When you quit gaming it’s important to be aware of the times you will be the most vulnerable to relapse… and the holidays are one of those times.
Gaming over the holidays is something you’ve always done – it’s been your routine. You’re done school for the semester, you’ve been fulfilling all of your obligations and now you have all of this free time, so what better to do than binge game?
But what happens is although during the holidays there aren’t any “real” consequences to your binge gaming, it does create problems as you go back into the next school semester.
One quick example is your sleeping schedule – it’s all over the place and getting back into the school routine becomes a stressful experience, instead of flowing back into school and handling your business like a boss.
To avoid gaming over the holidays you need to start shifting the mindset that you use to justify gaming. Part of that mindset is the way you see your obligations and the way you see your free time.
During the school semester you go to class and fulfill your obligations – something out of your control because you have to go – but what happens is when you are done your obligations for the day, you feel that much more control over your free-time – it’s time that you can do whatever the fuck you want with.
And that tends to be gaming.
However this mindset only keeps us at the status quo. Our time and energy are the two non-renewable resources we have, so if we are constantly using them to just fulfill our obligations and then kill our free time, we aren’t moving forward towards our goals and instead we’re staying in the same place.
Although the holidays are a time to relax and recover from the school semester, they are also a great opportunity to invest your time into the things you truly want to do – into developing new habits and pursuing new goals you have.
To avoid gaming over the holidays, follow these two tips:
Create structure with a schedule.
When you’re going to school you have a lot of structure, you had to wake up at a certain time, you had to be at school at a certain time and most of your day was planned out.
During the holidays you lose all of that structure, and that can cause you to experience a lot of boredom, and boredom leads to gaming. Setup a schedule using an agenda or Google Calendar (what I use) to plan new activities ahead of time.
Create a project.
The holidays are a great time to create a new project that will help you learn a new skill or help you towards your goals. Is there an app you can build? Do you want to learn certain songs on a guitar? Reach a new level in a new language? Start a podcast or website? You have enough time to make progress in one of these during your winter break.
Last year for example I wanted to read five books, so I did that and it was awesome.
If you need ideas for new activities to do during your winter break, download 60+ New Hobby Ideas.
Potential Triggers: Friends and Family
One last thing to be aware of on your winter break is that it’s easy to become triggered by your friends.
You see your friends getting new games… or they get an Xbox or PS4 for Christmas, and it’s easy to feel envious or jealous of them. In this moment it’s important to remind yourself why you’re quitting games and why it’s important to you.
You also want to be aware that because your friends are on their break, they are going to be gaming and will potentially even ask you to play too. If you’re worried about this, watch this video on what to do about your gamer friends.
Finally, your family might want to buy you games because that’s what they’ve always done – that’s what you were into and they know it was important to you.
So if you’re worried about this, Christmas is the perfect opportunity to talk to your family about how you’re moving on from games and share with them the new hobbies or ideas you’re excited about and maybe they can help you with that instead.
For example, last year for Christmas my family bought me a GoPro, because I had talked to them about how I wanted to start a YouTube channel. And voila, here we are.
So use Christmas as an opportunity to connect more with your friends and family (outside of games), and make the most of the time you have to pursue the new goals and dreams you have.
What are your plans over the Christmas break? What new hobby or project are you going to launch? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
If you’re looking for some extra help over the holiday season to avoid gaming, check out Respawn.