Can games help reduce "new normal" anxieties?
Across the world, lockdown restrictions are easing, and we are being introduced to the "new normal". For many people, this is excellent news, but it makes them feel highly anxious for others. After being away from society for so long, many usual activities have been moved to the video game world. We've been able to cultivate crops, celebrate holidays, and go on whirlwind adventures, all from the comfort of our own homes.
What if we could use these games to practice returning to the outside world? Here are a few tips on how to combat social anxieties through the power of gaming and the lessons it teaches us.
1. Build a routine
Humans are creatures of habit, so start building a little routine for yourself. Allocate yourself a time to have meals, do chores, or complete assignments. However, build into this scheduled time for gaming as your downtime from reentering the outside world. If it helps, you can set a schedule for your character in your game, too, so you have two anchor points for your new routine. In turn, this will help you when getting back into your school or work routine. So, once you're back in your school or office, you can quickly get back into a natural rhythm.
2. Cultivate your attitude
Take a look at the kinds of characters you enjoy playing as. Do you like daring action heroes or gentle village dwellers? Think about their positive traits (such as their bravery, patience, or kindness) and try and implement them into your day. It will really help you when entering environments you find difficult.
3. Talk it out
Many games are very social! If you have an online team or squad of trusted friends, don't be afraid to talk to them about things non-game-related. Try a little small talk, or ask them about their day. This can be so helpful in rehearsing conversations with the bank clerk, the stallholder, or even your boss/teacher.
Going back into the world after isolating is daunting, especially after such an unpredictable year. Go at your own pace, be patient, and remember the skills gaming has taught you.