20 Things to Do Instead of Scrolling

I get it – social media scrolling can be fun. You see cute animals, funny clips and learn some new things. But we all know it’s not a secret that mindlessly scrolling can be really bad for our mental health. 

Recently, I began to notice that my dependence on social media was growing, and then I’d be frustrated with myself when I would later tell myself I was “too busy” or “didn’t have the time” to practice my hobbies, increase mindfulness, or just pay more attention to what I was doing. It needed to stop. But at the same time, it felt like every time I did have the time to just hang out on the couch with my fiance and my dog, I suddenly forgot every hobby I have or everything I’ve been meaning to do. I’m a very visual person, and I love a good list, so I wrote some ideas down. This way, I can always refer back to them when I need a reminder that I have plenty of other options of what to do rather than mindlessly scrolling the social media feeds of people I probably don’t even know. 

I ended up sharing these little Post-It notes I keep on my office wall on Instagram and got a lot of positive feedback that these were things that other people needed, too. So, I thought I’d share them here, too. Obviously, not every one of these is going to relate to every single one of you, but I encourage you to make this list your own. Your mental health will thank you for it.

1. Color

I don’t care if this makes me sound like a 5-year-old; I absolutely love to color. I find it so relaxing and fun – give me a pack of crayons and a good Disney coloring book, and I’m happy. If you’re like me and can find yourself getting restless while just sitting and need to be always doing something with your hands, appease your inner child.

2. Play with Your Pet

Working from home, I feel bad that I’m simultaneously around my dog more but not always able to play with her and give her attention. I try to block out at least 20 minutes a day (besides our morning/evening walks) where I do something fun with her. Whether it’s taking her outside to play with her ball, going to get a Pup Cup, making a trip to the dog park, some sort of enrichment activity, or just taking her with me to run some errands – what better way to distract yourself than playing with a fluffy four-legged creature that adores you?

3. Read

I am a voracious reader and am so guilty of reading tons of AITA posts on Reddit when it would have been much more productive and impactful for me to read an actual book. It doesn’t have to be the most intellectual book out there or anything particularly stimulating. Just read. I read at least ten pages every night before bed, and I love it – why not do it more?

4. Blog

As we all know, I’ve taken a bit of a hiatus from writing and need to get back into it. If I told myself I just have to write for five minutes a few days a week, I’d honestly end up writing way more and probably have at least a couple of posts a week, which would justify the newsletter I want to start.

5. Crochet / Knit

I have this super cute crochet kit of a cactus that my mom got me that I still haven’t gotten around to doing, but it’s on the list! My mom also recently taught me how to arm knit – I even made myself a blanket for my office. If there’s some sort of dexterous activity like this you’ve wanted to learn or get better at, it’s never too late.

6. Take a Walk or Just Sit Outside

woman and dog walking at woods
Photo by Humphrey Muleba on Pexels.com

Fresh air is one of the most underrated things we have at our disposal every day to maintain our health. Getting outside for a little bit every time is vital to your physical and mental health and sleep schedule. If you don’t feel like walking, that’s fine – just sit and be present. Listen to the birds, feel the breeze… whatever you do out there is up to you.

7. Pray or Meditate

Spiritual health and mental health go hand in hand for me. Take some time to sit and pray, even if you aren’t religious. Or, find a little meditation video on YouTube. Just sit back and relax.

8. Design / Draw / Sketch / Paint

Again, just take some time to let your creativity flow!

9. Write a Letter or Call a Friend

When was the last time you actually wrote a letter to someone? My best friend and I love writing letters to each other – we’ve been doing it for almost eight years! I love getting snail mail and think we should all do this more. If you’re not a writer, that’s okay – instead of texting, call a friend to catch up.

10. Bake

I personally love to bake – I love how accomplished I feel when it turns out! It’s relaxing and fulfilling for me, and I love how scientific it is. If you’re not a baker, cook, grill, or practice some mixology, then call a friend to share it with.