Self Care for TV Junkies
Taking care of yourself is important. It’s even more important if you’re an avid media consumer. Or a woman. Or a woman of color. Television is a way for us to escape the chaos of daily routines and worsening realities but it can also be a hidden burden that we unknowingly carry.
Well-written characters are like drugs. They’re addictive. We crave them, wanting more and more. We want for their happiness, we cry with them, we laugh, we even get second-hand embarrassment. Sometimes we can get so attached to a character that when terrible things happen to them, they feel like they happen to us as well.
A loved one’s death, an untimely breakup, a best friend moving away, getting passed up for another well-deserved promotion. These are popular story lines that mirror common real life events and that might be exactly why you’re so affected as a viewer.
In the back of your mind, you’re probably thinking of similar situations you’ve experienced in your own life but what happens when lighthearted sitcoms/dramas start to leave your heart heavier than before?
TV addicts just like me aren’t going to like this but the only choice you have is to stop tuning in.
Yes I said it, stop watching the show.
This is not quite a suggestion but a stern warning to protect your mind, body and heart from what is being projected on screen.
Here are some steps to take care of yourself how and why you should quit watching TV (for now) while you’re ahead.
1. Turn It Off, Take a Break
Everyone needs a break. TV can be too much at times. You may not be emotionally ready to watch a new episode next week. DVR’s are perfect for situations like this. Take your time processing what’s happened and your reaction to it. Don’t worry, that show will be waiting for you to return when you are ready. But only when you’re ready.
2. Use Other Fans to Cope
Every show has a following comprised of countless talented fans. The sum of these fans is called a fandom which is a special society woven around a particular TV show. Lean on these people. They know exactly how you're feeling and it will help venting to someone that understands. The internet has given us many beautiful things and among them are internet friends so use this resource to your advantage. Easiest place to find your fandom? Tumblr.
3. Rewind to Happier Times
This may be hard to remember as you recall your favorite character shedding more tears than a rain shower. But for every tear, there is a smile. Re-watch your favorites scenes. The funnier, the better, just belt out the most infamous lines you have memorized. Check out fan-made videos on YouTube. Read fiction about them. Write fiction about them. Looking back on happier times will help you on your way to finding your own happiness in the process. Repeat this step as many times as you need to. Be kind to yourself, it might take a while for your smile to resurface.
4. Press Play Again
If you’re able to see that character you love without sobs racking your body, you’re ready to press play again. You have taken the time you need to separate yourself and heal. Now, you can ease back into viewing episodes slowly with the knowledge that you might need to take a break again sometime soon, depending on how your fave is treated onscreen. Next time you will have a system of steps in place designed specifically for you.
You may be wondering if I have used these self-care tips as a TV addict myself. It was only after the tragic second death of The Vampire Diaries’ Bonnie Bennett that I noticed how her death managed to change every aspect my life. It was as if I suffered a personal loss. I neglected basic responsibilities and relationships with my loved one’s were strained. They couldn’t reach me but these tips helped me gain back my control so I could get back to loving television.
I hope they help you or someone you know, get back to enjoying TV too.