Every time I start a new blog post draft on here, it feels like the sacrament of reconciliation. It’s been _____ months since my last confession. To be fair, I’ve been really, really busy.
In the past month, I…
– gave a keynote speech for the National Association of Asian American Professionals – DFW
– started coaching a Public Voices Fellowship with The OpEd Project and UIndy
– did a live podcast interview with the Janchi show
– led a research cluster discussion at SMU on Asian American studies/perspectives
… while balancing a full-time job, part-time contract work, a non-profit organization, historical research, and an online publication. Your girl is tired.
My therapist recently asked me to describe my work/life balance. I started laughing. She did not reciprocate. We realized I need to work on prioritizing rest and self-care. Establishing boundaries. Scheduling time to truly be off-the-clock.
ENTER: Cozy Gaming
One of the recreational activities I love doing in my non-working hours is playing video games. But I usually play first-person shooter games that end up making me even more anxious than before. Then I discovered a new (to me) genre: cozy gaming.
Cozy games, like the highly-popular Animal Crossing, encourage players to take their time. Enjoy the small things. Relax with calming music and aesthetic visuals. My game of choice? Cozy Grove.
Cozy Grove is described by the publisher as “a life-sim game about camping on a haunted, ever-changing island. As a Spirit Scout, you’ll wander the island’s forest each day, finding new hidden secrets and helping soothe the local ghosts.”
The compelling feature of Cozy Grove is its real-world time syncing. Each day, you are given between 30-60 minutes of new quest content. But after you finish, you’re basically done until tomorrow. This style (though frustrating when I want to grind) is actually really helpful for people with an addictive personality, like me, who tend to lose track of time playing video games. It offers a welcome, relaxing distraction without derailing my entire day.
A few weeks ago, I began setting my alarm clock one hour earlier every morning. I make my coffee and sit down to play Cozy Grove on my Nintendo Switch before checking any emails or opening my laptop. It’s been so nice to start the day this way. I look forward to waking up and seeing what new quests are in store for me. And then I feel accomplished when I finish the short, in-game task list and carry that confidence into the work day.
Sundays, which I used to treat like extra work days to schedule appointments or events, are now sacred cozy time. I put on my fuzzy Crocs, light a Brennan candle, make my coffee, and explore my virtual island.