Can you imagine life without your smartphone?
What about a life without social media?
That’s hard too.
I often reminisce about the simple life we had before smartphones. And I often worry about how impatient the human race has become because of the instant availability of everything.
What is more worrying is how kids demand smartphones to play games the minute they are bored. I usually don’t entertain it with my kids but I see it everywhere.
We are losing the ability to entertain ourselves and enjoy the world around us without this device.
But I never advise against not using a smartphone or social media at all.
If we know to draw a line, we can use technology in our favor. I use Instagram for personal development. I follow people who inspire me and my use of Instagram is for my daily dose of inspiration.
I have learned a lot of new things from social media, so it has only made my life better.
But its when you use too much of social media that it’s a problem. This post is to give you ideas on entertaining yourself without social media or a smartphone.
Some of the activities might require you to use your phone depending upon how dependent you are on your phone. For example, I do guide meditations using my phone. Or do home workouts by watching along on Youtube.
But don’t worry, I will tell you how you can block social media apps while you use your phone for productive things at the end of this article. Keep reading.
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50 ideas to entertain yourself without social media
One of the best alternatives to reaching for a phone is reading. You can read anything as long as it is inspirational, educational or entertaining. Be it a book, magazine or blog, make sure you spend at least 10-15 minutes a day on reading to expand your knowledge.
2. Talk to people face to face
Talking to people while your head is bent down to scroll on a phone can’t be counted as a conversation.
When you have a conversation with people, facial expressions and eye contact does a lot in fostering a connection with them. When you maintain eye contact, you are telling them that you are interested in hearing what they say.
It also helps in developing intimacy and connection with the other person.
3. Do meal prepping for a week
Do you always fancy yourself eating healthier but think you have no time to prepare healthy meals?
Try meal prepping!
Instead of scrolling on your phone, spend a Sunday evening for healthy meal prepping. Cut vegetables, prepare meat patties, boil quinoa, etc, on a weekend and store it in the refrigerator or freezer to use later in the week.
You can also make easy energy balls for a week so that you don’t reach for unhealthy packet food as a snack.
4. Do meal planning
For meal prepping to work, you need to have a meal plan in place. Plan your meals for a week and do meal prepping accordingly.
Meal planning helps to reduce overwhelm and help you have a system for healthy eating in place.
So, instead of wasting time away on the phone, you can use that time productively for better health for you and your family.
5. Get outdoors
If you spend a lot of time on social media apps, you could be spending most of your time sitting in one place. To get your body moving and refresh your mind, get outdoors, be it even in your own yard.
It will give you a nice little boost in energy.
What do you do when you experience difficult feelings? Do you take the time out to feel through your emotions?
A side effect of using too much social media is emotional numbness. When we feel sad about an event or a memory, we tend to reach for our phone and open a social media app to numb away that pain instead of taking the time to process it.
Processing our emotions is important for us to heal, learn from the experience and become stronger.
Journaling is a great way to release your emotions in a healthy way. But that doesn’t mean you can do journaling only when you are sad. Write in your journal about when you need clarity about something or when you are celebrating your wins too.
7. Sit still
If there is an art of sitting still, it is getting extinct in this smartphone age. People don’t seem to be comfortable about sitting still engaging themselves with their own minds.
We want the stimulation from our social media feed and we want it now! It is a dangerous place to be in. I see it in my daughter who complains about boredom the minute she has free time.
Next time when you want to reach for your phone, take 3 deep breaths in and let yourself be bored for some time. Who knows? You might get a life-changing idea during these boring sessions!
8. Call someone
Do you think you have no time to call people and talk? You do!
If you track your social media usage you know that you do have time to talk. Use those ten minutes to call someone you have been wanting to call for months.
Another thing we tend to postpone a lot is, clearing up our living space and throwing away things we don’t need anymore.
We can find time for decluttering too. You don’t need to go on a decluttering spree, but do it one area at a time.
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One of the reasons I kept procrastinating on exercise for years is lack of time. But then I realized I am never going to do exercise if I don’t put it in my daily plan.
You can borrow the time used on social media apps for squeezing in daily exercise in your schedule.
11. Make a list of things you never had time for
You want to do so many things in life – big and small – like wanting to spend time on creative hobbies or to build a side hustle. Write down everything.
And choose one item from your list you think you can work on consistently for at least the next three-six months. And then when you accomplish it, choose another goal for the next six months.
Do a DIY project taking inspiration from blogs or Youtube channels. It is a great way to keep your brain active and refresh your mind.
If you have kids, get them on board so that they can learn to use their time wisely too.
There are tons of tutorials available online for sewing, knitting, painting, macrame, etc.
13. Do coloring
I just jumped onto the bandwagon of adult coloring world and the benefits are said to be many. We live with a lot of stress and coloring at the end of the day can relieve your stress.
A disadvantage of social media is that it increases your stress because of the constant comparison to other people’s lives.
So instead of that, engage in stress-busting activities for better mental health.
14. Play with your pet
Are you a pet lover? Devoting some time daily to play with your pets can decrease blood pressure, cholesterol levels, etc. Pets help to remove loneliness and give us companionship. So spend some screen-free time to play with your pets. And it is also beneficial for your physical health because you move more. (Source)
15. Develop new skills
What’s one skill you have been wanting to improve for months or years now?
Cooking? Driving? Swimming? Singing? It can be anything. Spend the time you use on your phone to improve your skills.
You will soon start to realize how you thought you were busy is a lie.
16. Plan the next day
Do you know what’s one of the best habits you can develop to change your life?
Planning your days.
Most people spend their time before sleep scrolling on their phones. The minutes of social media can turn into hours causing you to have sleep deprivation. And you wake up feeling tired.
Instead of doing this, take out a planner or journal and write about what you would like to accomplish the next day. Include not only your priority tasks but set time apart for hobbies too. This is a great way to ensure you don’t spend unnecessary time on your phone the next day.
17. Watch a movie or a documentary
If you are in a mood to relax and unwind watch a movie or watch your favorite show on Netflix. If you feel like your brain is still feeling good about learning new information, watch a documentary.
Here is a list of top 10 best Netflix documentaries you can watch in your free time.
18. Do Self-care activities or practice hygge
This is my favorite way of spending time. After a hectic day, I like to pamper myself by doing the things I love. It is so relaxing and rejuvenating. It helps me work even better the next day.
Get a massage, Mani/Pedi, or a spa, because you are worth it!
Another thing I love is practicing hygge. Hygge is a kind of self-care practice that people in Denmark do. It is all about finding happiness and coziness in the small daily things of life. It is difficult to explain in a few words, so instead, I would like you to read this article that explains about hygge for beginners.
19. Play a sport
Call up your friends and play a common favorite sport. You will feel more energized and happy. So much better than the stagnant energy of sitting idle with your phone.
20. Play board games
Spend your free time by playing a board game with the family. These family interactions are so much needed – it helps in improving connection with family members and boost your happiness.
21. Go to a park and do people watching
By no means please don’t make others uncomfortable by staring at them. If you are interested in learning about other people, people-watching is a good way to pass time.
Usually, introverts are said to be good at people watching. They can pick up the behavior, characteristics, and mood of a person by studying their body language. But it should all be done in a subtle way.
People watching helps us be more aware of the people around us because we miss out on this so much these days due to our phones.
It helps us to use our brains and expand our imagination because we are making up random stories about these people in our minds. People watching is especially good while traveling to a new place because you can compare different cultures and gain new perspectives about life and people in general.
22. Visit the elderly people
Visit the elderly relatives and neighbors to offer companionship and to offer emotional support to them. It helps you to understand the value of time and also helps you become a kinder person because you are trading your time for doing service to others.
23. Work in your garden/yard
Spending time in nature helps you to relieve stress. It helps you to burn calories, lower your blood pressure, and grow organic healthy food. Seeing the fruits of your labor enhances your self-esteem making you feel accomplished.
24. Make a bucket list
Make a list of all the things you want to do in this lifetime. Include the activities that you have been fantasizing to do – no matter if they seem small, big, crazy, scary or completely out of your comfort zone.
Making this list helps you to really think about what you want to experience in this lifetime. You will gain an understanding of how much time you are wasting by scrolling on your phones.
25. Practice mindfulness
Combat mindless scrolling by deliberately practicing mindfulness. Focus your mind towards the present moment and feel the sensation under your feet, the warmth of the air that is brushing against your skin, listen to the sound of the ticking clock.
You are in this moment and alive. How beautiful is it to think about, right?
26. Start a gratitude journal
Having some gratitude practices is a must to be happy in life. Start a gratitude journal and make a list of things you are grateful for.
When you feel insecure or unhappy about the life you live, open your journal and write about the one thing you are grateful for that you didn’t have one or two years back. What is that one thing you possess now for which you have prayed hard for a year?
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27. Prepare a dish for neighbors
Make a sweet treat or a special dish to give to neighbors and spread the love.
28. Take a walk
Go for a walk in the woods or in a park with a loved one.
29. Unfollow people
When you use social media, take some time to unfollow people whose content makes you feel insecure and makes you think your life is insufficient. So the next time you open social media you will only have content that motivates you.
30. Organize your home
Tons of blogs teach you how to organize each area of your house. Learn from them and organize every space so that you can save time, money, and energy in the future because as clutter accumulates it takes up a lot of mental energy.
After all, you are constantly nagged about it.
Decluttering also motivates you to buy stuff that you need saving you money.
31. Make a step-by-step plan for your life
If you do #11 and #15, you will get some ideas about what you want to do in life.
Learn simple goal setting and make a step-by-step plan to achieve these goals. Divide your big goals into small ones and take action on them the very next day.
32. Check your emails and respond
If you are postponing responding to emails, it could be costing you your valuable customers. If you have also signed up for updates from your favorite bloggers, use your free time to read through the emails.
I get a ton of value and inspiration from people through email. For me, it’s a productive way to spend time instead of social media.
33. Read the articles saved on various platforms
I save articles to read later on Pinterest, Pocket, Trello, etc. and then forget about them.
But this year, I have made it my goal to check them when I am free. It is an alternate way to spend time on the phone when you are stuck somewhere and want to use the time well instead of social media.
34. Start a side hustle
I don’t like the word side hustle much, but I like the idea of starting one because of the freedom and financial security it can bring.
Luckily, in this era, starting a side hustle is easy because of all the information, tools, and resources available out there. These days I see entrepreneurs, especially many small businesses everywhere I go.
And it’s a good thing that people are trying to make use of their talents and become more independent using the internet and otherwise.
35. Play with your kids
Playing with kids has so many benefits. It helps to bring out your inner child, you can act silly leaving your serious face and troubles behind.
You can also laugh a lot and connect with kids which will help to build intimacy with them.
Play your favorite music and dance to it. Moving your body helps to boost your energy and make you happier.
37. Take a nap
Sleep is one of the basic needs that is pushed back due to the overuse of social media and smartphones in general. So take a power nap when you feel low on energy.
38. Organize digital files
This is something I have to drag myself to do. Once in a while, take a backup of your photos on the phone. Also, organize the apps and folders on your phone and computer respectively according to the frequency of use. Keep only the frequently used items on your home page or desktop.
39. Go on a date
Put your phones away for a special date night with your spouse. Or even mommy-kids or daddy-kids dates. And please remember to keep the phone in your car the entire time.
40. Plan a trip
On weekends, plan a one-day trip to a nearby place. Or go to a park, museum or for a hike in your city. These are all ways to have bonding time with family and also to move your body.
41. Do something you have never done before
Just for fun and to stop spending your free time “idle” all the time, try to sign up for activities that involve some training and are out of your comfort zone, like participating in a marathon, learning public speaking, learning scuba diving, etc.
42. Make things from scratch
Day by day, companies release new products for our comfort so that we don’t have to move our bodies anymore. While they try to cash in on our increased dependence on the lazy consumerist culture, let’s go back in time sometimes.
Making food items from scratch requires our time but it is fully satisfying. We know what is going into our food and into our children’s bellies and we have complete control over that.
So, once in a week or a month, attempt to make healthy preservative-free sauces, jams, pasta, etc. Since all the information you need is available online, there is no excuse if you can find the time.
43. Invest time and money in self-development
As they say, the best investment is the one you make in yourself. Buy online courses and books on self-development and use your spare time to learn.
I am 31 and I can’t stop wondering when I bump into new topics about why I didn’t hear about this before. It’s life-changing!!! These books and courses continue to help me evolve as a better human day by day.
If you are curious, right now I am leaning more into spirituality. I am learning a course on Chakras (energy centers in the human body) from Udemy and the book I am currently reading is “Becoming Supernatural” by Dr. Joe Dispenza.
I feel so good and in control of my ever-wandering mind on the days I meditate. I know people who say “Meditation? Nah, I am not that type!!”.
But I say, “You know what? You don’t know what you don’t know”. So try your hand at meditation for a few days (in the beginning only 5 minutes will do), and experience for yourself the beauty of meditation.
Meditation helps you to stay focused, stay in the moment and be happy.
45. Fix something that needs a repair
How many times have you been telling yourself that you will fix that broken appliance? Or sew that missing button on your shirt? I am sure there are a few items in your home that you have been meaning to get fixed for a long time.
Maybe today is the day to get to it and pat on your back when it’s done.
There are tons of things you can do instead of social media. What are your best ideas? Let me know in the comments below!
Now there are apps that can help you to limit the use of social media or even apps to keep your phone locked for a few hours so that you can engage yourself easily in the above activities.
HOW TO LOCK YOURSELF OUT OF YOUR PHONE
I use two apps on my phone – Flipd and Lock Me Out.
Flipd enables you to lock your phone for a set period of time whenever you want. If you want to stop using your phone right now and keep the phone locked for 3 hours so that you can use that time productively, you can do that.
By the way, you can still receive calls and make outgoing calls during this period. You can send and receive text messages too.
This app is available for Android as well as iOS users.
Another app I use is Lock Me Out. I love this app because I can set any app on my phone to be locked for a specific period of time if I overuse it.
For example, if I tend to overuse Instagram and Facebook, I can set a lockout for these apps after 1 hour of use in a 24-hour period. And I can choose to keep these apps locked for one hour or more according to my preference. Cool, right? This is called a usage-based lockout.
Another feature I use is scheduled lockout. I have scheduled my Instagram app to be locked between 9 pm and 10.30 am the next morning every day.
So, I can go to sleep on time and not open Instagram the moment I wake up. I have set the lockout to be over at 10.30 am so that I have time for my morning routine too.
You can use these settings for any very useful app.
I couldn’t find this app on the Apple store so I guess for the time being it is released for Android users only.
But I found another app for Apple users called Offtime which can be used to schedule blocking of apps.
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