Fortunately — and unfortunately — this quarantine has given us the illusion of an unlimited amount of free time. It’s somewhat of a relief to have your strict schedule relaxed. However, extended time at home can turn those feelings of peace into anxiety rather quickly.
Being alone with your thoughts can be scary, and the global pandemic is cause for uncertainty. It’s also intensifying the effects of mental illnesses that people were already struggling with far before COVID-19 ever entered our minds.
Experts have been quick to recommend that we all try to continue our daily routines and maintain normalcy. Others have advised downloading the Headspace app or meditating, starting a new hobby or exercising to help with the transition. Regardless of professional opinions, we all know Netflix is one of the most powerful distractions.
Social media is rife with lists of recommendations for us to bury ourselves in as the global pandemic rages on. However, some selections can be harmful for those who feel uncertainty right now, especially for anyone experiencing heightened anxiety over our collective health and future. Regardless of what every other list has advised, here are some programs to avoid as you schedule your “quarantainment.”
Anything in the post-apocalyptic genre
It can be difficult to separate the facts of our new, strange reality from the fantasy of Hollywood’s post-apocalyptic worlds. My mother compares our current situation to the Netflix original Bird Box at least once every few days. She also considers grocery shopping to be like volunteering as a tribute in The Hunger Games. Similar films like Outbreak can plant some very unnerving scenarios into your imagination, too. If you find yourself fearing the worst-case scenario whenever you have a moment to reflect on our current state of affairs, ignore these recommendations, and avoid watching dystopian movies and shows.
Anything with a “content warning”
While much of the population is dealing with their own stresses during this time, those with diagnosed mental illness may be harmed more by the pandemic news coverage or being in their childhood homes for quarantine. Watching popular shows like 13 Reasons Why during this time of heightened stress and despair may deteriorate someone’s mental health significantly. Save it until further notice, as Netflix has included a “content warning” on the show for a reason. Other shows that are known for showing gruesome content or bodily harm, like Skins and American Horror Story, are also not totally conducive to a stay-at-home order.
Starting a new show is always a commitment, and one that may feel especially appealing right now. However, it could be beneficial to enjoy a classic or restart one of your go-to series. Satisfaction is a guarantee, and you know exactly what to expect.
Usually, starting a new show brings a temporary addiction. You choose to binge a season in 24 hours or to loyally return to the streaming platform every day to watch the next episode. Being productive in quarantine is already difficult, and the temptation to lose sleep or ignore ELMS can make balancing online classes even harder. Netflix is always just a click away, so re-watching a series you have already seen may save your schedule.
Of course, whatever you stream should be a source of relief and happiness in quarantine. If you find that a selection is doing more harm than good, there are thousands of other titles to choose from.