Let me set the scene for you: You’re sitting on the couch or in your bed. You’ve watched countless hours of Netflix. You’re surrounded by dishes because the only thing you’ve found the motivation to get up for is empty carbs and sugar. You feel awful. You’re simultaneously exhausted and restless. You desperately need to take a shower and you have no idea what time it is. It’s not a pretty picture to paint. The familiar end-of-the-episode sounds start to play and Netflix begins counting down until it ropes you into another episode. In this 20 seconds, you have a decision to make…you could mindlessly click “next episode” and continue your life as a hermit OR you could turn off the screen. Slam your laptop shut or go searching for that remote that’s stuck somewhere between a couch cushion and a box of Oreos. Because you know the moment that next episode starts, its all over. Who knows when you’ll next get the urge to turn it off.
Let’s take a step back here for a moment, because just writing this is making me feel sad and bleh. The thing is, maybe you had a long week or you’re exhausted and so maybe you did deserve the first couple episodes. But beyond that, you are just reversing the effects that relaxing in front of the TV were supposed to have. I don’t know anyone who feels refreshed and renewed after binge-watching 6 hours of Friends. You start to feel like shit, you smell like shit, you eat like shit, and any ounce of motivation you may have once had goes to shit. Okay, so now let’s get you out of this slump. (Just so you know, this is basically just me talking to my future self, so if I come across as an asshole it’s only because I’m fed up with my own shit).
Okay, so you’re sitting there, ten seconds left on the countdown, and you’ve got this internal debate going on. One voice saying “just ONE more episode” and the other one calling bullshit. The only advice to give you here is…to SHUT IT OFF!
…you may be thinking well no shit, but I mean…that’s the only thing to do… might sound a little crazy here but what I always do is take action before my brain can catch up. Before that toxic voice that’s kept you in this cocoon of self-loathing get’s a little too loud and you need to call upon your will power which was sucked out of you a few “one more episode”s ago.
So, you’ve shut it off. Your screen goes black and your laptop is closed…now, watch yourself reach for your phone. When this is your next urge, you gotta do what you gotta do to keep it out of your reach. Turn it off, silence it, shove it under your pillow or in between the couch cushions (but don’t forget where you put it!). Do this ASAP before you instinctively open up Instagram and start scrolling, because 45 minutes will go by and we’ll be right back in the same place. Not gonna lie, I just picked up my phone after writing that sentence and started scrolling through Instagram. 🙄 It’s an addiction! It’s a horrible habit and more often than not it’s our way of taking ourselves out of the present moment and into the lives of others because that’s the easier thing to do.
So anyways, you’ve turned off Netflix and separated yourself from your fifth appendage that is your cell phone. The next thing to do is move your body. I’m not telling you to go for a run or to a hot yoga class…we’re not quite there yet. All you need to do is maybe some reclined twists (which always feel amazing if you’ve been lying down for too long), maybe stretch you’re legs up overhead, maybe do a couple of sit ups, or if you’re feeling extra motivated now, get up and do some push ups or some body squats. The idea is to get your blood flowing and bring your attention back to your body.
So you’ve stretched out your bedsores, maybe made sure your muscles haven’t completely atrophied, and raised your heart beat just a tiny bit. Now I want you to go cleanse yourself in some way. Take a shower, brush your teeth, wash your face…whatever you gotta do. And change your clothes! Jeans may be out of the question, but maybe some athleisure-type stuff. Something that makes you feel good and put together, but that’s a step up from a baggy t-shirt and no pants.
Next step is to drink a big ass glass of water. This will counteract all the salty, sugary carb-filled things you may have eaten today. When I’m feeling off, the first thing I try to do is drink as much water as I can, because as you may know water fixes everything. While you’re drinking this glass of water I want you to sit down and write 5 things you could do right now instead of watching Netflix. It can be doing something creative or just calling up a friend. Maybe you give yourself a facial or paint your nails. Maybe now you’ve mustered up the energy to go work out or go to the grocery store. I tend to go on a cleaning frenzy when I get myself out of one of these states. Maybe identify what it is that you may have been avoiding by watching TV. Lately for me, it’s been studying for the GRE. Even though I’ve generally created the mindset that studying for the GRE is getting me one step closer to my dream job, I still go through waves of having absolutely no desire to study. And when I feel this way, my mind goes straight to “I’m just going to watch one episode and then I’ll start studying.” I think this may sound familiar to a lot of people.
Now, if you have this list of things you could be doing instead, I want you to take a minute before you start half-adding them (and then likely convincing yourself that you deserve another episode) to just imagine that they’re already done. Imagine how it would feel to have completed a really great workout or to have a fully-stocked fridge for the week ahead of you. Imagine how much more clear-minded you’d be if the space around you was clean and nicely organized. Imagine how accomplished you would feel if you knocked out a chapter of studying or finally finished that painting you’ve been working on (this is me talking directly to my future self here). Imagine how rested you’d feel after giving yourself and your body a little attention.
Now that you’ve imagined these feelings, maybe you actually start to feel them! You get excited and filled with energy or relaxed and connected with your body. Whatever it is that you’re feeling, know that it’s a million times better than the way you’d feel after “just one more episode.”
Now go get shit done.