Balancing Act: Real life and Video games

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Ldycalluna has been scarce this past month because work and real life has taken most of her free time. Leaving little to enjoy the amazing video games that were released and less to write about it.  Let’s see how she manages to keep on top of it all

The Grind

 

Most of us work for a living and sometimes that work gets busy.  I often find myself in a delicate ballet between time for work and time to write.  I am confident most gamers are in the same position. How can we strike that perfect balance between what we NEED to do and what we WANT to do.  Here is a glimpse at my day. I get up early every morning do the bathroom routine, coffee, make lunch for work, drink my breakfast, kiss my wife and then head out of the door because traffic in the city is terrible and it generally takes me an hour to get to work.  I work for about 9 to 10 hours a day depending and head home in the evening traffic. An hour later I am home close to 6 pm. I have just a short amount of time to make dinner, help kids with any homework, break up fights and chores before I have to get ready for bed. It’s a very busy day and often I don’t get ANY extra free time and I pretty much live in a constant state of stress. So, how do I deal with all the stress I build up through the week?

 

The Escape

 

If you are a reader of Mulehorngaming.com you know I love video games. I will play ANYTHING. My extra free time lately is generally spent in Borderlands 3 or Destiny 2.  Any game I can shoot things or kill them mercilessly with fire. Hey, it helps me relax! There is a sense of relief when I play video games. Anecdote time! This past weekend was very busy and stressful for me. My smartwatch was in a tizzy reminding me to breathe and relax. I retreated to my gaming area and logged in a couple of hours on Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order.  I was having a difficult time with a certain fight and I was doing the “rage dance” as I call it. Tossing my hands in the air, swearing, and huffing. My wife asked me to check my smartwatch for my stress level. Even though I was having a hard time with this fight I had reduced my stress level by 90%. How crazy is that? Just escaping even for a short time was the ticket to help reduce my stress.  Now, I am no health professional, I am just old and experienced. Stress is a bad thing. It does some rough stuff to our bodies and our minds. Each and every one of us needs a way to diffuse that stress, release it from ourselves. One way of doing that is hobbies. Sewing, knitting, video games. These are the tools I use. My oldest son likes to build things to reduce his stress. My middle son takes after his mom and uses video games.  My youngest paints. We all have something in our lives to help get rid of that pesky stressky. Other ways include exercise, which has more benefits to your body than those other ways I mentioned. Even a short walk has incredible benefits to your mind and body.

The Conundrum

 

So, we know about stress and work and relief.  How do we balance it? That’s the hard part. It is something I struggle with daily, I am sure most of our readers do too.  So looking at my day I am away from home at least 11 hours a day. Add the 8 hours of sleep and we are at 19 hours of my day accounted for.  Add up all those other little things I do when I get home and I am generally left with about an hour or so a day of “free time”. Then add the fact that I could either play video games or go visit my wife on her lunch break at work.  See the problem? This past month all of my time was spent moving into a new place. Life is busy for everyone, I never had time to play video games when my sons were smaller. I have co-workers who “used” to be gamers and now they “Just don’t have the time”. I hear this line from so many people. “I used to work out, but now I just don’t have the time”.  I relate on a deeply personal level with this, as we have shown. But there is always time for the things we love. It is important to make that time for ourselves and our mental health. So, Ldy, how do you do it? 

 

The Secret?

 

 It takes creative problem solving, but I manage.  I prep all my dinners the night before and stick to sheet pan dinners or things I can make in about 20 mins or less. My oldest is able to help out his younger brothers with homework and toss dinner in the oven, so I just have to summon lost knowledge of Algebra to help him out. My boys are champs with doing chores and helping around the house, giving me an extra hour to play with.  So through delegation and prepping food I am able to scrape together enough minutes in my day to play for an hour or two and still manage to visit my wife at work. I know I am not alone with this type of “responsibility gymnastics”. I am lucky I have kids that help and an understanding wife who is a gamer herself. She understands when I just want to stay home and blow stuff up. Everyone has responsibilities and every solution will be different, but if you keep an open mind and don’t mind asking for help or delegating some responsibilities striking that perfect balance between life and games is possible.  Sure it may take me longer to finish a game, but I don’t mind moving at a slower pace and spoilers do not put me off on a game. It is the journey for me. Witnessing the story first hand is something pretty special. I hope this has helped a couple of you come up with some creative solutions for your busy life. If you have any other good ideas please share it with us on Twitter or on our Discord channel! See you guys next time!

 

Veteran Gamer Girl, Mom, Wife, D&D DM, I am a fan of video games and all things D&D, fledgling cosplayer.

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