The Surprising Advantage of Not Having a TV

Since I’ve moved to Spain I haven’t had a TV and its had a surprisingly positive effect of my health. I always knew that watching TV wasn’t the best kind of rest that you can get. But I always justified my couple of hours of watching TV after lunch as a way to make the rest I needed to take more enjoyable. I was well aware that on a not so good day I felt more rested after spending the time quietly reading a trashy novel, and on a really bad day it was always better to have a proper lie down in bed with no stimulation at all (even if I didn’t actually fall to sleep). But I guess I didn’t really realise how little refreshment TV provided.

My routine here has changed without TV. Weather permitting (which it does 90% of the time) I eat all my meals outside on my terrace. I sit peacefully listening to the sounds of nature: the birdsong; the frogs and toads in the nearby ‘alberca’ (small pool kept to store water for irrigation); the crickets in the evening; the tinkling of the cowbells on the other side of the valley and the sound of the water streaming down the gorge way below me. I feast my eyes on the beauty of my view: of the green and dramatic slopes of this beautiful valley. All this easily distracts me from my busy thoughts and I manage to spend some time just being! If I need entertainment the swifts and the martins often put on an aerial display, and when I’m really lucky a booted eagle will put in an appearance. This kind of peace at meals times is incredibly restorative and along with the fact that my other form of rest now involves reading an easy novel, I’ve found I actually need a little less rest in my day. I can do a bit more and get less tired!

I know I’m extremely lucky and not everybody has an amazing view or is surrounded by an abundance of nature. And though I understand the need to make rest more enjoyable and to perhaps compromise slightly on its quality to avoid boredom, I would totally recommend taking just a little more time just peacefully sitting and being. Find something in the environment to watch or listen to that gives you pleasure. It’s made such a difference to my energy!

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