With UNC offering its students a small break from the stressful semester in the form of wellness days, many students are seizing the opportunity to catch up on new TV shows and movies, as well as old favorites.
Senior Kenya Allison spent the weekend watching two popular series: “New Girl" and “Mad Men."
“New Girl,” which is available on Netflix, is a show Allison keeps coming back to.
“This is my third time rewatching the series," Allison said. "You don’t have to think about it — it’s just funny."
Allison said that since she is a senior underloading classes, her school experience is less structured than usual. To help reduce the stress brought on by an unusual semester, she feels television can create an entertaining and relaxing opportunity to unwind. At the same time, it can ensure that breaks aren’t too long and unproductive.
“It lets me say, ‘All right, I can watch two episodes and that’s my break.’ If I were on social media, I would just keep scrolling,” Allison said.
In addition to TV, some students watched movies over the break. Sophomore Fletcher Williams watched two new films: “Judas and the Black Messiah,” which is available on HBO Max, and “Minari.”
Williams appreciated “Minari” for its optimistic, uplifting story, and enjoyed learning about American history through “Judas and the Black Messiah.” Williams chose to watch these films because he heard good feedback about them from friends and film festivals.
“I love movies, and I wanted to see these stories and how they were told and put on the screen,” Williams said.
Both Williams and Allison recommended shows and movies students may enjoy watching during the next wellness days on March 11 and 12. Allison recommended "Peaky Blinders," a historical crime drama on Netflix, and Williams recommended films from Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli.
Jonathan Abramowitz, a clinical psychologist and professor in UNC's Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, said these forms of media can provide an escape from reality.
“When we have things like movies and shows, it gives us a chance to go into a different world," Abramowitz said. "It distracts us from the stress of school, the stress of the pandemic and whatever other stressors are going on in our lives."
Outside of television and movies, finding opportunities to relax can be crucial for a successful lifestyle.
“We are better off when we take breaks,” Abramowitz said. "Not only just having this long weekend, but also in the course of the day, everyone should get out and go for a walk, or do some sort of exercise or just something relaxing."
Allison emphasized how the wellness days encouraged this type of relaxation, saying that the breaks are essential for recharging and staying focused in class.
“It’s nice to feel like, ‘All right, even though I have a lot going on, I’m still taking care of me,’" Allison said. "If you don’t take care of yourself, then you’ll tire yourself out and burn out."
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