Sitting Still to Watch Things

I’m wondering what fellow brains do to deal with feelings of restlessness and poor attention when attempting to watch things.

For me, I struggle a lot in the evenings after my medicine wears off. I will try to sit and watch a show or a movie, and I barely make it 5-10 minutes before I get distracted or restless and have to get up and do something else. It can take me a week to watch a single 30 minute episode of something, or even a couple of months to finish a movie.

This isn’t all the time, though. Sometimes if I’m watching with someone I’m able to focus and enjoy whatever I’m watching, like when I go to the movie theater or I’m hanging out with my s/o. I struggle most when I’m alone.

What tips do you have for how to sit still and watch something?

In the past I’ve sometimes been able to walk on a treadmill and watch something on a tablet, but beyond that I’m really struggling. I try minimizing distractions by turning off lights, putting my phone far away from me, and limiting other sound or stimulation. Any tips or suggestions are appreciated.

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Sounds strange, but sometimes i watch tv/a film but have subtitles on too, so i flitter between watching and listening and also reading subtitles :rofl:

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Or i eat a hell of a lot of pistacchio nuts, keeps my hands busy cracking open the shells

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I really like this idea. I think I’ll try it. :slight_smile:

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I’ve never tried it with nuts, but I have tried keeping my hands busy. For me, it seems like it ends up being more distracting than helpful. But, I do think it’s a great idea. I’m not much of a nut eater, so I can see about other things that could be good hand snacks or other activities to at least try.

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A KOOSH BALL might help . . .

I let my small dog sit in my lap and pet her.

Perhaps a cat might work.

My wife knits while watching TV. I tried but didn’t keep at it to become skilled enough to do both.

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Pick the nuts out and throw them away haha

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I have 4 cats, and all they do is interfere with watching things, including by pushing off the remotes and standing in front of the TV. :smiley:

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Actually a good idea.

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You got someone who can scratch your back?
Then I can lie still for hours.

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Back scratching and massages would probably knock me out. They definitely help me stay still though.

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Ugh I relate to this so much!!

Like @steve_j said, subtitles are really helpful!! If you have the option, I would speed up the video as well. I watch basically everything on double speed with subtitles

Multi-tasking can be pretty helpful, as well. I fold laundry while watching, it’s basically a productive fidget :sweat_smile:

Hope you figure it out!

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Oh, the curse of smaller screens! I get bored and switch to smaller and smaller screens. I’ve been known to pick up a tablet while watching tv, get bored with that and pull out my phone, get bored with that, and poke at my smartwatch…

I need to start using tv time to fold laundry, but I haven’t figured out how to do it comfortably. Sitting on the floor is rough, and I run out of space for my laundry and get frustrated, and then I end up leaving the room with a half-watched show and half-folded laundry covering every surface. My wife prefers I leave it in a heap over doing that.

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I really relate to this problem. It’s a daily stressor not to be able to sit down and focus on something, even things that you enjoy. If I manage to watch a 30min episode of a show I like by myself or play a single-player game for the same amount of time, that’s a huge accomplishment to me. The fact that it’s such a difficult and rare thing for me to achieve feels disappointing and embarrassing. Trying to explain to others why you can’t watch a film or play games when you got free time is awkward, most people just can’t relate. Also 30 yo and I still don’t know how to deal with this problem to a degree I’m okay with really gets me down. I often get stuck moping over how much of my time I lose to restlessness.

The best way I’ve dealt with it is lowering my expectations and being grateful for the times when I do manage to watch a full length film or add to time played in a game. Also I try finishing things even though it’s just watching the end of a series or finishing a chapter in a game. I think knowing that it can be done with time makes me less anxious and frustrated when I lose focus.

Dealing with anxiety or depression, if you have any, is also very important. Both add to issues with attention and restlessness.

In the past I have tried to get others to accompany me, since that for some reason makes it easier. But I feel like it makes me way too dependent on others and that I have to compromise too often. For example, I’ve spent a lot of time doing things that others are interested in instead of cultivating my own interests, since it’s easier joining in than doing something by myself.

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Thank you!

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I will try laundry sometimes too. For me it’s like a distraction ping pong. I’ll lose focus on the show and focus on the laundry, or vice versa. It goes back and forth. And usually I forget what my plan was for folding and also forget to put the folded clothes away. I think it’s hard for me to successfully multitask, especially in the evenings, since I’m already so spacey.

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Agreed. I struggle with video games too. I can’t seem to play for more than 10 or 15 minutes before I’m bored or distracted. Or I’ll have the game up but also be at my computer, listening to music, or playing on my phone and I’m still sitting there in the game until I get timed out. It doesn’t sustain my interest for long, and even if it does I just start to get restless and antsy.

I try to finish things too. Whether it’s a book, a movie, a podcast, or whatever. It does give a sense of accomplishment, even if it’s 3 months late. :smiley:

So far I think I’ve got the other issues like anxiety/depression/mood concerns under control. I’m trying to get more sleep and also to be mindful about caffeine in the evenings so that doesn’t disrupt my sleep. Hopefully with more rest I might have more mental reserves.

I like having a s/o who can accompany me. It’s easier to keep focus with her than it is with others, though. I’ll go to a movie with a friend and can focus on the movie but then afterwards I can’t give the attention to the conversation or dinner that it deserves.

I just get impatient with myself for getting impatient. The cycle.

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I usually fidget, talk annoyingly over the show, snacking helps lol. Generally I’ll play games on my phone but that’s not ideal because it’s too distracting from the show usually. Also if the show isn’t interesting switching to something else! It’s easier if the show is super awesome. I like singing programmes because I can sing along! And like someone else said, if someone is giving me a foot rub or something I’m good to stay put forever lol. I have a massager that is good when no-one is feeling foot rubby haha.

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