There is a lot of great TV happening these days. In fact, there are so many well-done series worthy of our time that the entire Hollywood film industry may never be the same. Viewers are spoiled by well-developed characters, relationships and plots that would rarely, if ever, be done justice in a mere one and half or two hour film. Movies will need to be incredibly original or clever to make an impact on today’s movie audience. And that’s without getting into the question of when and if people will be lining up to sit in a crowded dark room with hundreds of strangers any time soon.
Subscriptions, and hours spent, on services such as Amazon Prime, Disney+ and especially Netflix have exploded. But at a certain point, sitting passively, watching a screen endlessly for hours can become monotonous, and some guilt can even set in as you ask yourself, “Shouldn’t I be ‘doing’ something, or ‘learning’ something?”
Here are some great ways to mix up your screen time:
Learn a new language while you watch your fave series
We regularly throw in a few compromises and multi-task during our TV binges. We’ve started to watch shows with subtitles to improve our foreign language skills. This can work in two ways, both are great ways to up your multilingual game.
Start by watching foreign language shows with English subtitles. The phenomenal Spanish series Money Heist is a great one for Spanish, and the convoluted, intense, time-travel series Dark, is good for German. And countless others as well. The second less conventional approach, is to throw up foreign language subtitles while watching an English language series. We did this with the entire Outlander series, and it really helped with vocabulary and common casual and slang phrases (and maybe a few curse words?).
Get interactive with online gaming
When you feel like relaxing, you can do more than sit passively binge watching TV shows and movies. Get involved by getting your game on! You’ll use your brainpower and have a different kind of fun and excitement. There are so many amazing genres of games you can get into. You can amuse yourself with everything from puzzle games, virtual sports and online casinos, to highly immersive cinematic games and ever hyper-realistic virtual reality games using widely available VR headsets.
It’s no surprise the multi-billion dollar gaming industry is absolutely booming during the various lockdowns and slowdowns happening globally. Most sales these days are digitally downloaded, removing the need to visit a store, or even ship a physical game through the mail. Examples of this boom in gaming come from Fortnite hitting record numbers of online players, big jumps in sales and profits for industry titan Electronic Arts, and the stunning success of Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons which became the best selling game ever for the Switch console in only six weeks.
Work out while you watch
You can also make great use of the time you’re spending in the comfort of your own living room, distracted by a compelling show, to get a little physical exercise in as well. We’re not talking cardio, although that can be an option if you have a treadmill, or space to to do some rope skipping. You can engage in simple, low activity exercises, that won’t distract from your or others’ enjoyment of what’s happening on the TV. Get on the ground and do slow and steady stomach crunches or a range of core exercises. There is a wide selection of stretches and yoga poses that you can do as you continue to pay attention to what’s happening on screen. Light weights, like dumbbells, are great for few quiet reps while watching your show. Become an “active viewer”!
Turn your living room into a classroom
If you have extra time to spare during the coronavirus lockdowns, or even during normal times, you should take advantage of the incredible world of video learning that is available. You can really learn or take formal courses in almost any subject. Want to learn how to make delicious French pastries? There’s a Masterclass course for that, and countless videos on YouTube. Want to study interior design with a pro? Learn about Viking history, black holes, nature photography? Again, there are numerous courses and videos available to watch, many taught by renowned experts in those fields. Put your brain to work, and you’ll find yourself coming out of your COVID-19 lockdown with new skills and knowledge that will last a lifetime.
For many of us, despite disruptions to our lives, education and careers, there may be a silver lining to be found in these strange lockdown days. Relax, avoid too much worry or stress, and make sure you make the most of your screen time!