During the pandemic, most of us stayed home, avoided offices and schools, munched on a multitude of snacks, and turned to our digital devices to stay connected.
While email, social media, and Zoom are lifesavers, too much screen-time comes with a cost.
Studies show that excessive screen-time can lead to retina damage, blurred vision, sleep issues, a higher risk of anxiety and depression, and (especially in small children) behavioral problems, and even “reduced empathy.” Yikes.
Google “health effects of screen-time” to find some pretty distressing research from reputable places like Harvard and the Mayo Clinic.
This is serious stuff. Too much screen-time harms our health, and we all need to make an effort to cut back.
If you’re looking for screen-free activities to enjoy by yourself—or, activities to do with your kids—I’ve got you covered. Bored? Need fresh ideas? Here is the official Tarot Lady-approved list.
Turn off your phone and do Tarot.
It’s been around for more than 500 years. Way before iPads and Netflix and cat memes and viral dance videos on TikTok, people used to gather ‘round a Tarot deck to ask questions, find messages, tell stories and have lively conversations.
If you don’t know how to do Tarot, it’s easy to learn the basics and get started. You don’t need to be a “genius” and you don’t need to be “psychic,” either.
Parents: get Tarot for Kids, a beautiful deck that’s suitable for ages 8 and up. Comes with instructions, too!
Do a service project.
This could mean bringing a home-cooked meal to an exhausted single mom in your ‘hood, doing a bake sale fundraiser for healthcare workers, or donating winter coats and blankets to a shelter.
Teach your kids that giving back isn’t something that happens “once in a blue moon,” but rather, something that’s incorporated into everyday life.
Get off your butt and move.
I decided to cut way back on alcohol this year, clean up my eating habits, and move my body more. Have I lost weight? Not really! Do I feel better? Absolutely, and that’s ultimately what matters.
I don’t think I’ll be fitting into my micro-sized leather pants from 1988 anytime soon and that is just fine by me. Having a clear, sharp mind is the real reward.
Whether it’s yoga, dancing, walking the dog, a bike ride, the elliptical machine, or putting on boxing gloves and smashing the patriarchy, just move. Do a workout by yourself or get the kids involved. You will always be glad that you did.
More screen-free activities, lightning round:
– Draw a picture of your hero (David Bowie, RuPaul, Malala, whomever) from memory. No peeking at a screen allowed.
– Write a letter or postcard to a friend and mail it. (I’ve been doing this all throughout the pandemic and it just feels so good.)
– Make a comic strip or ‘zine with your kid. Blank paper, pen, stapler, boom—that’s all you need.
– Make a list of your favorite books from when you were a child. Check ‘em out from the library. Read them to your kid at bedtime.
– Ask your kid, “What would you love to do today?” and see what they say. The only rule is “no screens.” You might be surprised by what they suggest! Could be something beautiful that you’d never considered before.
– Create a spa day at home with face masks, bath bombs, Calm Kid Mist, or a homemade aromatherapy spray. Bribe your child to have them rub your feet or plod gently on your back.
– Do that “one project” you’ve been putting off for way too long. Grab your kiddo and get them involved. Declutter your bloated collection of tiny plastic hippos and thrift store knick-knacks (okay, maybe that’s just me?) re-organize your closet, file receipts by date, or whatever you need to do. Celebrate afterward with a special treat—your kid gets to pick whatever it’s going to be.
– Whenever a random question pops into your mind (“Who was that one actor from that one thing, you know, the guy with the face and stuff?”) instead of reaching for your phone and instantly Googling it, write it down in a diary. Jot down random questions all week long. On Sunday, read all the questions aloud. Laugh hysterically at your bizarre and wonderful brain.
. . .
Our lives are so heavily dominated by digital devices. Sometimes we forget that there are millions of things to do…away from all the screens. I hope this list sparked a few ideas for you!
Whether you’re a parent, or not, go have some good, clean, wholesome, unplugged fun.
There’s a whole big world out there, away from the Wifi router and chargers and screens. Turn off your phone, and plug back into life.
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2021
images from stock photography