Going Dark. Entertainment Detox

You are probably reading,watching and listening to media you don't really care about. Maybe it is time to stop?

We are all told we need to detox, detox from meat, from processed food and from fun. But what about Entertainment? Books, movies, TV, videogames, the internet and magazines all vie for our attention all day long.

This doesn't leave much time to just think. To sit back on the couch and get bored. We know that boredom can help fuel creativity.

So what to do about it?

Hypothesis

By having a weekend away from any of my normal forms of entertainment it will be much easier to get a clearer picture of what these habits and consumption has on mental health and well being.

Method

Cut out the following forms of entertainment.

  • Internet
  • Creating/reading comics
  • Books
  • Music
  • Smartphone
  • Video games
  • TV
  • Movies

Note: This will be different for everyone. The idea is to cut out your most used forms of media.

What would I do? I wasn't sure but I was willing to burn a weekend to find out.

Result

48 hours didn't seem that hard. Surprisingly I missed Comics and Music the most. The others I could take or leave.

To start off I spent a good chunk of time just staring out the window as a large storm passed over. From this however I started to just idly chat away, not really talking about anything of consequence.

My partner and I spent 10 minutes debating the pros and cons of wearing two pairs of socks vs one pair of thick socks, we played board games, cooked and had a lot of fun. We communicated about a lot of stuff that didn't matter (see socks) but also about stuff that did. We slowed down and let the moments pass with an ease that just doesn't come from escapism.

We also talked about profound subjects. Goals we had, dreams we were yet to reach and how to get there.

Ideas and things I wanted to get done for weeks or even months I finally found the time for. Fixing the grinder instead of hand grinding, man it is terrible to hand grind coffee beans at six in the morning. We cleaned the house and I finally went through my comic collection.

I had moments of withdrawal. Moments of wanting to reach for my phone to see what was happening on social media and in the news. But like wanting another beer or chocolate bar those feelings quickly passed.

Instead it was replaced with a quietness as our minds slowed down.

Discussion

Slowly down for just a weekend is a wonderful experience. It makes you realise that we are increasingly stuffing our lives with nonsense that doesn't matter.

Physically we are living closer to each other. But mentally we are crammed in as well. We don't have time, or more accurately we don't make time to allow our minds to wander and be at peace.

After a weekend of not being plugged in I feel happier and more excited about life as I get up and go to my day job. Also the work I'm trying to do on my own time I'm I was more excited about as well (making comics, specifically Death of the Commons shameless plug).

I achieved things that I had been meaning to do for months and ended up with a more inspiring space in which to create stuff.

Into the future we will be doing this more. Not turning on the TV. Not figuring out a way to fill in our weekend. But also appreciating that existing isn't burning time.

Truly wasting time is mindlessly consuming content for the sake of it.

So give it a go. Give up entertainment for a weekend and see what you get out of it. It will probably surprise you.