Why mindless scrolling through your social media feed is so appealing? It’s effortless, always accessible, and the content – inexhaustible. It’s also highly addictive and enormously
time-consuming. If after spending another hour sliding your thumb along the screen, you feel like you’ve just needlessly wasted time, you might need a new pastime. Let’s find you one!

Is aimless scrolling always wrong?

It’s all about your feelings, you’re in charge. If you’re okay with spending as much time on social media as you do,
and you don’t consider it detrimental to your mental or physical health, you might use them in a healthy and limited way. A lot of social media users purposely choose this mind-numbing activity to easily disconnect from reality, without paying a lot of attention to the online content itself.

However, it’s very easy to lose ourselves in social media consumption. They’re specifically designed to irresistibly draw us to the screen and provoke addictive behaviours. They may harm your self-esteem (when you constantly compare your life to others), productivity (when you try to be focused, but you’re constantly checking the feed),
or mood (when you’re upset because you’re scrolling instead of doing something fun).

5 relaxing phone-free leisure activities

If you fall into the latter group of users, and you’re aware of the negativity that mindless scrolling brings to your life, this article is for you! Instead of grabbing your phone every five minutes, engage in something purposeful and rewarding.

It doesn’t mean you’re now embarking on a search for a new hobby. Instead of putting the pressure of having your thing on you, you can just enjoy doing anything you find valuable. The value lies in entertainment, relaxation, education, and so on.

1. Painting by numbers

When I was a kid, my dad used to print colouring sheets for me. I quite liked drawing, but I’ve never had this artistic creativity that would let me come up with my own compositions. I preferred following tutorials on how to sketch different animals or just filling the colouring sheets. They let me create something aesthetically pleasing, and the activity itself was very calming.

As an adult, I stumbled across a more advanced colouring challenge – painting by numbers. Just google it and you see what I’m talking about. You can paint your own picture without being artistically gifted – you just fill the spaces with appropriate colours. The spaces can be super tiny, so it does require minimal manual skills.

You produce a beautiful piece of art without even being creative! And if you don’t like doing things just for the sake
of doing them, and you need to have a purpose, you can always give your picture to somebody. Maybe one of your friends has a company and the picture could adorn their office. Or you could donate them for charity fundraising. They definitely won’t go to waste.

2. Walk & listen

You probably know people now love podcasts. There are several apps you can listen to them on. Among my friends,
the most popular genres are interviews, true crime, and news. There’s a vast ocean of entertaining and educational quality audio content out there.

My idea for your new pastime is to combine listening to a podcast you find in any way meaningful with taking a walk. That’s a super-easy and effective way to take care of your body and mind at the same time. First – you add to your day an extremely beneficial physical activity that helps you improve stamina, fitness, and cardiac health, and significantly boosts your mood (especially if you pass a lot of dogs). Second – you give the walk purpose and meaning because you listen to entertaining or informative content.

3. Regular stretching

Sometimes we start scrolling through our social media feeds because we feel that starting any different activity isn’t worth it. We just don’t have enough time, we think. In fact, there are a lot of things that don’t require more than spare 15 minutes. And what’s more important – they’re far more gratifying than being stuck behind the screen. Let’s just focus on one of them – stretching.

If you type stretching 10 min (or any other amount of time), you’ll be shown dozens of videos that you’ll squeeze
in your today’s slot. Practise short and simple exercises for flexibility, mobility, and balance for a few days a week, and you’ll see the difference in the quality of your life.

How? It’s not only about limiting your social media use. Stretching sessions make us calm and focused on the present because they require conscious breathing and keeping balance. Again – an activity that will boost both your physical and mental wellness.

4. Explanatory video

Isn’t watching videos quite an obvious way of lazing around? Maybe, but I’m not talking about the type of content you can listen to in the background when you’re scrolling on your smartphone, just to avoid the silence.

Instead, watch a video that will give you a new insight into the reality that surrounds you. YouTube now abounds with explanatory journalism videos about any topic you could think of – from the mystery behind ever-broken McDonald’s ice cream machines to Colombia’s war on drugs. If you need a deeper focus, choose a channel in
a foreign language you’re currently polishing. A complex subject combined with a foreign language won’t let you check social media updates in the meantime.

5. Your turn

If we neglect the fact that we don’t know what to do after work or studies, we won’t come up with any valuable ideas. The solution is to let yourself reflect on things you would like to do, but you’ve never taken them up for different reasons. Maybe you’ve always wanted to:

  • check the meanings behind the lyrics of the songs from your favourite album;
  • learn how to publish articles on WordPress;
  • walk dogs from a local animal shelter;
  • read about dietary habits that are easy to introduce;
  • buy a jump rope and build your exercise routine around it;
  • call your parents more often;
  • make a collage in GIMP;
  • sign up for dance classes;
  • make flashcards with vocabulary;
  • knit socks for your grandpa;
  • weave a macramé jar.

To help yourself step out of the scrolling habit, plan your leisure. Include a chosen pastime in your day consciously, so you automatically won’t grab your phone whenever you don’t have anything specific to do.

And if none of these sounds appealing to you, and you can’t come up with anything engaging, just take a nap, but put your phone in the kitchen.

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I'm an SEO web writer who leads Instagram-less life. By writing, I nurture my language creativity and inner curiosity. With every piece of content I get another perspective on the world around me.