There’s nothing wrong with a little relaxation in front of the TV. After a long workday, who doesn’t want to kick back with a drink and their favorite show? This is totally normal, but if you’re not careful, TV can become an obsession and rob you of valuable time, turning you into a couch potato who neglects other more important activities.
Because this obsession develops slowly, you might not immediately recognize a problem, but there are a few telltale signs of an out-of-control TV habit.
Not sure what they might be? Take a look at these 5 signs that you’re watching too much television to see if you’re developing a habit and what you can do about it.
1. Your social life revolves around TV.
If you’re spending less time with friends and family and more time connecting with your favorite TV characters, trouble could be brewing. You might chalk this up to being tired and craving some alone time. But too much isolation and scheduling your social calendar around your favorite shows could indicate a problem.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend time alone. On the other hand, if you can’t remember the last time you hung out on a weekend, or if you constantly turn down invitations because you can’t miss your favorite show, it’s time to revaluate your choice of entertainment.
In this situation, DVR can be your best friend. With the ability to record live TV, you can record programs to be watched at a later time. And the best part about DVR, you can fast-forward through commercials reducing the amount of time you spend in front of the tube.
2. You never turn off the TV.
Another sign that you’re watching too much TV is an inability to turn off the television. Not because you physically can’t, but because you don’t have the willpower. You should be able to come home, relax, eat dinner and do other things without the TV entertaining you in the background. Likewise, the remote control shouldn’t be the first thing you reach for upon entering the home.
To break this habit, make an effort to involve yourself in other activities when you arrive home. Lie down and decompress, come up with a schedule for the next day, read a book or take care of projects around the house. The less television you watch, the less you’ll depend on it for entertainment.
3. Television dominates your conversations.
There’s nothing sinister about discussing your favorite programs. Even so, keep a close eye on subjects that dominate your conversations. If you find that you’re always talking about some reality program or sitcom, you’re probably spending too much time watching TV and it wouldn’t hurt to scale back and explore other ways to entertain yourself. As a well-rounded person, you should be able to converse about other topics—perhaps your hobbies, current events or other interesting happenings in your life.
4. You’re not as active.
If you’re slowly packing on the weight and don’t know why, TV might be to blame. When you spend hours upon hours in front of the television, you risk developing a sedentary lifestyle.
After work and on the weekends, relaxing might be the only thing on your mind, which is understandable. But there are ways to relax that don’t involve the television. Take a slow stroll on the beach, walk in the park and take in the scenery or become engrossed in a fun craft project. The more you move, the more calories you’ll burn and the more energetic you’ll feel.
5. You’re not getting enough sleep.
Be honest, how late do you stay up watching television? If you have to get up early in the mornings, but repeatedly go to bed late because you can’t turn off the television, TV might have greater importance in your life than it should.
The reality is, there’s always something interesting to watch. So it’s important to have self-control and turn off the tube. If this is difficult for you, try removing the TV from your bedroom and deleting streaming apps from your phone or tablet. The less temptation, the easier it’ll be to go to sleep at night.
TV is a fun, inexpensive way to entertain yourself. But with so many programs and movies playing every second of the day, TV can also consume your time and become an obsession. If you’re able to recognize bad habits, you can make the needed adjustments and keep television in its proper place.