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You know that old wives’ tale about getting square eyes if you watch too much TV? We don’t know about you, but our peepers are taking on a distinctly phone-like shape...

While we’re thankful there’s a whole virtual world out there, it’s more important than ever to put the phone down, turn off Netflix, shut the lid of your laptop, step away from the news alerts and give your eyes a well-deserved break.

But at time when our movements are restricted – and will continue to be for a while – you might be running out of things to do. Thankfully we’ve solved the problem for you. From the obvious to the outré, here are our 25 favourite ideas for ditching the small screens without leaving your house. You can thank us later... 

25 ideas for getting away from your screen

1. Grow some veg or herbs

It’s therapeutic, you don’t need a garden or outdoor space for herbs, and it means you’re guaranteed fresh produce without heading to the shops.

2. Do an at home spa day 

Pop some chilled cucumber slices on your eyes, get that bath full of bubbles, put on some bird song and feel (almost) all your worries melt away…

3. Order one of our home kits

Learn the ancient Japanese art of kintsugi (you might need to watch a video) or make pancakes – all you’ll need to do is stuff your face for that one... 

4. Take up knitting

You’ll have plenty of unique jumpers and gifts by Christmas

5. Write a letter

Yes, really! It could be a love letter (twit twoo), or a note to a relative. 

6. Listen to a podcast

Get stuck into a true crime series (The Dropout, focusing on the story of the world’s first female self-made billionaire Elizabeth Holmes, is dangerously binge-worthy); get the stories behind the day’s news; or pick up a new skill but popping on a podcast, no screen required.

7. Read

Goes without saying: swap the small screen for the, er, small page and read, read, read. Looking for inspiration? We’ve got you covered with our favourite mood-boosting reads right now.

8. Buy a cookbook and master all the recipes

Now’s the time to master your favourite cuisine, whether it’s Middle Eastern or Mexican. Choose one of Ottolenghi’s books and you’ll be busy for hours, and we’re sure you’ll be very popular with your housemates.

9. Board games or puzzles

Not just for children. Get embroiled in a game of Risk (sorry not sorry), or take on a puzzle with 1,000 pieces. Let the arguments begin. 

10. Make an outdoor cinema

Pin up your best white bedsheet in the garden, buy a projector – you can pick one up for about 40 quid – and show your favourite movies. You’re still watching something, but a sheet definitely isn’t a screen, and this way you can watch whatever you like. People pay a small fortune to do this in parks, you know. 

11. Do some colouring in

Remember when colouring in was all the rage in mindfulness? Well, we sure could do with some of that right now. Dig out your old colouring book – we know you’ve got one – and go wild. 

12. Learn to stargaze

Get some celestial inspiration by sitting by your window on a clear night and gazing at the starry sky. Download an app like Sky View Lite for a helping hand. 

13. Make your own hydrating, cleansing face mask 

While everyone else is making banana bread, take your banana, smoosh it up in a bowl, add a spoon of honey, a tablespoon of milk and spread that goodness all over your face. 

14. Relax with your own homemade gong bath

Get your partner or housemate to stand over you with a saucepan, hit it with a spatula aaaand relax… It’s basically the same, right?

15. Take a cold shower

By forcing your body into a panic state and recovering, you’ll be more capable dealing with the day’s demands. Check out the Wim Hoff technique or watch that Goop episode for breath exercises to get you prepared for that cold shock. For extra kudos, fill your bath with ice and cold water and plunge on in. 

16. Get upside down

Yogi? Gym nut? Master your hand and headstands and get yourself upside down for an energy boost. 

17. Take part in TaskMasters #HomeTasking

New tasks get set every Monday and Wednesday at 9:30. Check out this montage of people doing the task to turn their bed into something that isn’t a bed.

18. Sing to yourself or a friend in the bathroom

Top tip: Your bathroom has great acoustics. Put on a show for your family, housemates or partner. Hairbrush microphone optional.

19. Sit in a dark room, cover your eyes with a blindfold and put on your favourite album 

You think this sounds silly? People usually pay to do it (great date idea for life after lockdown, just FYI) and you’ll get notice all sorts of subtle elements you never heard before. 

20. Write a song

A nice way to start this is to make up new words to a song you already know. Go on, we know you already do this anyway.

21. Learn to juggle

It’s a vital skill, after all.

22. Hug a housemate

Hug your housemates lots, 'cos you won’t be touching anyone else for a while

23. Lock eyes with the neighbour's cat…

... And have a staring competition. Warning to the competitive: you probably won’t win.

24. Write a quiz for your house to play

Make up a quiz for your housemates or your family, or if you have a garden backing onto your neighbours', get them involved, too. Feeling lazy? Join us every other Friday for our Pub Quiz for inspiration.

25. Make a phone call

Not everything has to be Zoom, Houseparty or Whatsapp you know. Just pick up the phone and make an old-fashioned call without any screens involved. 

FURTHER READING

You can still cultural fix: watch a theatre production, go on a virtual tour of a museum or tune into a live stream of a concert. Read our 5 Ways to Experience Culture Without Leaving Your House.

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