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Netflix and (literally) chill: TV shows to help you relax

In order to stay motivated, many of us students rely on TV shows to give ourselves a personal boost. University life is compelling, but also overwhelming: constant assignment deadlines, exam revision, going out with our peers. Though we try to ignore the issues bouncing around our heads all day, your mind and body need time to relax. One of the best ways to do this throughout the hectic term-time is watching the TV shows you enjoy. But not just any random TV shows; kick your feet up and wind down with some more relaxing picks.

Of course, each person will have their own definition of what counts as relaxing. Some may find dramas to be most relaxing, because of the familiarity with the characters and the setting. Others may desire comedies and sitcoms, with their inevitable ability to lift people’s spirits. There are endless options available on many services, from Netflix to Amazon Prime Video to NOW TV, so pick what’s right for you.
Panel shows are a great go-to when you need a break from studying; just sit back, chill, and enjoy the witty comments pinging from comedians across the panels. These can be perfect for when you have a small gap during a busy day, as they require no following of a story line, and give you a familiar set of rounds every episode. My personal favourite – Would I Lie To You? – contains some of the best comedic improvisation on TV, with long-standing team captains David Mitchell and Lee Mack starring alongside host Rob Brydon.

Panel shows are a great go-to when you need a break from studying; just sit back, chill, and enjoy the witty comments pinging from comedians across the panels

Dramas also tend to be a popular way for students to zone out of their university life, and adventure into intriguing fictional worlds. Often, we can relate our own life experiences to particular characters, creating an intimate and comforting experience. The critically acclaimed teen comedy-drama Sex Education has recently received ample praise as a result of the diversity of characters, allowing students from all backgrounds to relate.

Despite strong characterisation being inspirational for some, others prefer to escape our humanised world and get in touch with nature by watching BBC documentaries such as Planet Earth, Blue Planet or Life. Using state-of-the-art technology and taking years to produce, it’s not surprising that the current top two rated TV shows on IMDb are Planet Earth II (9.5 rating) and Planet Earth (9.4 rating). It can be incredibly relaxing to observe the everyday lives of animals across the world, not to mention David Attenborough’s gentle narration.
If you find documentaries a bit heavy going, why not indulge in the range of mockumentaries available. One I would particularly recommend is The Office US as the quick-fire jokes and quirky style of humour instantly help to alleviate stress. It’s ironic that a show about the mundane life of employees at a paper company would bring me such pleasure, but it reminds you to see the bright aspects of everyday life, no matter how small they are.

It can be incredibly relaxing to observe the everyday lives of animals across the world, not to mention David Attenborough’s gentle narration

One perhaps less conventional, but still much loved TV show, is The Joy of Painting with Bob Ross. Although he is not especially well-known in the UK, Americans adore this man as he simultaneously paints a scenic masterpiece and explains his technique in his lovely soothing voice. His inspiring messages of encouragement, such as “we don’t make mistakes here, we have happy accidents”, will certainly relax you with a positive mind-set. Although, be vigilant and apply this advice to the right contexts (preferably not exams).

Whatever genre of TV show gives you the key to equanimity amid the academic and social pressures of university life, embrace it. Don’t feel bad for allocating some time to sit back and watch a relaxing show: we all need a break. And studying or busying about for hours on end won’t make you more productive, it’ll just wear you out. So, champion your right for relaxation, just like Bob Ross championed his painting.

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