Drama Detox: Reasons to Go On Hiatus
This is the second post in my Drama Detox series, which promotes healthy drama-watching habits. It includes tips, ideas, personal experiences and musings on the struggles of Asian drama addicts & bloggers.
What is a hiatus?
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a hiatus is
“an interruption in time or continuity : break; especially: a period when something (as a program or activity) is suspended or interrupted”
For a drama addict, the idea of not watching any dramas at all can seem daunting and almost like self-punishment. Rather than calling a hiatus a “suspension,” I choose to call it “taking a break”. For many of us, watching dramas IS taking a break. It’s a hobby we do in our free time to relax. But is it really taking a break if one uses dramas as an excuse to procrastinate? If dramas are interfering with other commitments such as school or work? If dramas are dominating one’s life? I’d say no. In these cases, it is not really relaxing, because it only piles on more stress in the long run. I cannot say that procrastination via dramas has ever made me feel totally great.
Sometimes taking a break from dramas can be a beneficial choice for yourself. Taking a break does not mean you’ll be painfully enduring no-drama days or going through drama withdrawal. It simply means that you are taking a break to focus on other important parts of your life.
Reasons to go on hiatus
- Having a pressing, important deadline coming up
- Ex. finals, tests, assignments, essays, applications
- Using dramas to procrastinate
- Not enough time to do everything you want to do
- Trouble concentrating on your studies/work
- Feelings of negativity that may result from dramas
- Ex. fan wars, hating a character, feeling frustrated with a drama that has gone down the drain, negative publicity
- Getting too attached/obsessed with dramas
- Poor health as a result of binge-watching
- Ex. Lack of sleep
Benefits to going on hiatus:
- More time to do what you need and want to do
- Can help you meet your deadlines
- Less distractions
- Less feelings of obligation & commitment to watch/blog dramas
- Less instant gratification
- Decrease the negativity, escapism and stress that may result from watching too many dramas
- Decreases procrastination, and the stress that comes from procrastination
Be real with yourself.
When asking yourself whether a hiatus is right for you, be 100% honest with yourself. Sometimes it can be hard to admit to yourself “I’m spending way too much time blogging/watching dramas”. It’s especially hard if you feel guilty about being addicted to dramas, or if you prefer to use dramas as a form of escapism. Your urge may be to simply procrastinate on stopping your procrastination, or escaping from confronting your drama addiction. It doesn’t have to be all that painful or difficult to do this. Evaluating yourself is simply about observing what is working for you and what isn’t.
- How much value do dramas add to your life?
- What are your top priorities?
- What decision is best for you?
Semi-hiatus versus full hiatus
Going on hiatus does not mean that you have to stop watching all dramas/Asian entertainment and never write a word on your blog. If you want some more leeway or if you want to ease into a full hiatus, you could try going on semi-hiatus. This means that you decrease your drama-time, but perhaps you don’t eliminate it completely. The downside of a semi-hiatus is that the temptation to watch dramas may be stronger since you’ve given yourself more leeway.
If you want to be more extreme or have a very pressing situation (such as major exams coming up), you may want to try going on a full hiatus. A lot of drama fans are students, and I’ve seen many of them go on full-hiatus during exams time. My impression of a full hiatus is that it requires more self-discipline and a full commitment to it.
Indefinite versus a specific time period
You get to choose how long your hiatus will last. If you’re unsure how long you want to be on hiatus for, you can declare “indefinite hiatus”. Or, if you’re on hiatus for a certain reason such as exams, you could define a time period. A common choice is to go on hiatus until a school break starts.
Try it out.
If you’re not sure whether going on hiatus is right for you, you could just give it a trial run. Try it out for a week, or for a few days, and see how it feels. See if you get any results from going on hiatus or not.
The first step is to declare hiatus by writing it out or telling someone about your commitment. Post it on your blog or social media, write it down in your journal, or tell a family member or friend. Write down the reasons why you’ve gone on hiatus. Declaring hiatus makes it feel more official and concrete.
Hold yourself accountable
You are the first person that can hold yourself accountable. Remind yourself of the reasons why you’re on hiatus when you feel tempted to go back to watching a lot of dramas. If you are really determined to go on full hiatus, you can install a site blocker on your internet browser to prevent you from accessing drama sites. Another option is to have someone else hold you accountable for good measure. Ask someone to remind you about your hiatus if they notice you watching a lot of dramas again.
Determine when to end your hiatus.
If you’re going on a full hiatus for a definite period of time, it’s pretty easy to know when you’re going to end your hiatus. If you’re on hiatus indefinitely, it may be harder to know when to end it. Some people may be going through a lot of transitions or challenges in their life. In this case, one may end the hiatus once the “storm has passed” and things quiet down. Some people may be going on hiatus to stop being so attached to dramas. In this case, one could end the hiatus when one notices that their need for dramas has decreased significantly.
My experience with going on hiatus
In my 2015 reflection post, I wrote:
“What was the most important lesson you learned from 2015 dramas?
I never went on a hiatus until this year. I reached a point when I was just too busy to manage with blogging, watching dramas, and doing other drama stuff along with taking care of myself. I was over-committed which only resulted in stress. So I finally took the plunge and declared hiatus–twice. I knew that it was the best decision to make for myself; denying it and just blindly going at a fast pace would do me no good. For me the benefit was not that I immediately abstained from dramas or blogging–which some people on hiatus do–but that I took a step back. I distanced myself so that I could have the space I needed in my life to relax and focus on other things.
The lesson I got out of this experience: When you’re overwhelmed, over-committed or overly stressed, the first step to take is to just take a step back. If you already know the best decision you can make for YOU, then do it. Self-care is important, and sometimes watching dramas is not self-care.”
I went on an indefinite semi-hiatus last year and a little into the beginning of this year. I knew that I was spending way too much time online. Even if I wasn’t watching a drama, I’d still be looking at random drama clips, searching for other dramas to watch, going on social media, etc. I was just sorta meandering around on the Internet. It wasn’t productive at all.
As you can probably already tell, these activities enabled me to procrastinate. I know us procrastinators all joke about how we’re procrastinators, but to be honest, the feeling I get from procrastination is just plain icky. I feel horrible whenever I procrastinate. On top of that, I had school commitments that were way more important than all the unproductive web-surfing I was doing. I had to re-prioritize by setting dramas on a lower priority level, and putting school at the top of my list.
Lastly, I started feeling the need / obligation to do drama-stuff. I felt like I had to check my notifications/comments, like I had to watch that one drama clip, etc. These feelings were a big warning sign for me. In my opinion, watching dramas should not be about needing them or having to watch them. Watching dramas should be about wanting to watch them–without feelings of obligation or procrastination!
While I did not totally conquer procrastination during my semi-hiatus, I was able to practice not needing dramas. Prior to this, I thought that going on hiatus was mainly just to give yourself time to work hard (like studying). But actually, going on hiatus also gave myself time to enjoy myself in other ways. For instance, I was able to go on walks more often, enjoy nature, and READ. (<<such a biggie!) Ultimately, I’m glad that I tried out a semi-hiatus. I’m not sure if I’ll ever go for a full hiatus, only time will tell!
Have you ever gone on hiatus before? What was your experience like?