Do you ever have times where your own life gets so overwhelming your body’s only response is to get sick? Yeah, well that happened this week. Tuesday morning I went for a walk with a friend in the somewhat freezing rain and when I came home I was chilled to the bone. I figured it was just payment for my own stupidity (see aforementioned freezing rain) but it never really went away. I spent much of the day on the couch then had to drag myself out to coach baseball that night.
I was buoyed a little by our boys’ stellar performance Tuesday night, but then I woke Wednesday with the same foggy-head and freezing lethargy that came over Tuesday. I got a few things done in the morning but then I realized I was having trouble even putting sentences together so I took to my couch with some hot decaf and the iPad.
Sometimes this happens. It’s just all too much and my brain and body shut down for 24-48 hours. At first I always try to slog through it but I usually realize mid-day that I’m making no sense in half of what I say or do or write. When you’re shivering and nearly falling asleep, it’s hard to speak or write intelligently. My answer to this dilemma? Shut off the computer and turn on On Demand. I used to read books to escape and while I still read a lot, I find that on days like yesterday, when I’m tired to the point of numbness, even reading magazines is too much. So, I find a Netflix or Showtime series I haven’t watched before and I hit play, for as many hours as I can stomach it.
About six months ago it was 4 straight seasons of Mad Men. Yesterday, it was Nurse Jackie. I know, I know, I’m about five years late to these parties, but it’s because I don’t normally have time for regularly scheduled television. If I’m not with a series from day one, I’m not with a series until I need something on a sick day.
And then? Well, watch out because I watch with a vengeance.
Nurse Jackie is only a 1/2 hour show so I gobbled up the entire first 5 seasons in about 2 days. I’m like a television binge eater. I devour programs with such force that there is little room for anything else. It helped that I loved every second of this show. It manages to be both compelling and hilarious at the same time. It is strange to find yourself rooting for the drug addict and not the dreamy husband, and yet that’s exactly what I was doing. Throw in a sarcastic Brit as a best friend and the goofiest collection of nurses ever thought of and this show is gold. As always, I got so into the show and it’s characters, I dreamed about them last night and today I’m feeling a void because I won’t have them in my life until the next time I have a meltdown and need 8 straight hours of television therapy. This is the way it goes. I need a break from my own life so I fully immerse myself in fictional people’s lives for a bit. It’s always short-lived and after the initial withdrawal, I’m always ready to go, full-speed ahead, back into my own world again.
I guess of all mental health vices, this isn’t so bad. I could binge eat for two days or disappear to some bar for 48 hours and stagger home drunk. There is a mild-hangover from television bingeing, but it’s short-lived and is only mentally painful-no headaches or stomach upset involved.
I’m back on the team today-ready for clients in the morning writing and baking/cooking for school and neighbor dinners this evening. It’s a jam-packed day. And somehow I’ll get through it without Jackie, O’Hara or Zoe. I’m not sure how, but I know I can survive without my fictional friends.
What are your reset options or the vices you may have to escape the stressors of real life? Share them with us. I might need a new idea or at least a new show for next time.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.