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Let’s not dance around it–2022 seems to promise another stay-at-home winter.
The pandemic is taking a toll on many, and maintaining or improving your mental wellness should be a top priority.
If you’re like me, you’ll be playing a lot of video games this year. Don't worry, I’m not assigning you any homework here… well, I guess I sort of am.
Here are 4 toxic habits or thinking patterns that I challenge you to ditch with 2021:
1. Those super-late-night sessions.
If you’re an early-rising-full-time-working-or-studying adult this one might not apply to you.
Getting to bed at a decent hour (I don’t expect you to be perfect–even though I am!) is one of the most important contributors to your general health and wellness. The quality and quantity of sleep that you are consistently getting affects almost every facet of your performance–like, on a physiological level.
Get. To. Bed. Your body and brain will thank you later.
Have trouble falling asleep? Our list of 10 awesome sleep tools might help.
2. engaging with the enemy.
Toxicity in wider gaming and esports communities can feel difficult to avoid. Popular multiplayer games are littered with future teammates who, as far as you can tell, exist purely to drive you mad.
In 2022 we encourage you to face these inevitable challenges with grace and an emphasis on self-care. The next time you find yourself frustrated at a rude teammate, taunting opponent, or insufferable twitch chat, remember these powerful tools at your disposal:
Inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 4, exhale for 4. Sometimes a few deep breaths is all it takes to emotionally regulate yourself. It might feel unnatural at first, or like a waste of time, but as you continue to practice your breathing more regularly you will improve quickly.
Let’s have a chat–just you and you. Learning how to form a positive internal dialogue is easier said than done; however, like most skills, you can practice! When you find yourself feeling frustrated, make an effort to actively think positively and focus on what you can control. Vocalizing your words out loud is a great way to start, even if it feels awkward at first. Let's stay regulated and focused on what matters.
Because yes, exercise helps with this too. Making sure that you’re getting daily movement is essential for preparing your body and mind to perform and stay regulated. If you’re feeling extra annoyed during a session, consider taking a longer break and crunching out a workout. Redirect that frustration to motivate your training!
3. that god-awful gaming posture.
Because let’s be honest, we’ve all found ourselves like this:
There are key points to remember when evaluating and working to improve your posture. First, understand that there is no "perfect" posture, especially when sitting. Adamas performance coach Jake Middleton famously says that “your best posture is your next posture,” as prolonged sitting brings with it a myriad of prospective physical repercussions. The key takeaway here is to frequently move from one posture to the next, as increased and continual movement helps prevent postural syndromes, arthritis, disc displacement, nerve impingement, and tension headaches.
Your gaming setup plays an important role in facilitating sustainably healthy posture. Are your arms able to rest comfortable on your desk or armrests without discomfort? Have you made any investments to reduce wrist or neck strain? How about a standing desk? Finally, make sure you align the top of your gaming monitor with your eye level to avoid over flexion of the neck area or additional muscle strain.
Here’s a quick refresh on how you should generally sit. Focus on your posture now, and avoid future pain as a result:
4. break-less gaming sessions.
Taking breaks is important not only to maintain high performance, but also for maintaining general wellness. Our brains can only focus on tasks for so long before compounding fatigue begins to trickle in and negatively impact our performance and mental state. Optimize your gaming schedule by allocating time for 20-30 minute breaks.
Here’s a list of great ways to spend your next gaming break
- Get some movement and fresh air–go for a walk outside!
- Put on some music and make yourself a tasty (healthy) snack.
- Try meditating. This one, when mastered, is unfairly overpowered.
If you find yourself losing track of time or forgetting to prioritize break-taking, we recommend setting digital reminders or alarms on your smartphone or PC.
THAT’S ALL FOR NOW!
I hope you learned something helpful today. Remember to continue thinking critically about your performance environment, mental state, and physical signals as you go. There is no one perfect solution for most of these topics–everyone is different–but we’re confident that by leaving these 4 bad habits in 2021, you’ll reap some pretty amazing performance & health benefits.
Happy new year–here’s to the grind.