditate before bed
- Take a warm shower
- Drink calming chamomile tea
- Diffuse lavender as it promotes sleep
When you watch too much TV and vegetate on your couch, you end up feeling icky and sluggish. As a result, you suffer brain fog throughout the day and feel unmotivated. You may even neglect to care for yourself, which only compounds the problem because you will feel even more unwell. And with that heavy feeling, all the more that you don’t want to move.
Thus, as you overcome your terrible TV habits, it is important to prioritize your self-care needs. Remind yourself to do the following task:
- Eat at least 3 nutritious and delicious meals a day
- Aim for 8 hours of good sleep
- Do any form of physical activity that you enjoy for 30 minutes each day
- Practice hygiene and good grooming habits
- Perform your daily responsibilities
Suppose you have trouble fulfilling that, set up a big calendar in the most visible part of your house to remind you. You can also put an alarm on your phone or ask your family members to call you.
Speak With a Doctor for Advice about Physical Health
If you have trouble cutting back on your TV use and feel too lazy to move, you may need to speak with your physician. Often, an addiction like this crops up with other health issues. For example, you could be experiencing depression or anxiety. You may also be having nutritional deficiencies or chronic health issues that make you feel lethargic, like hypertension or heart disease. This usually comes with shortness of breath, unrelenting fatigue, and irregular heartbeats.
Your physician can help you find the solution by combining counselling and medicine to treat any disorders. Apart from that, you can also use a DNA testing kit such as CircleDNA to check for any health risk factors that might encourage you to get moving. The test results are based on your unique genetic profile and will reveal disease susceptibilities and deficiencies. The DNA test results will also recommend diet and exercise plans that will work extremely well with your unique DNA.