for a simplified story say I am currently spending 4 hours every day consuming mindless entertainment just to make myself feel good enough to go to work.
my friends believe that it’s too much and/or not typical. So I converted one hour into productive time [exercise, study, etc] which results in heartburn.
I want to be able to communicate my internal experience so my friends can suggest an alternative way I can convert that hour without hurting myself.
I have been in that kind of state many times, sometimes for months at a stretch, and agree that just trying to force myself to do otherwise is unsustainable. However, like others have said, I think you’re overlooking a large portion of the space of possible options.
How does your job make you feel while you’re there? Maybe the answer if to change jobs, change companies, change how you approach your job, or something else.
Is the mindless entertainment actually restorative, or is it just kind of acting as a placeholder that neither provides nor consumes energy? Sometimes I can get more out of a 5 minute meditation than watching an hour of TV, sometimes I need a 30 minute nap, sometimes I really do need to do something mindless, and it’s hard for me to differentiate those. Also, for me, mindless chores that involve movement, like folding laundry or washing dishes, are often better than mindless entertainment.
You don’t need to answer this here, but how is your mental health generally? Depression can easily cause the situation you describe, and I’m sure many other issues can, too. Therapy and/or medication can be very helpful for finding ways to navigate your life more skillfully with the mind and body you’ve got.