Who do you turn to when things get tough? For me, it’s some of my oldest friends: Tim, Daisy, Mike… or even Mark, Jeremy, Super Hans and Dobby – although to be honest, I’m not sure I should listen to any of their advice. But you know what it’s like with the old faithfuls… the ones you know so well you can predict what they’re going to say, before they’ve even said it. Just seeing their faces together again can be enough to trigger a series of nostalgic emotions – comfort, reassurance, safety. It’s the reminder of a simpler life, a flashback to feeling relaxed and responsibility-free. And who doesn’t need that right now?
Yes, when the going gets tough I turn to my favourite old box sets… series like Spaced, Peep Show, Sex And The City and Friends. Shows that I can tell you where I was sitting, what I was wearing and who I was with when I very first watched them; and every time I’ve watched them since.
Entertainment that connects with us emotionally might well be one of the most powerful tools we have available to us in lockdown. Great TV, films, books and podcasts have the power to temporarily suspend our minds from the constant noise of the outside world. If we’re gripped by what we’re seeing or hearing, it can even stop us scrolling for long enough to reduce our anxiety from the never-ending news updates and social feeds that rarely bring the positivity we are craving.
Brilliant entertainment can make us happy even when we are feeling sad. It allows us to release emotions that we might be holding tight inside; crying at a sad TV show is not just beneficial for a release, but it can feel exhilarating – a much-needed rush of endorphins that our bodies need to feel calm. Entertainment allows us to live vicariously, dabble with unexplored feelings and, if it is good enough, connect with others too. There is nothing better than animatedly discussing a TV show or book with someone who is as excited about it as you.
So, throughout lockdown I’m taking all the comfort I can from the entertainment I consume from my sofa. And maybe – in years to come – I will watch re-runs of Normal People or Belgravia and consider those characters friends I know as well as my own family. I’ll remember these evenings in lockdown with a new affection; a nostalgic knowledge that while I watched these shows I felt safe, comfortable and happy… and free from a world that felt temporarily out of control.