I’m not really a television person. If there’s something I want to watch like a film or drama then I’ll record it and watch it at my leisure later. The thought of sitting down night after night being spoon-fed ‘entertainment’ in no way appeals to me, especially if it’s reality TV. If I do end up watching TV when I’m stressed then I tend to vent at the telly, which is not relaxing for me or anyone else in the room. For years I’ve distressed by gaming. I really enjoy the levels of interaction I get with PC games, planning a strategy, solving problems and increasingly interacting with others to accomplish joint goals gives me a level of immersion that I really enjoy.
Recently, however, I haven’t gamed as regularly as I used to. This is for number of reasons; I have a young son and family, so now I only game when they are all sorted, when son in bed and my wife is busy doing things she wants to. I also work full time so my only gaming time is a couple of hours in the evening. My duties at work have also changed focus quite significantly. In the past my working week was split around 60% PC work 40% non-PC work, in the last few months this has changed to around 95% PC work and 5% non-PC work. This has effected how I want to spend my spare hours. Although I still love gaming on some nights I just can’t muster the motivation to turn on the PC when I’ve been sat in front of one all day.
So what can I do in these spare hours that I get in the evenings? Well drinking beer is obviously in there but what else? Several years ago I purchased what can best be described as a hoard of “The Lord of the Rings” Games Workshop miniatures. After painting a few goblins they got put away, when I went to University, and never saw the light of day again until recently when I excavated some models and paints from the attic. As I had most of the essentials at hand, unpainted miniatures, paints and brushes I decided that I might as well spend an evening painting some warriors of Rohan and Ringwraiths.
I can honestly say that I enjoyed myself. The end result wasn’t amazing but that, I hope, will come with time. What I really enjoyed was the process of painting, sitting quietly and having your whole mind concentrating on the task at hand. It was that absorbing that I didn’t have the opportunity to think about the stresses and worries of the day. It’s best described as a detox for the mind.
Now I’m not suggesting that everyone should run down to their local Game Workshop and buy a set of orcs, space marines, or miniature Boromir – in his death pose with arrows – as it might not be for them. What I am however, suggesting is that it’s good to do new, creative things, things that take concentration but not too much active thought, painting, sculpting, drawing, sewing or even jewellery making, it doesn’t matter what it is as long as it’s engaging, creative and new. The end product doesn’t have to be amazing as that’s not the point. It’s the process, the chance to dump all the stress out of your mind regularly that is the benefit. Plus you never know you might happen to get good at doing something ‘crafty’.