Here we go again – another 7 day challenge! Last month I went a week long social media diet, which taught me a lot more than I even thought it would. I saw how much more productive I was without social media so I decided to give up something that took up most of my day, Netflix.
Netflix and Youtube are my goes to’s in times of boredom. I want to train myself to rely on the streaming sites a little less. I also want to see if I will learn as much as I did when I took a break from social media.
Rules of the challenge. I am not allowed to watch any streaming online video content. That means no Netflix, Amazon Prime video, Youtube or any online streaming platform for a full 7 days. I am also not allowed to watch any television except for the news (only at the gym or if someone else is watching it).
I am going to be writing down my experience through out the process. If you are going to read anything at least read the food for thoughts from each day and make sure to read the conclusion. Those should be filled with the main lessons and takeaways.
Day 0 – Pre-Challenge thoughts
I’m anxious and not in a good way. No. I’m dreading this as of now. I am sitting here wondering why I ever thought about doing this in the first place.
I knew the social media diet I went on was going to be bad. This one is going to be worse, I can feel it. I have no idea how it’s going to effect me. Or if it is going to have any effects at all. All I know is that I will be really bored. I don’t even know if I can do this.
In order to “prepare” for this challenge I spent all of yesterday watching movies and TV shows. Now that I think about it that was probably a horrendous idea.
I’m not ready to be bored out of my mind. On the flip side, I am excited to be more productive.
Day 1 – Productive AF
7:00 PM – I am home from work, the gym, and done eating dinner. I have no idea what to do with myself. I am dreading this so much, it is giving me more anxiety. I’m actually afraid of how board I am going to be.
9:00 PM – This is the most productive I have ever been on a weekday night. It is kind of ridiculous. I’ve never gotten everything on my do-to list done. I always carry over at least three or fours things but BAM I finished.
I still hear the call of my bed and Netflix but it wasn’t too hard to ignore them.
Food for thought. Why was I so anxious about being without Netflix? Do I really need it and rely on it psychologically?
day 2 – ALMOst gave up
5:00 AM – I had a nightmare. I was at the top of a staircase and there was an evil girl at the bottom, think The Ring, who was suddenly grabbed my ankles. I woke up at that moment. It was still dark outside and I was terrified.
I haven’t had a nightmare in a long time. I wonder if it has to do with this challenge? In these times I would usually pull up a funny show on Netflix for some background noise to help me back to sleep. I was really close to giving up for my own sanity. Fortunately, I was able to reason with myself mentally saying it was just a dream.
8:00 PM – I just spent the last 2 hours trying to figure out what went wrong with my blog. My WordPress dashboard would not load. All I was getting was a blank screen. To a blogger this is complete Armageddon and my world was falling apart around me, or at least that’s how I felt.
I thought I had lost everything. Hours and hours of writing and editing lost. I could feel the stress gripping my chest. My thoughts were racing a mile a minute. There were knots in my stomach so tight that I felt like I needed to throw up.
In order to calm myself down, I was going to walk away from my computer and figure it out with a fresh mind tomorrow. Right when I started to relax, I start to panic again when I realized I couldn’t unwind with Netflix.
Forget the challenge, I thought (except with a different F-word), I can’t do this. I need Netflix right now – how am I going to calm down?
Surprisingly I have more will power than I thought. Or I was so nervous that I had lost all of my hard work I had to solve my problem and I did. Thank god for internet, google, and fantastic people on WordPress forums.
Food for thought. Through this minor meltdown I realized I rely on Netflix or Youtube as a form of escape from the realities and stresses of the world. Is this a healthy way of releasing stress? Or is it just another form of running away from problems?
day 3 – Good conversation
Today I had planned to read some books that I have been neglecting. I have a bad habit of starting books, getting super into them, and then never finishing. But that id not go according to plan.
When I got home I ate dinner with my parents as usual but something happened. We talked. I spent most of my evening talking to my parents. Our conversation lasted a few hours bouncing around from topic to topic.
I noticed the same thing happen yesterday too. Before my blog decided to malfunction on me, my best friend and I were talking. Usually I’m not in the mood to talk after work and just want to sit around doing nothing. But because I didn’t have netflix, I really wanted to talk.
I wanted to be more engaged and social.
9:30 PM – I sat in my own boredom. I realized that it was the first time in a long time that I was bored. It was the weirdest feeling in the world. I can’t even remember the last time I just sat there with nothing to do, in my own thoughts.
Food for thought. How has not ever being bored shaped/changed me? Has it affected me in any way? Have I always been missing out on communicating with people and having great conversations because I have a compulsive need to binge watch Netflix?
Day 4 – Going out with friends
I haven’t “gone out” drinking and dancing with friends in a while. Right after I graduated college I used to go out every weekend. Now a days, I want to just stay at home, cuddle in bed watching Netflix. This challenge is not allowing me to do that so I took my friends up on the offer immediately.
Without Netflix or anything to do I know I need something to keep me occupied. I actually ended up having a blast. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. I was able to let loose and dance the night away.
Food for thought. How much more social would I be if I didn’t have Netflix? Would I always be going out since I don’t have another form of entertainment? Would I try to fill my schedule with social obligations to pass the time? Or would I be comfortable being bored?
Day 5 – I failed the challenge
Okay I gave in and watched Netflix today. As amazing as going out was with my friends, my body is no longer built for alcohol – aka – I was extremely hungover. So hungover, that I had a pounding headache during my hair consultation. After I got back home from the consultation I just laid in bed. Thank god for thick curtains that blocked out all sun from coming into my room.
Forgive me for my mental weakness but I felt horrible. I needed a distraction from the pain so I pulled up a comedy show and just mindlessly watched.
Food for thought. Maybe I shouldn’t have drank so much tequila the night before. I do use Netflix and online streaming services to entertain me in times that I need a break or a distraction. I don’t think there was any other way to pass the time while hungover, is there?
Day 6 – back to it
Going from watching stuff to not watching anything again was difficult. I wasn’t allowed to watch the Oscars or the red carpet which are my guilty pleasures. I love award season! It is one of my favorite times of the year.
Since I was not able to I was super productive again. I went to my favorite local coffee shop and then to the gym. After that I came home and did more work on the blog. Nothing exciting but it is crazy how much you can get done.
Food for thought. Is it because we are lazy that we procrastinate and watch Netflix? Or is it Netflix and TV that make us lazier since we have something that can easily occupy our minds?
Day 7 – Last Day
Today wasn’t so bad since I had gone to work and the gym. I wasn’t planning to gym because my body is ridiculously sore but I knew that I needed something to do to occupy my time.
I was surprised to find that I didn’t try to find another form of entertainment like reading a book or going on social media (not more than normal) or coloring in my adult coloring book, I just ended up being productive. My mind instantly went to working on the blog and towards my goals instead of other things.
No food for thought today, skip to the conclusion below.
This challenge was surprisingly easier than my 7 day social media diet. Other than the slight hiccup on Day 5, it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. My brain was able to find other ways to keep itself occupied.
One of the major things I noticed is that I forgot what it was like to be truly bored. We are all ‘bored’ so we scroll through social media or through articles on the internet but our brains are occupied 24/7. I had not sat in silence doing nothing, and having nothing to do. Truly bored. It honestly felt refreshing to sit in my own nothingness.
I’m sure many of you, like me, have said no to going out with a bunch of friends on a Friday or Saturday night just to stay in. We want to cuddle in bed with a nice show or movie. I thought that I didn’t want to go because I was lazy and tired but I was wrong.
I didn’t want to be social because I had something else ‘to-do’. Netflix was my easy ‘out’ or ‘excuse’ to not go out. The minute that Netflix was taken away from me, the more willing I was to hang out and have something else to do.
It’s not even just exclusive to hanging out with friends. When I didn’t have the unconscious pull of a TV show or movie waiting for me after dinner, I was more willing to talk. I spent more time after I done eating talking to my parents. There was more active listening and engagement in my conversations. I didn’t feel the need to quickly get up and go to my room.
The worst thing that I noticed is that Netflix has become a habit. I rely on it emotionally to relieve my stress and anxiety. Netflix and other streamable content is easily consumable entertainment that my brain is now wired to want all the time. It has been enabling me to be unproductive. I now need constant background noise.
The big take away here is that we should all try to rely a little less on Netflix, Youtube, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video. We don’t need it in our lives. Once we take some time off from watching stuff online, we have more time and free mental space to engage with people.
Now it’s your turn to take the challenge to go 7 days Netflix free!
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