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A Gamer’s Guide to A Healthy School/Game Life Balance

A Gamer’s Guide to A Healthy School/Game Life Balance

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Article written by Jackson; a healthy gamer and recovery coach in training

 

Going back to school presents its own unique challenges, but also ample opportunities to build good habits and eliminate bad ones. Never is this more apparent than when dealing with a gamer going back to school, and I should know, I’m in that same boat. The return of school life brings new environmental cues and context, which is ideal for behavior change. It’s hard to switch your brain off from being able to play games whenever you want, go to sleep whenever you want and sleep as late as you want. Some strategies I frequently implement for getting out of “holiday mode” is as follows.

 

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Tip 1: Create a routine and stick to it

 

This is the most common advice people would get, and that’s because it works. Humans are creatures of habit. Because of that, most people thrive in structure. It’s harder to slack off, to slip into old habits, or destroy your school/game life balance actions because you will be going completely out of your way to do so. By creating a routine for yourself you are taking control of your life and choosing what you want to do and how much time you want to spending doing it, which can lead to higher productivity and a stronger sense of accomplishment.

 

However, it’s often quite hard to actually put into practice, which leads me to…

Tip 2: Tailor your environment

 

Make beneficial changes to your environment so that it is easy to pick up the ideal routine for yourself, as opposed to having to rely on conscious willpower. Example: I create specific environments for study and gaming: it can be as small as having two separate accounts on my laptop for both or as big as having dedicated “study” and “gaming” rooms. By doing so, you are not even giving yourself the opportunity to slip away from what you are doing. You are setting a clear boundary between activities. One of the hardest things to do is trying to change a habit while in the exact same environment as before! This is what leads to throwing off your school/game life balance, by looking at the distraction while trying to avoid it. Out of sight, out of mind.

 

Tip 3: Don’t go full out “holiday mode” during the next summer break

 

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An unpopular opinion, but I found that constantly shifting between the two extremes of “vacation mode” and “work mode” is not very pleasant. I would suggest a more balanced approach to juggling school and break: While I still mostly enjoy relaxing during the break, I also work/study a little during it to stay active. Same goes for school days when I find time to relax and have fun after I’m done with schoolwork (that of course includes video games). The reason is simple. You will continue to crave the downtime, and avoid the work time as much as possible. Making both times less productive. Thinking “I should be working” while relaxing, and thinking “I wish I was just done with this already” while working.

This creates unhealthy moments of binging as well as self destruction. And that self destruction is created by not having a healthy school/game life balance.

In the end, the goal with creating a safe and healthy balance between school and gaming when going back to school, is to make sure you have a foundation for both sides of the coin. As the saying goes, all work and no play makes jack a dull boy, all play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.

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