I have been working from home for five months now, and while it was good at the beginning, the negative effects of isolation and anxiety gradually started to take a toll on me. A day’s work would leave me mentally and emotionally fatigued which then transforms into physical exhaustion. I haven’t had a full eight hours of sleep for weeks. Yes, even on weekends.
Recognizing what’s happening, I unconsciously spent the last couple of weeks taking a step back and protecting my mental health. To me it made sense because forcing myself to remain productive by sticking to my usual routines and constantly finding novel activities to take advantage of the supposed extra time I have wouldn’t be sustainable as my mind is simply not there. So, I did what I felt like doing most of the time – hibernate.
I haven’t picked up a new book since April, but I am now on my 394th re-reading of the Harry Potter series (currently stuck again on Order of the Phoenix because whiny Harry never fails to get on my nerves). And I’m starting to realize that my Netflix subscription is huge waste of money as I only use it to run Friends in the background while I’m doing other stuff like… staring at the ceiling. Could I be more unmotivated?
Normally, this would bother me as it might seem like wasting precious time, reading novels I’ve already read from cover to cover and watching programs whose characters’ lines I’ve memorized by heart. But who cares? I like it!
The Nostalgia Effect
Perhaps the most common reason why people tend to re-watch their favorite films and TV shows (aside from the fact that they simply love them) is the bittersweet feeling of nostalgia. Somehow, watching Titanic for the umpteenth time brings me back memories and feelings associated with it when first saw it. And it is comforting. Calming.
Also, knowing what’s going to happen relieves me of the stress, anxiety and the disappointment that I might feel from watching something for the first time. I know what to expect, and I know the feeling that it will bring. In short, I know what I’m up to. And that’s a great emotional payoff for me.
Another thing about nostalgia is that it not only makes one feel good emotionally, but also physically. According to a study, nostalgia oftentimes manifests itself as a physical comfort in the form of warmth. In essence, nostalgia can be a form of therapy.
Remember: we are all affected by the collective trauma brought by COVID-19 and we all respond and adapt to it differently. No one should ever make you feel inferior for not focusing on self-improvement just because you have more time in your hands. So next time someone questions your regressive re-consumption of your old favorites, don’t feel guilty. You’re not wasting your time — you’re taking care of yourself.
Featured image grabbed from Seventeen.