It’s confession time: despite extra free time in the evenings, I haven’t blogged much this month because I’ve rediscovered the TV habit and I’ve been binge-watching various series. First I devoured both seasons of Orange Is The New Black and now I am sprinting through all five seasons of Breaking Bad. The addiction has gotten bad enough that I’ve been suffering from sleep deprivation during the day, yet that still won’t stop me from staying up late to watch one or two episodes at night. NOT good.
I should be getting to bed earlier. And in the one to two newfound hours that I do have free each night, I should darn well be doing something more positive and productive than watching TV – like blogging, taking the dog for an evening walk around the neighborhood or heck, even reconnecting with my beloved husband (and that may or may not be a euphemism). But I’m not… because it’s the end of the day, I’m tired, and I just want to veg out and relax and do nothing while mindlessly watching entertaining shows.
But here’s the deal – because it had been four years (give or take) since I last had a serious TV watching habit, I can tell you some disturbing facts I’ve observed about this little rediscovered screen addiction. Prior to The Great Transition, when I was still lying down with Zoe every night until she fell asleep, I would snuggle beside her in the dark and read my Kindle. I did that for four years and seriously got my read on – I read probably hundreds of books. It was great having such an active reading habit – I loved it! And I loved that while I was reading, if I got tired, my eyes would simply start to close and I would either put down the Kindle or just fall asleep reading it. No big deal either way.
But the insidious thing about TV, at least in my experience, is that it tricks the brain. When reading a book, even an e-book on Kindle, if I get tired, I’ll start to fall asleep, no matter how good the book is. But with TV or other screen activities (like video games or Facebooking into the night), the brightly-lit screen tricks one’s brain into staying awake longer. Even if I’m really tired, I won’t find myself falling asleep right away. I’ll just stay up way past what is healthy for me – and way later than I should. And then, worst of all, I’ll often find myself having trouble falling asleep once I actually do turn off the TV and go to bed. It’s a nightmare.
In so many ways, I’m a huge fan of listening to my body and doing what is best for it. So WHY am I being such an obstinate little addict when it comes to my TV habit these days? I think because I know these shows are fleeting and temporary – soon I will have finished Breaking Bad and I will force myself to take a break at that time. I really want to have more of a balance between occasional TV nights, frequent reading nights, and maybe even some nights when I do the things I know I should like go for a walk with Autumn or blog. Better yet, how about finding a TV show or movie that both E and I like, and enjoying it together?
These are some of my goals for the rest of 2014. I’ve got to get a handle on this destructive solo binge-watching habit. It’s not doing me any favors.
How about you – do you find TV, or certain shows, as addictive as I do? How do you force yourself to rein it in and have a better balance in your free time? As always, I’d love to hear in the comments below.