October 10th 2018 was World Mental health day; although I don’t think we need a specific day to raise awareness and talk openly about mental health, I thought I’d be a perfect time to talk to you about something that helps me.
I struggle with anxiety and panic attacks and one of the key things that helps me when I’m struggling is distraction distraction distraction.
I’ve been a little quiet about my mental health more recently, I sort of fell into the ‘I feel ashamed about not being ok‘ mindset. Since hitting my 20’s I felt the need to uphold this ‘adult who has everything figured out‘ persona, being 18 and struggling with my mental health seemed a lot more ‘ok’ than being a fully fledged adult who is still struggling.
But I’ve learnt that mental health doesn’t go away in the holidays, it doesn’t go away just because it’s sunny, or because it’s Christmas and everyone is happy and excited. It doesn’t stop just because someone said ‘oh you’re fine it’s all in your head’ or ‘you don’t have to feel like that’
I’ve tried lots of things, from yoga to mindfullness colouring, blasting really loud music, going for walks and sleeping my way through the bad days, and all of these help in different ways, I have found that focusing on just one thing to take my mind off of when I’m struggling really helps.
Recently I have been reaching for my Nintendo DS as a distraction and something to keep me occupied, keep my mind focused, my hands busy and something to just kind of ‘ground’ me. Focusing on games or activities which require your full attention really takes your mind off of all the craziness that’s buzzing around your head.
My absolute favourite has to be Mario Kart, I feel like it’s one of those games that never gets old and there’s no age where you ~outgrow~ it, it’s just always fun! All of the Mario style games, I feel don’t really have an age limit. You can always find fun in racing through levels especially Super Mario Bros as it can be so hard (no I still haven’t completed it). I was also obsessed with Mario & Sonic at the Olympic games which is still a goodie.
I have found this so so helpful & I thought I just had to share it with you guys. The idea came from me finding the Sims app on iTunes and downloading it onto my iPad, and loving playing that, it reminded me of the games I used to play on my DS. I have upgraded from the DS Lite, to the Nintendo 2DSXL which has a much bigger, better and clearer screen. I love that you can still play all of the original DS game cartridges on this console as well as the new 3DS game cards too.
If you’re struggling with anxiety, or any form of mental illness where you find distractions are key in managing your bad days then I highly recommend giving it a go!
I used to think, ah games are just for kids & although playing on my DS was something I loved as a young teen I have fallen in love with it again and if you too are struggling or just need something to take your mind off of the whirlwind in your mind then I really do recommend getting your hands on a console. Whether you reach for your childhood favourites or you give something new a go that’s targeted more towards older players then you’ll probably find yourself having more fun than you imagined. And to be honest, there’s nothing better than a bit of a nostalgic game of Animal Crossing
I haven’t picked up my Nintendo DS in years because I thought I was too old to enjoy games anymore, and I’m not generally into the ~gaming~ scene; the thought of playing Call of Duty or Fifa gives me the shivers, and I felt like gaming is just for nerds, and I am one of the girliest people you’ll ever meet…but let me tell you; in between binge watching Friends and Pretty Little Liars, going shopping and doing my make-up, I’ve been loving picking it up again and smashing out those rainbow roads in my princess peach kart.
I hope this helps some of you, if you’re looking for something that might help you on those days where you’re struggling to ground yourself, or keep your mind occupied from the constant buzz of anxiety, or take your mind off any horrible thoughts, I really do recommend grabbing yourself a Nintendo DS console, and maybe treating yourself to a new one. As much as I loved my DS lite, I am absolutely loving the new 2DS XL, the improvements are amazing and really make a difference to the games you play.