It’s almost halfway into the quarter and it’s been over a month since social distancing started. If you’re anything like me, you’re running out of new things to do to keep yourself sane while stuck inside. But the one saving grace for me has been binge-watching. Whether I’m binging Gossip Girl while juggling three different Korean dramas at the same time or dipping my toes into Tiger King and Too Hot to Handle, there’s nothing like getting lost into a world and plot where there is no quarantine, no virus and most importantly, no Zoom.

But as much as I regret to say it, even binging is in danger of becoming yet another routine, another mindless thing I do to pass the time. Don’t let one of the world’s most popular pastimes slip through the cracks and become mundane, like everything else. It is time to make quarantine binge-watching fun again. Here are four simple, easy tips for your binge-watching routines to switch things up and get you excited for your next binge.

1. Rewatch favorites or oldies

Certain shows and movies become our favorites for good reasons. It may be the way they make us feel, the cast, the plot, the writing or a combination of all these things. But one thing is for certain: you can never go wrong with rewatching your favorites. After being stuck in the house for so long, it may seem like you have exhausted all of the new options on Netflix, Hulu, Prime Video, Disney+ or whatever streaming service you use. Why not kick it back and watch something you know you love? Better yet, bring on the nostalgia with oldies. Not only will you have more to choose from with these options included, but chances are you’ll come out of the binge session feeling pretty darn good.

2. Explore!

It sometimes seems that almost everyone is spending their quarantine learning something new or picking up a new hobby, so why not also try something new with your watching preferences? By new, I don’t necessarily mean watching the hottest new releases or trending shows (not that there's anything wrong with that). Instead, try branching out with options you wouldn’t normally choose. Explore a genre you don’t normally watch, check out an anime or Korean drama for the first time or watch a foreign film – you might just be pleasantly surprised. Personally, a friend has been encouraging me to try watching horror movies (which I would normally never even think of watching). I figured I might as well during quarantine when I am free to scream and jump in the comfort of my eerily dark room.

3. Watch Parties

If you’re tired of watching by yourself or are craving some social interaction with people other than your immediate family or roommates, watch parties are for you. Online watch parties are the best alternative to being physically in the same room watching something with a group of people. They’re a fun opportunity to rant, gush over and discuss the shows or movies you are watching. Though the most popular option for this is Netflix Party, a Chrome extension that allows you to watch synchronized shows on Netflix with your friends and discuss in a group chat, there are other options. The only downside is that you won’t be able to see your friends’ faces through the extension itself. If you want that extra feeling of connectedness, you can opt to have a video call open while watching.

While other streaming services like Hulu, Prime Video and Disney+  have yet to come up with something similar to Netflix Party, there are still a couple of ways to host a watch party without a Netflix subscription. Two options are Zoom and Kast. Zoom’s screen share option can allow one member during a Zoom meeting to play a show or movie and share their screen with the rest of the members. In addition to a group chat, you will still be able to see other people’s faces even while screen sharing, which is a plus. One thing to keep in mind about Zoom, however, is that the quality of the screen share can vary. Kast is another app similar to Zoom that was made for watch parties, streaming games simultaneously or just getting some remote face time with friends. You can have over 100 people in your watch party, and it also includes a group chat function. Kast is a perfect alternative if you’re just not into Zoom or want to separate academic Zoom life from your leisure time.

4. Watch with your family!

If all else fails and time differences or conflicting schedules prevent watch parties from happening, don’t worry! For most, quarantine has guaranteed built-in watch buddies. How convenient is that? Trust me, they couldn’t leave even if they wanted to. I am, of course, talking about your very own family or roommates. Since quarantine began, I’ve watched something with my family almost every night after finishing up with homework, and it’s been a fun time just spending quality time with them. If you’ve been looking for a way to spend some of your excess time, this is a great way to do so. No matter what it is you’re watching, doing it together hits a little different. It’s a time to bond and is something you can all do together after a long day of everyone doing their own thing.

And those are all of the tips I have! They really are as simple and easy as they sound. Try one or all of these tips and you’ll be on your way to a more exciting and enjoyable binge-watching experience! Stay safe and binge on.

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