“Netflix and Chill” went from a sly innuendo to a legitimate weeknight activity for many couples. You eat dinner, get the kids ready for bed, collapse on the couch, find the remote, mindlessly scroll through movie options, click, and watch something—anything—to tire you out before bed.
But don’t you deserve to introduce some excitement into your nightly routine? Netflix has become the new cable, and nightly television watching can quickly go from an exciting activity to a new, boring normal.
Try these activities instead:
Card games, board games, video games, take your pick. Whatever your preference, games are intensely more immersive than binging yet another show. You’re strategizing, you’re plotting, you’re yelling, you’re engaging—and suddenly, you’re having fun at home and the TV is off. Just keep the intense competition out of your nightly routine, or relaxation might be off the table.
Even if you’re not a world chef, there are a myriad of ingredient-delivery services that make cooking like a professional chef easy to do from your own home. Cooking together can be a great way to connect at the end of a day and create something together. And yes, that bottle of wine is just begging to be split between two glasses.
Go to the Gym
Some personal improvement never hurt anyone, and a good sweat session can be a great way to change up a stagnant schedule and add some excitement back into your evenings. You can join a nearby gym and challenge each other to achieve fitness goals, or you can even find an online program or virtual yoga class to attend from the comfort of your living room.
Tackle a Home Improvement Project
It’s easy to keep putting off that painting project or quick home repair in favor of the comfortable couch. But what could you accomplish if you broke up with your nightly Netflix binge and checked some of those projects off of your list? You might be surprised how much time you spend staring at a screen—and how little time it takes to get a few things done.
Learn Something New
Maybe you’ve always talked about learning French, or maybe cross-stitching has been calling your name. Instead of yet another bad-movie night, try integrating that new hobby into your next free evening. Learning something new, especially when you’re learning with someone else, can breathe new air into your life and help you get that great feeling of accomplishment.
We all hate doing it, but we all have to do it. Why not make it a group activity? Two people clean faster than one, and you can take the time to connect, talk about your days, or discuss favorite cleaning products to help the time pass faster. And who doesn’t love waking up to a sparkling clean home?
Play with your Pet
One thing you probably don’t do while you watch TV? Play with your furry companions. Spend an evening taking the dog for an extra-long walk or teasing your cat with that feathered toy he loves. Spending quality time with your animals can increase your endorphin levels and massively decrease your stress levels. And isn’t that why you got them in the first place?
Be Spontaneous Date night on a Tuesday? Margarita nights? Bonfire at the beach? Stargazing? A little creativity can go a long way toward making an average evening totally unforgettable. In this digital age, it can be hard to forgo screens, but you might be surprised at what taking a break from Netflix can do for your relaxation.