Netflix! The place to stream amazing tv shows and movies, and also known as the world's best wingman and anti-boredom activity.
I found myself endlessly watching (and re-watching) multiple seasons of shows at 4 to 8 hours at a time, and decided to break the bad habit of mindless binging. I took this as a challenge to disconnect from media and reconnect with my inner self.
As an act of self-care, I disabled my Netflix account and here are some honest things that happened during my 3-week hiatus.
1) I found myself incredibly bored. I never realized how much I used watching TV as an emotional crutch to veg out and relax after a long day. I would eat meals while watching shows and it would be my go-to activity of choice because it was so easily available.
When I stopped my subscription, I almost didn't know what to do with myself. I found myself puttering around the house the first couple of days anxious to find new activities to fill the void once previously occupied by reruns of The Office or The Walking Dead.
2) I had to use brute force.
I was so tempted to turn on my TV that I had to physically unplug my monitor and lock the remote away in a cupboard.
I always knew I enjoyed television, but realizing my addiction-type behaviour revealed just how much my unhealthy habit had spiralled out of control. Watching television should be a luxury, not a dependency for health and happiness.
3) I ate better.
This is where I recognized habit-pairing. Most of my unhealthy snacking habits happened while I was in front of the television. Even if I was not hungry, my brain and stomach were programmed to snack and eat while I was watching shows. I always had to have a bag of popcorn, chips, or candy to munch on.
When I cancelled Netflix, my snacking decreased significantly. I even found myself not purchasing packaged goods at the grocery store because my new habits like exercise, going for walks, or reading didn't really need snacks. Talk about saving money AND eating less calories (double win)!
4) I learned to make better use of my time.
With all the new time freed up, I found myself gravitating to new positive activities and habits like cooking more, exercising, calling my loved ones, reading, and actually seeking creative date ideas with my significant other.
The extra time helped me learn new things, build my relationships, and work on my physical fitness.
Although now I do have Netflix up and running again, this experience taught me to use my time more intentionally. We can still enjoy shows and movies in moderation, but it gets dangerous when it becomes an addiction. Something as trivial as watching shows can take away time that can be better used to help us learn, grow, and become our best selves.
Whether it is your TV, laptop, or phone, let us not get distracted from the things that truly matter, turn off our screens more often, and actually live our lives!
Have you ever tried something like this before and cut yourself off from something ingrained in your life cold turkey? Feel free to contact me here and I'd love to hear about your experience!