Ten after school activities that don’t involve a screen

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, almost everything is being done virtually and, as a result, everyone is now on screens more than ever. Prolonged use of devices can have harmful effects on your body and mental health. Sleep disruption is one of the several effects of too much screen time, which is especially problematic for students because it leads to daytime drowsiness, impacting their school performance. Nonetheless, you can combat your screen time by taking some time and doing other things that allow your brain and eyes to catch a break. The following are some suggestions of things to do after school that do not involve using your screens.


  • Get artsy 

A creative act such as crafting or watercolor painting allows you to take a breather from your screens while at the same time making something you can be proud of. David Cropley, a professor from the University of South Africa, says that schools should increase their emphasis on teaching creativity as his research indicates that it enhances your brain function which allows you to focus on your school work.  As a bonus, it even boosts your serotonin levels, which is the key hormone that stabilizes our mood, feeling of well-being, and happiness. If you don’t have paint brushes lying around, no worries, you can simply hand draw a sketch or even doodle on a piece of paper and it will have the same lasting effects. 


  • Make an at-home workout routine

Staying active is crucial when it comes to virtual learning. Since everyone is staying at home more often, it is common to snack on junk food when boredom strikes, which means higher calorie consumption. At the same time, many people do not have the same opportunities as before to get out and be active with sports seasons cancelled and fields closing. It is proven that increased screen time is associated with weight gain, weight-related disease and a shorter life. That is the reason it’s important to stay fit  when we are constantly sitting in chairs in front of screens for more than 8 hours a day. You can simply work out at home by following along with some exercises from YouTube videos.


  • Try out some recipes

You don’t have to be a professional baker to have fun in the kitchen and explore some recipes. Nowadays, recipes are easily accessible with just the click of your fingers, and anybody can do it as long as they follow the recipe. As a matter of fact, during quarantine, many people began to bake more often to help cope with boredom. Baking is a calming activity that can help soothe your nerves, because it makes you put all your attention and focus only on one task. Focusing all your energy on one thing will distract you and get you away from your computer screens.


  • Clean out your closet

Nobody likes clutter. and since we are staying home because of school, putting your hands to use and cleaning will help put your mind at ease as well as make your room organized. 

Cleaning out your closet actually has many psychological benefits as it is a form of relieving stress. When the room is cluttered and out of order, the body’s level of the stress hormone cortisol increases and pushes you to feel on the edge. You can take it one step at a time and start small  with a compact dresser and then slowly work your way through, assigning small tasks one at a time instead of thinking of your whole room as one big task. It may be surprising how much better you will feel. 


  • Listen to some beats 

Technically, you are using a screen to access your music, however, this activity can be done purely through listening without looking at the screen. Listening to music has been proven to improve your mental well-being and boost physical health, which is definitely needed after listening to teachers’ lectures all day long. Dr. Anne Fabiney from Harvard Health has stated that music can aid in your schoolwork because background music while studying improves focus on a task by providing motivation and lifting up the overall mood of the room. It has been proven that music helps students with their memorization skills as a result of boosting indirect memory formation when listening to music. 


  • Take a walk with a friend

Sitting around in your room moping all day is no fun, so taking a few minutes out of your day to simply walk outside can instantly boost your overall mood. Calling up a friend to join you is added fun as you can both get your physical exercise done and socialize at the same time. Research from Harvard Medical School has found that walking increased creative output by 60 percent because while you’re walking, the activity opens up freeflow ideas and allows you to explore many possibilities. While you are walking, you are thinking as well. 


  • Volunteer at a homeless shelter in your neighborhood

Volunteering within your community is a great way to strengthen your ties to the community and broaden your support network. It fills you with a sense of purpose and belonging as you know that you have wholeheartedly helped someone out and maybe made their day a little bit easier. If you have the extra time, then volunteer to help someone out instead of staying in your house and get to know what issues lie within your neighborhood that you can provide aid to. Disclaimer: you should volunteer only when it is safe to do so or are allowed to take safety precautions. 

  • Take a bubble bath

After a long day of classes, if all you want to do is lay down and unwind, then there is no better way than taking a relaxing warm bubble bath. When you have a tense body, the hot water increases your body temperature and relieves your muscle tension. It also has multiple health benefits like improving blood circulation, lowering blood sugar and lowering blood pressure. In any event, all you really need is 20 minutes in the water and it will vastly amplify you physically and mentally. 


  • Develop a skincare routine

Routines are an important part of a student’s life as it allows them to complete day-to-day tasks that are required of them. To complete tasks that have a deadline like homework, it is crucial that you have a routine to stay productive and get your task done before that assignment is due. Adding a skincare routine helps corroborate other healthy routines such as oral hygiene, hair, and scalp routines. Developing your skincare routine doesn’t have to be high-maintenance; you primarily only need a gentle cleanser, a moisturizer, and a sunscreen. Following your skincare routine consistently will reward you with clearer, healthier skin and as a bonus, it boosts your confidence as well. 


  • Meditate 

Meditation is a natural way to practice mindfulness and you can carry that out onto your everyday life. As a matter of fact, meditating daily has been shown to have mental benefits such as improved focus which leads to better academic performance. The process of meditating is fairly straightforward: simply choose an empty location in your house to sit and practice. While practicing meditation, you should be focusing on your breathing by taking several deep breaths, channeling all the frustration you had experienced throughout the day, and blowing them away by taking a big exhale. Meditating can be challenging to various people because some find it hard to sit still and be completely silent for an extended period of time without feeling bored. However, it can also be a rewarding experience for people with busy schedules like students and gives them a sense of focus.