Congratulations! If you're reading this, you survived the first week of 2021 and we here at Black eSports Network are so proud of you!
The feeling and grove of a new year with the same routine might be different, but the beginning of a year always gives me both a sense of hope and a sense of doom.
While I enjoy the idea of starting fresh, I still struggle with getting over last year's fears and anxieties. Recent news events don't help, so I've tried diving into other activities that help ease my mind and unplug me from the internet.
Self-care is sometimes hard to keep up with, so here are two things that I've found not only fit in with my schedule but also don't require a ton of energy to perform. Both methods can be done while you're taking a break from working or laying in bed with no desire to climb out.
Method One: Coloring
A method of caring for your mental health is creating art, but if you're like me, your drawings and paintings consist of stick figures.
Coloring is the best thing for me in the creative arts department because the drawing is made and all you have to do is fill it in with color. There are all kinds of mediums that can be used for coloring pictures such as crayons, colored pencils and oil pastels.
My favorite physical form of coloring is markers on velvet art posters. I like the way the velvet feels and I love using markers. The strokes and thought of what color I'm using next helps my mind focus on something that isn't scattering it. Not to mention the nice sense of accomplishment I feel when it looks nice.
I've also re-downloaded an app for coloring before bed at night called Happy Color.
This color by number app is available for both Android and Apple and has all sorts of coloring categories such as "nature" and "art," a category that consists of actual paintings you can color.
As you color more pages in Happy Color, you can collect bonus coloring pages. By watching ads, you can collect hints which are helpful for those small, hard-to-see sections.
At the end of every coloring page, you get to watch a small speed video of how you colored your work which is always so satisfying for me.
Above is a clip of the first Wonder Woman coloring page I completed in Happy Color. I tend to delete and reinstall this app a lot based on my mental health, but I've been making a goal to color two pages a day to help with refocusing my anxiety.
Method Two: Heeding Recommendations
My days of telling people I'll look into their music, movie and television recommendations and not actually doing it are long gone.
Being home during the pandemic has given me time to consume the media recommended to me by friends and colleagues, or even things that gain popularity among the internet circles I've become part of.
Among them is rapper MF Doom, who died on Halloween in 2020 and would have turned 50 this year (a favorite of BESNTV founder Tim Fields); the 1984 film version of "Dune," recommended by a friend of mine in a science career; and "Call Me Kat," a sitcom on Fox recommended by my own mom through a Facebook cat group she's in.
This method of self-care stemmed from a desire to keep connecting with people during a time when being one on one seems less likely. Wanting to stay in your own bubble can be difficult for extroverted immunocompromised people like me, so being able to watch, read and listen to things the people around me enjoy has made me feel less isolated.
Searching for Self-Care Strategies
In trying to find which self-care methods worked best for me, I realized asking for ideas from my peers made me more anxious than the issue I was trying to destress from. I couldn't afford their ideas, maybe didn't have the resources for them or I just wasn't interested in the suggestion they offered because it didn't seem right for me.
After I realized nothing anyone else was suggesting was satisfactory, it was only then I began to look inward at the things I had and the things I enjoyed on my own. Coloring seemed like a natural thing for me to pick up as a method of self-care because it was something I was already doing. I could color just one page while taking a break and feel better enough to complete what was worrying me.
The self-care industry has a lot of focus on doing activities and gaining hobbies that may sometimes clash with people's interests or personalities. There's also this stigma that comes along with self-care practices that whatever you're doing has to somehow benefit you physically.
For me, self-care is about doing the things you love in a way that relaxes you. Self-care should be about wanting to put you in a place that is mentally okay to handle the outer and inner struggles of your everyday life. Cooking and baking could be a form of self-care and exercising is a common form of self-care, but not everyone has the time or the energy for such things.
While my methods of self-care may not seem like a lot to some people, it is important to remember that self-care at its core is individualized. Having these two forms of self-care is better for my current state than it would be for me to try and plan out a daily workout regiment.
I hope these ideas inspire you and I hope you continue to take care of yourself, even if you have to take care of others.