I’m going to start by saying that I love Netflix. I really do. But I have a serious bone to pick with it.
Since signing up over a year ago after moving interstate, I became a Netflix addict. To the point where it really affected some important aspects of my life.
Netflix was my back up for everything. Cancelled plans? more Netflix. Dodgy weather? I’ll just stay home and re-watch Gilmore Girls for the millionth time.
Feeling flat was okay too, because I always knew I had episodes of Designated Survivor, Sons of Anarchy and Pretty Little Liars to catch up on.
I stopped going outside. I stopped socialising with the few friends I’d made in my new city. I became almost lifeless. Heck, I even stopped exercising. That alone was a huge red flag.
But at first, I didn’t think Netflix was the cause. I was quick to blame my homesickness and the cold weather, but not once did I think my new sedentary lifestyle could be the problem.
So, about a month ago, I did the unthinkable.
I cancelled my Netflix account.
I know. It’s a big deal. And it’s something I was reluctant to admit to my friends and colleagues.
Mainly because I wanted to avoid the ‘but what about the new series of 13 Reasons Why that is dropping soon?!’, and ‘don’t you miss binge-watching Gilmore Girls?’ comments.
The truth is yes, I did miss it for the first few weeks. But they say it takes 21 days to break a habit, and I’m well and truly past that point.
“So…what do you do if you don’t watch Netflix anymore?” my housemate asked when I informed her of my decision.
“Well, lots of things,” I told her.
I sleep more, which should be a huge plus for anyone, and my quality of sleep has improved out of sight.
Now this could be because I’m just so damn tired all the time (more than likely), but I’m going to put it down to having less screen time when I get home at night, resulting in a much more consistent sleep pattern.
The Out Loud crew discuss why the ‘Non Zero Day’ rule is changing lives. Post continues after audio…
Working in digital media means I’m already in front of a screen for eight hours a day, sometimes more, so going home after work to have even more screen time is a little problematic. For me anyway.
Something else I’ve experienced during my month without Netflix is the abundance of time I have to read. And as a writer who’s struggled with writer’s block in the past, giving up Netflix was honestly the best thing I could’ve done.
Now my ideas flow freely, my mental clarity has improved, and overall I feel much more ‘present’ in my daily life.
I've also regained my motivation to exercise. I've always been an active person, and with my new-found free time I'm going for more walks, spending entire days at the beach, and just enjoying being outside.
Basically, I just crave any moment where I don't have a screen in my face.
To further prove that my Netflix detox was a success, I reconnected my account for a week. Within that week, I immediately noticed a difference in my quality of sleep and the amount of sleep I was having. And to be honest, overall I just felt shitty.
Now, I could probably enforce a little bit of self control when it comes to how much Netflix I watch. But ain't nobody got time for that, really.
I'm in no way encouraging anyone to give up Netflix, but I think it's important to be aware of how much screen time we're having and make sure we're balancing out that screen time with plenty of other things.
And you know what? A short hiatus from Netflix could be exactly what we need every now and then anyway.
But you can make up your own mind about that one.