Confession: I am a recovering reality TV junkie.
I’m not kidding. I couldn’t pull myself away from the Real Housewives, the Kardashian clan and Honey Boo Boo. And those three are just a sampling of what kind of TV I would consume on a daily basis. These kind of shows l-i-t-e-r-a-l-l-y sucked me in. I could not stop watching the scripted realities of people I had no relation or things in common to.
It became a huge problem. Especially since I work at home.
I would have the television on for hours on end with the reality chatter in the background while I was writing, editing and producing. Naturally, it distracted me and interfered with my concentration.
Cable TV is like candy…most of it is full of crap and it makes you tired, lazy and left with an icky feeling in your stomach. At least for me. I thought I could control my intake, but the more I watched, the more I craved it…needed the “tune out”…and put other things on hold while I watched TV.
After endless discussions with my husband if we could “survive” (oh brother) we pulled the plug on my beloved addiction late last year.
At first, it was embarrassingly hard for me. I scoured the Internet for my drug, looking for free online versions of my long-lost favorite shows. No luck. And after a week or so…I forgot about it…for the most part…
My production level increased, there were many more thought-provoking conversations with the husband, my ‘to-do’ list gets checked off quicker, and such a novel idea here…I started reading more again. I missed that. Reading feeds me and as a writer, is so important to keep the creative juices free flowing!
Now, when I work from home, I turn on what I call “brain fuel” — a spa music station on Pandora. It is the relaxing, easy-breezy tunes that calms yet stimulates your heart and mind. I LOVE this now. I crave it! I know there is more of an increase in my productivity when I’m listening to this and working.
For some time, the evenings were a different story. I was so used to becoming a couch zombie and vegging out to Bravo at night I almost felt like I had lost a friend. Super sad and weird, I know. But…I then re-discovered the magic of sitcoms! I am a huge comedy person and grew up watching Friends, Seinfeld, Cheers and the like. It feels almost nostalgic to get back to that. It gives me the warm fuzzies of relaxing with family.
And…I made a first discovery of PBS! OK…I was a Sesame Street nut when I was little…but it has taken me some time to get back to the magic of public television! The programming on that network is genius. First of all, Downtown Abbey is phenomenal, I didn’t need to tell you that…and I adore the Ken Burns specials and American Masters and pretty much everything else! It actually seems to feed my mind instead of taking away from it.
Now that a few months have passed, I feel lighter. Like I’m breathing cleaner air. I no longer feel a strong pull to get my fix. I feel like I got rid of something to gain more…a repurposing of relaxation in my life and more steadiness and connection to my heart-thoughts. And not to mention: I’m saving some serious cash! Who doesn’t love that?
This is a touchy subject for a lot of folks. We all have some sort of connection to TV and how we “relax” with it. Now…I’m not going to start a “say no to cable” revolution (right now)…start to see if it is taking over bits of your life, either big or small. Maybe making subtle changes right away will work for you (i.e.: setting boundaries of when you watch or what you watch). Or, maybe you do need to pull the plug like me. Either way…I know you can do it…and you may be surprised at the balance you feel when you do!