Binge has become a common word these days. I most often hear it in terms of Netflix, as in “I binge watched House of Cards all weekend.” The idea is that you get to watch several seasons (or at least one full season) of a show, in a set period of time, getting up only to order food, go to the bathroom and occasionally make sure the Earth is still revolving.
In clinical terms, “binge” has a more serious connotation. Clinicians often associate it with two activities- binge eating or binge drinking. Binge eating disorder is an actual disorder, meaning you can be diagnosed with it. Binge drinking is also a disorder, but falls under Alcohol Dependent Type II. There were some revisions to this when the DSM 5 came on the scene, but either way, binge drinking is bad news, whether its a disorder or a symptom.
I had a patient make a statement yesterday that stuck with me. She was talking about how overwhelmed she was with work and other activities (preach it!) and she said “I found myself trying to binge relax over the weekend.” That’s when it hit me. We have become a people of extremes. Many of us binge work- whether it’s actual work, house work, side work, etc. Then on the weekends we are left to try to binge relax- binge eat, binge watch, binge drink.
Finding a work/rest balance would be the key. We wouldn’t feel the need to “binge relax” if we weren’t working ourselves to death (for some, literally) every week.
Take a page from those that have found self care to be an every day thing. They take a 15 minute walk, they watch their favorite tv show (ONE episode), they meditate, they take a hot bath, they work out- whatever is part of their self care routine. But they do it daily.
Finding this balance would make life a lot easier on our bodies and minds. That’s not to say we can never binge watch Netflix. It just won’t seem like it is our only option on the weekends.