Why We Gave Up TV

Netflix makes me happy.

My fella and I love to watch a good show like Frasier, NCIS, Blue Blood, or Madam Secretary. Once we find a show we tend to burn through episodes like a wildfire. So it might be surprising to know that a few weeks ago we stopped cold turkey.

Today I sat in class for three hours. I worked for six hours. I did homework for two hours. I took a long shower. I perused through a cookbook. I answered emails. I did a bit of shooting with my camera. I did all these things, but I did not watch TV. Why? Because Warrior Man and I decided to give up watching TV (which for us, means Netflix) five days a week.

A few weeks ago, my hubby suggested we stop watching Netflix (we don’t get cable) during the weekdays. We have both been incredibly busy this semester, and we had been slacking on homework in our classes. The truth is, that after a long crazy day we had gotten in the habit of watching Netflix shows. We would burn through a series in a matter of a week or even days. We were serial Netflix enthusiasts.

We were both accomplishing so much during the day that it seemed okay to indulge at night, right? We were rewarding ourselves for a job well done! The problem was that while Netflix is comforting, and relaxing it also was eating up homework time, and causing us to stay up far too late every night.

So, we decided to no longer watch TV during the week. I didn’t think we would last a day. I was wrong.

The first week felt a bit surreal. Just like a dieter filling himself up on 1/4 cup of cashews, and an apple instead of a bag of fast food I felt the difference, but the hunger pangs were not as bad as I thought they would be.

Each day there would be a moment when I would be tempted, and Warrior Man struggled a couple of times too. But we both held strong.

At the end of the week, Warrior Man suggested we watch My Big Fat Greek Wedding (affiliate link). I made popcorn (using coconut oil, natch!), we grabbed the fuzzy blankets, and gleefully clicked on the TV. We enjoyed that movie with an enthusiasm that was unmatched. I felt like we were on a super special date. All because we had fasted from TV for a week.We are now into our second week without TV during the school days. I have been noticing so many benefits of cutting this out five days a week. Here are a few:

  • When I have a bit of spare time, instead of mindlessly flipping on Netflix I am painting my nails, flipping through a magazine, and doing homework.
  • My head feels clearer, and time doesn’t go quite as fast.
  • Our home feels more peaceful and less loud.
  • I am going to bed earlier, and getting up earlier.
  • When we do watch TV on the weekends we are watching less because we are partially weaned off from it.
  • Laundry is getting done more often.
  • I find that I enjoy little things more. Like lighting a candle, taking a long shower, and making a cup of tea.

There is something wrong when we try to escape our lives (and responsibilities) on a regular basis by diving into the television set.

In the past if I felt bored, exhausted, overwhelmed or grumpy I would watch Netflix. Now, when I am bored I pick up a book. When I am exhausted I go to bed earlier. When I am overwhelmed I talk to my hubby. When I am grumpy, I sulk. Ha ha! Just kidding! Seriously, though, fasting from TV has made me realize that I have been drinking soda after soda when what I really needed was water.

What about you? Do you have restrictions in regards to watching TV? Are you a serial Netflix enthusiast too?


  1. This is such a good challenge! My husband and I definitely can fall into the trap of “least effort relaxation”. You would think that makes sense– that what requires the least effort would be the most relaxing– but in reality it often takes a bit of effort to get outside on a walk or really work to get into the plot of a new book and then you get truly relaxed and recharged. These days we’re defaulting to tv even more so thanks for the reminder to set limits!! 🙂
    Linda recently posted…A Day in the French CountrysideMy Profile

  2. We don’t have cable or TV reception of any kind, just Netflix. Who knew when we started getting Netflix there would one day be something called “serial Netflixing” or “binge-watching”?! It’s great that you two are setting limits and getting it under control. Maybe you could start a 12-step program! 😀
    Jean | DelightfulRepast.com recently posted…The Ultimate Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate – Chocolat Chaud Sans LaitageMy Profile

  3. We recently fasted from restaurants for a month (I only ate out once) and it was really eye opening how so many of our habits and hobbies all revolved around that one single thing. We started using eating out for treats instead of just for laziness.

    I loved this post though and definitely think it is something we should try out! Movies have turned into all of our date nights and maybe taking a step back will help us be more creative too.

    • Good for you, Autumn! That is next on our list. We spend too much on eating out. Sigh. Yes, I think forcing yourself out of your date night rut is a good idea! I have always wanted to get Warrior Man to teach me tennis, and I think now may be the time. 🙂 We do go on a lot more bike rides than we used to!
      Bethany Miller recently posted…Why We Gave Up TVMy Profile

  4. My husband and I gave up TV (which, in those days meant broadcast TV, and no internet or streaming, of course) for several months, back in 1976 when he was newly in the Air Force. We had sold our TV and were living on a shoestring, on his airman’s salary. We finally rented one when I got a temporary job. He was able to watch TV on base after his work day was over, but I went totally without. And you know what? I didn’t miss it that much. Good for you!
    Alana recently posted…Falling Friday – Preparing for WinterMy Profile

    • It is funny how something we “need” really isn’t something we need when we cut it out of our lives isn’t it, Alana? I love your story! Good for you guys for doing what needed to be done to make ends meet. I love reading any story you write!
      Bethany Miller recently posted…Why We Gave Up TVMy Profile

  5. Great post. I can see the benefits of not watching tv on a regular basis for busy people. I must admit, my family gave up tv in the 70s, to get closer to the ‘back to the Earth’ lifestyle. Didn’t work well because the children needed to watch certain programs for schoolwork. They went to a neighbour. Hehe.

  6. We can totally relate! Netflix can be a black hole! We sit down to watch one short episode, because that is all we think we have time for and end up watching four episodes. We are trying to be more intentional about our family time, especially with Rebekah. We are eating together more at the table, which leads to great conversation. We are going for more walks, enjoying more game nights, library outings, story times, podcasts, and much more. But we still get sucked in from time to time. I watched a lot of Call the Midwife this past week because Rebekah really wanted to cuddle while napping. She did not want to sleep in her crib . . . But, I did discover that she will nap well if I lay her in her carseat . . . 🙂 I am also trying to engaged with her while nursing, instead of scrolling through Facebook on my phone. She loves to explore my face with her little fingers, or hold hands, or be read to.
    Nathana Clay recently posted…Thankful Thursday–A LinkupMy Profile

    • Sounds like you guys are really harnessing time well! I do so love Call the Midwife. Sigh. Sometimes it is so important to just recognize how much screen time I am indulging in. I love your description of connecting with Rebekah while you nurse–just so very sweet. What a good mommy you are, my friend. 🙂
      Bethany Miller recently posted…Why We Gave Up TVMy Profile

  7. Amen!!!! When my kids were younger, we switched from watching TV every night to “family game nights”. Each evening, after dinner and homework, we would pick a board game, pop popcorn and just enjoy each other’s company. Those are some of our collective very favorite times 🙂

  8. Ohhh this is very inspiring. I agree that we all tend to work so hard and then that tv time at the end of the day is our “reward” for making it through the day, even though what we really probably need is rest or some down time doing something we love. Thanks for the encouragement! This is something we ought to do, too!
    Amy recently posted…Ducks!My Profile

  9. Ooh, girl, this is my LIFE! With full time jobs AND rehearsals AND an eleven-year-old in tow, we don’t get a ton of “at home” time, so when we do get some down time, TV is our kryptonite. I fall asleep on the couch all. the. time. It’s really probably bad.

    Thanks for the inspiration! You guys are rock stars!
    Grady recently posted…Whimsical Wedding – The Bachelorette PartyMy Profile

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