So whenever, if ever, someone asked me about my hobbies or how I spend my free time, my automatic response is ‘Netflix’. I don’t say this out loud so quickly though because I don’t want to come off as someone lazy or wasteful. That’s the perception, but I honestly don’t think it to be lazy or wasteful. I’m very involved when watching shows and my mind is ticking and thinking as I’m processing the information presented to me. Still, people don’t get that so I give the more acceptable answer like ‘exercising’ or ‘cooking (booorrinnggg). I am however trying to offer insight into how us Netflix watchers are actually doing a lot more during and after a series binge, and it is beneficial for us. Indulge me please….
Before I decide I want to get stuck on a series, I do a lot of browsing and searching beforehand. I ask myself ‘How am I feeling today, what are my moods like?’, ‘Do/will I have time to commit?’, ‘Is there a genre in particular that I can benefit from?’, ‘Am I feeling adventurous?’….questions like that, and from there I narrow down my search. Seems like a lot of work for just a show but I (and you should) take my Netflix watching seriously. If I’m going to give my time up for this, it better be worth my while and is able to aid me in some way or another.
For example, if I’m going through a hard time on a particular day, I might pick a show that talks about healing or growth, or something to cheer me up or inspire me (e.g.: Queer Eye, Magic for Humans, Great British Bake Off). If I’m bored and could benefit from some distraction, I’m going to pick something ‘mindless’ and easy to follow, can play in the background and still keep up with the story (e.g.: Friends, Brooklyn 99, Love Island). If I’m keen to learn a new language or see acting and filming from a different country/culture, then I’ll watch a Korean or Spanish show (e.g.: Itaewon Class, Money Heist). Whatever it is, there often is something available on the site, so long as you’re able to check and be honest with yourself on what would benefit you at that particular time and specify your search from it. This Buzzfeed test kind of helps with the process of discovery (https://www.buzzfeed.com/sarahaspler/netflix-show-recommendation-quiz). I think just from this, you’re already doing some self awareness/reflection on your current state of self and mind-which is so good! It’s not something that a lot of people do often enough, but it’s actually so useful and important. Checking on how you’re feeling (honest conversations with yourself) I think is a recipe to winning in life; people should do this more often, it could probably make us all more considerate human beings.
So once you’ve picked your show, you’ve got your day/night set up for it and you’re ready to deep dive into it, what do you do once you’re all done? Have you seen those memes about how meaningless life can be once the show you’ve been binging is over? Yeah, it can definitely feel like that sometimes! As an avid series watcher, I have had many ‘hollow’ moments post-series, and that’s what gave me the idea to do this article. It’s to make the post viewing part meaningful and worth it, so you’re able to make the hours given count, and also further live out and process what you’ve just experienced and been through.
What to do after binging a series!
1.) Do a Google search on the show
I often find learning more about the show helps me understand bits and pieces that I may have missed from my own perspective of things. Find out more about the cast, what other shows have they acted in (maybe those are things worth watching later on). Watch behind the scenes and interviews, try to relive the experience but from a different point of view. You can learn so much from an internet deep dive and some of it may be better or more informational than the actual show.
2.) Find the original version
If the show is based on a book or from an older movie or from a real life story, get to know that material too. So many of the shows I watch are actually based on true events. I went nuts learning more about serial killers after watching Mind Hunter. It led me down a rabbit hole of other Docu-series from Netflix that I never knew existed! I had no idea ‘You’ was based on a book! My friend lent me her copy and reading and comparing the material to the show was surreal. I like knowing what the original is because then I can decide for myself if the perspective the show makers decided to go with actually covers the whole story or only parts of it. I like knowing all sides and finding the original helps with that.
3.) Talk to someone about the show
I honestly think that this is one of the few things I almost need to do after a series binge. Too many thoughts and emotions to process on my own, so getting it out in words to someone helps with managing the high from the binge. Facebook groups are great too, people on there are often up for a chat or to show some form of support and appreciation for what you’ve just endeavoured. It sounds crazy sometimes but it can really take a hold of you and make you feel all kinds of things. I’ve been emotional, angry, freaked out and ecstatic after a show binge, and I need an outlet to deal with those emotions. It’s okay to feel things; these shows are designed to hit us a certain way and sometimes it works a little too well and we can get really wrapped up in it. Instead of blowing it off or pretending it didn’t happen, deal with it. If it’s deep and you need proper processing time, bring it up in therapy. I relate to shows and characters a lot and use them as a point of reference during my therapy sessions. These characters almost become a part of your life for a period of time, so it’s only natural to want to talk about them so you can properly move on as you work your way back into reality.
4.) Learn from the story
I love a good murder mystery show, that’s my sweet spot. I love solving riddles and trying to figure out who’s the culprit as the show goes. But once the show ends and the bad guy is caught and everything is sorted, where do I go from there? There are a lot of underlying messages and lessons that these shows present to us, however perceptive we are of it. I choose to reflect on what quotes or scenes gripped me the most and pick a lesson out of it. I can’t begin to list how many times I’ve had to pause while watching a show to be like “Wow, that’s a great line, I need to remember that” or just relating to a character or the story. I binged ‘The Vanishing At Cecil Hotel’ in a day and it scared me big time; not because it had a general freaky aura to it, but because I realised how fragile and short life can be, and how I need to appreciate people and myself more. Just a simple but profound lesson take away. Find a lesson from each show to make the time watching count, you can grow so much without even realising it.
5. Show some love
Once you’re done, do your due diligence and give feedback where needed. ‘Like’ or ‘List’ the show so Netflix knows you’re vibing with that particular series. Show the series some love on social media through tags and likes. It has given you its best through hours of filming, tell them it was worth it and you appreciate the effort and talent. Recommend the show to others if you think they’d benefit from it. Shows grow because of us, so if it meant something to you, let other people know.
I think ultimately what I’m hoping to achieve from you reading this is-don’t feel like you’re wasting your time watching Netflix. Don’t let people talk you down or make you out to feel like you’ve got nothing better to do with your life. You’re doing a lot more than you realize. Indulge and allow yourself your own way of enjoyment and growth. Make the hours put in count and evolve in your own way from them. Enjoy your next binges, I hope they’re good ones!
A from The Happiness Equation
-and J to remind you to make sure you take breaks during binges and take care of your eyes in the process of doing so!