NPW Self Curious: Watch more box sets

If you are a follower of Northern Power Women, and by extension Northern Power Futures, you probably feel quite exhausted, so this week’s blog is short and all about getting cosy.

This week was the second festival to bring people together to collaborative conversations about the future of the North. I was there in Newcastle on Monday to talk about saying what you mean when there’s something you need at work. The vibe in the room was amazing. We had a fantastic time, and the tweets that reached millions of eyes over the weekend have really caused a buzz in the hive.

Today’s message is sort of tongue-in-cheek, but is also quite a personal one for me and I think there’s a lot of big truth in it.
So, box set binging. (Boxset? Box set? Boxed set of television viewing materials that isn’t actually a physical box because everything is digital now?)

Box set binging is on the list of things that we make excuses for. We call yomping through six to eight hours of the lives of a group of brilliant characters a “guilty pleasure”, like an extra glass of wine or duvet day.

But sometimes we need these things. They can be good for us. And if we have a day off and aren’t harbouring infections diseases as a result of bad hygiene caused by watching box sets instead of cleaning self or clothes or residence, then they are totally allowed.

This isn’t new. People have done it with books for centuries. “I love getting lost in a good book”. We think that’s romantic, but it’s basically the same, although it’s without the glary screen. Pyjamas, snacks and duvets are transferrable between the two.

For me, it’s Grey’s Anatomy.

The matron in my head says: fourteen seasons is hours of your life. You could have found a husband and knit a jumper and cleaned your kitchen twenty one times in that time. Tut.

But. But, but, but… Meredith Grey has, time and time again, shown me that it is okay to be me. To feel what she feels, albeit usually in much less challenging situations than I feel them.

We learn the most from our biggest challenges, and we can also learn a huge amount from other people’s experiences. By making friends with fictional characters living ridiculously hilarious/eventful/exciting lives and investing in their progress through the seasons, we can learn from them. Challenging ourselves is well and good, but we need to recover from those challenges too.

We also need comfort. We can’t always transplant our friends into our dark weepy moments, or articulate how we’re feeling when we’re in a slump. It sometimes takes a fictional friend on a screen to show us that we aren’t the only ones to feel that way, and that it turns out okay in the end.

The final thing we need – and that our trusty box sets give us is an escape. Some days you need to immerse yourself in a different world. It’s a book. It’s a massive takeaway pizza. It’s your best comfy tracky bottoms. It’s season three of Gavin and Stacey for the fourth time.

Claire Eadington geeks out on workflow management, performance and wellbeing. Claire’s TEDx talk about barriers to performance for exceptional women kicked off the 2017 TEDxWhitehallWomen event in London.

Claire writes a weekly blog, Self Curious, on NPW’s website.
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