We never really thought that a relatively harmless hobby could turn into a severe problem; yes, addiction to binge-watching shows and streaming services is a real thing. But we do not recognize it well enough to do something about it.
How bad can it get? And where does the line ends? How much is too much? This is a hard question to decipher since this year, binge-watching, streaming is all most of us did to keep ourselves sane in the four walls that we quarantine inside. And with a new, more potent infection discovered, we believe this year will be much more strict and rigid on us altogether.
Coming back to this addiction, it all starts with realizing that you have a problem to look out for. Streaming content online has become a societal norm that there is a certain peer-pressure attached regarding the “new show in town” and the pressure to contribute to all the discussions regarding the plot, theme, character development, etc.
This peer-pressure has enabled users to go an extra mile and get access to various VPN services for tricking Hulu location and bypassing geo-restriction to stream international Netflix libraries.
But there is a well-known saying, “buzz does not always equal quality,” and we couldn’t agree more. Why do we even feel the need to hoard on numerous streaming services when one or the other is more than enough to keep us entertained.
Streaming services have thousands of movies on their catalog with new additions every month; it will take us a lifetime to get through each one of them, but here is the thing, we don’t need to watch each and every show recommendation we get.
Fear of missing out is a real thing, but not at the expense of our own mental health. It starts with us neglecting essential things like sleep and refusing to eat without a show streaming in front of us. Then we start ignoring our hunger pangs while streaming for hours, and not taking frequent bathroom breaks, resulting in UTI. and not to forget the impact it has on the people in our surroundings.
Kids are not spending quality time with their families, parents taking out work-related stress by gluing themselves to the screen rather than talking to their kids.
We don’t understand the consequences until they start affecting the people in our lives, which is when we detect the problem. Acknowledging it is the first step towards recovery. You get to know the real problem inside of you; for most people, denial is their way out of the situation altogether.
And if that is the case, then there isn’t much you can do if the person himself doesn’t want to do anything for himself.
New shows and international catalogs can be tempting, however because of content distribution policies and copyrights many titles limited to few countries or the streaming services are restricted to the USA such as HBO Max and Hulu.
But thanks to sites like ScreenBinge, for providing streaming guides to stream all your favorite TV shows and movies or even streaming services regardless of where you live.
But that does not mean we should run after them because Twitter is raving about it. Everything is excellent in moderation, as they say, “Less is more,” and so it is.
The next step is finding activities to do other than streaming on your device. This means stowing them away during your free hours and only accessing them for a strict period of time.
It is essential that you keep them away from your nightstand as well because once you start compromising your sleep, you compromise everything else.
If you have a companion, involve them in your recovery process, ask them to help you stay away from the TV at odd hours, and indulge in other activities with you, like cooking, cleaning, organizing, etc.
There are different ways to unwind from work-related stress, and it does not always have to be binge-watching shows.
Movie marathons on the weekend are fine, but on acceptable hours and with a companion, so you don’t get carried away from your progress. The rest is all about how strong your willpower is to count off the habit.
We understand the current circumstances of the world and your need to “escape” from it all, but it only goes so far as long as you don’t start compromising your health and relations around you. That is when things go downhill, and without proper treatment, it may permanently damage your mental health.
If you are an individual who “binge-watches” for a living, then it is essential to prioritize what you are consuming in the heat of the moment.
Some series can take a toll on one’s mental health for good; some set unrealistic expectations in one’s life, making them regret the countless blessings they already have in life. So always prioritize quality over quantity; you never know what may eventually bring out the best in you.
If even after numerous tries, you are unable to handle yourself and maintain a healthy routine, then things may have gone way too far for you. Starting over is an option, but you have relapsed once, you are more than capable of doing it again. And this time, strict action will save you from this misery, that is, to unsubscribe.
Stop hoarding, and let go of all the unnecessary streaming subscriptions, once and for all. If nothing works right, then detach yourself from the service that is causing you harm and disrupting your life; it is not worth it. This is the last resort for someone helpless in the hands of binge-watching.
But we do not mean to cut off all entertainment sources for yourself. Learn to enjoy cable TV in the meantime to get control over yourself. Enjoy the movie currently streaming on your cable network and switch off your TV when it ends and move on to do something different. Find a new hobby, work out, do anything but become a couch potato.
Hopefully, this will help you get back on your feet. And for those who still are in denial, a little dose of realization is the trick. Binge-watching may be the “new normal,” but an excess of everything is a liability, even if you enjoy it or are getting paid for it. It always has an after-effect that we do not think about.