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Amira's Journal


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Day 1

Hi, I'm Jeewoong. Call me Amira.

I'm an undergraduate computer science major in the states and I've been gaming since middle school. There have been times when gaming wasn't an issue. However, this only happened under my parents' supervision. Furthermore, whenever my mood worsened due to depression, gaming became my escape. Now I've mostly dealt with depression through ongoing medication and therapy, but gaming still prevents me from working towards my goals.

As recently as before school shut down, I was able to game two hours per day while getting good grades in classes. It all crumbled when the quarantine hit. My friends that used to provide me support all went back home. I live alone in my dorm due to travel restrictions and it's all up to me to get up every day, eat, take classes online, do homework, and do housework. I've been quite bad at keeping up with these basic necessities. My sleep schedule is incredibly irregular, which makes it hard to focus, which makes me default to gaming all night, which makes my sleep worse.

I know that gaming - along with Youtube - is my fallback whenever my daily routine falls off. That's why I should stop gaming. Even if gaming is not a major issue, I have dreamed of doing research as a living for years, and I feel responsible to at least give it a try. If gaming keeps on sucking up my time, it definitely won't happen.

This is my initial plan on how to replace the two major needs that gaming was fulfilling in my life:

1. Competition & intellectual stimulation.

I was a competitive player in Standard Hearthstone and Hearthstone Battlegrounds, having made it to top 100 ranked. I also competed in collegiate league. It's intellectually stimulating to try to get good at a strategy game as well. Luckily, the replacement is quite straightforward. LeetCode runs regular competitions, so that's a source of competition and short-term goals as a CS major. The preparation process also helps me get better in my field as an added bonus.

2. Entertainment

I used to breed exotic pets as a hobby, and unfortunately I can't do that while in college. I want to get back into reading more, which I used to love. I'm fortunate to live in an era where ebooks are a thing while quarantined. I also have three unread paper books lying around. I should get onto that starting today.

I also want to spend about an hour every day writing for my blog. I blog about minimalism, technology, lifestyle, and media. Please check it out if you're interested! This journal thread can be more informal and more frequent, while blog posts can be more polished pieces published less frequently. While I have been blogging already recently, I want to spend more time more consistently on a daily basis to really hone my writing skills, a craft I love. I hope a more consistent practice improves my level of output.

I quit all forms of social media some time ago, and I also only plan to follow a select few quality Youtube channels. Instead, my media consumption will mostly come in the form of hand-picked email newsletters from my favorite science publications and some manga, anime, and movies. The more I game, I notice, the more I feel visual medium are boring. It's so hard to sit through a movie when I'm used to playing hearthstone with Youtube open as picture-in-picture! With gaming gone from my life, I hope I get the joy back from slower forms of media.

I'm kind of torn on tuning into my favorite team's Overwatch League games. On one hand, it might make me crave Overwatch. On the other hand, it only happens during the weekends once every few weeks, and I feel it's an okay form of popcorn entertainment to allow myself. What do you think?

Finally, I want to spend more time cooking better food for myself. Now that I'm self-quarantined, I need to cook all meals by myself, a task I've been doing out of necessity rather than enjoyment. I want to spend time cooking more delicious food. I've got to figure out how to make better food that can easily be meal prepped, as I'm limiting my groceries to once a week.

The last thing that I should be doing to stay healthy in this time and age is working out at home. However, I think it's too drastic of a step to start working out as well. I presume it would be a better idea to stop gaming first, let myself get used to it, and then make more changes to improve my life.

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Hello Amira, welcome to the forums. I'll have to checkout your blog later. I'm glad you joined up it sounds like you want to stop gaming to focus on other areas of your life. That's no small feat you got to top 100 rank of hearthstone. I'm sure you'll be able to find other outlets for competition are possibly even more satisfying. The general consensus on streams is not to watch them because they can be tempting. Some will say they count as gaming even. I personally don't watch them. I hope your gamequitting goes well. I suggest counting your days, ie: Day 1 ..... it's motivating for some people.

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@Erik2.0 You're right, it's probably for the best that I stay away from OWL.

Day 2

I had weekly therapy session today. I'm becoming more and more emotional in these sessions. I guess that's a good thing.

I also deleted all of my gaming accounts. It's going to make it harder to go back!

I got cravings to play Hearthstone right after waking up and checking my inbox. That had been my habit: wake up -> go to comupter -> check inbox -> play a few games of Hearthstone while eating breakfast. It's an automatic reflex that I'll have to be aware of and overcome.

Nothing much happened, so today's update is going to be short.

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Welcome to the forums! You've joined at a very interesting time in history with the pandemic. I've written about how to stay strong during the quarantine here if you have not read it yet: Quitting Games During COVID19

I've also written a post about how I've managed to quit games for over 500 days now. It might help you. Relapses are inevitable, but the self research and determination along with kindness can lead to lots of success: 500+ days without gaming

Good luck!

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3 hours ago, BooksandTrees said:

Relapses are inevitable

I think that this is very important. Relapses do happen. And that is not so much about the end result of not playing for a particular amount of days as it is about the things, which you will learn on the way.

On 4/3/2020 at 10:55 PM, Amira said:

I also deleted all of my gaming accounts. It's going to make it harder to go back!

Very important step! Not only because it makes it harder to go back, but also as a proof for yourself that you are not a gamer anymore. Because people without gaming accounts are not gamers. So now you can build that up and not only show yourself that you are not a gamer anymore, but also show yourself, who you are instead or more important: Who you want to become instead. Keep it up!

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 Welcome to the forum! I have mentioned it in several posts not but I do believe this is the best time to quit. If you can go on with life without gaming during these harder times, once life gets back to normal it will be only easier to not play video games and try even more new hobbies which are unavailable these days. 

On 4/3/2020 at 9:55 PM, Amira said:

I got cravings to play Hearthstone right after waking up and checking my inbox. That had been my habit: wake up -> go to computer -> check inbox -> play a few games of Hearthstone while eating breakfast. It's an automatic reflex that I'll have to be aware of and overcome.

I would recommend changing your morning routine so that you avoid the ques of your old habit which will help avoiding cravings for Hearthstone. 

Edited by Marek
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Thank you all for your warm welcome!

6 hours ago, Marek said:

I would recommend changing your morning routine so that you avoid the ques of your old habit which will help avoiding cravings for Hearthstone. 

That's a good idea. Even if I don't play games, my old habit of turning on my PC the first thing after waking up can lead to excessive web browsing. I'm going to change my morning routine to breakfast, meditate, do my MIT of coding practice, and only then check my email and get working on homework. Most of these things I've been doing already, it just took a long time as I was half doing my morning routine and half on my computer. I'm also going to check my newsfeed in the evening instead of in the morning.

Day 2 & 3

I missed my journal yesterday as I fell asleep early. Yesterday, I made an important change to block all gaming and entertainment related websites on my PC. Instead, I set up my iPad as my sole entertainment consumption device. That way I can signal to myself that sitting in front of my PC is only for getting work done, and grabbing my iPad at the end of the day is a way to relax, watch movies, read books and news.

I feel this measure is necessary during self-quarantine, as I'm spending all of my day in a single room. As such, it's impossible to tell my brain that I'm working on campus and resting at dorm. I've decided to separate the two contexts by using two devices.

At the time of writing this, I've meditated and done most of my morning routine; it took a bit long due to helping my SO with some technical difficulties. During meditation session - which I used to do some time ago but fell off - I noticed some thoughts about gaming. However, by the time I quit gaming, it had become a negative experience due to burnout that I don't miss it that much.

@BooksandTrees I read your posts. I think it's a good idea to write down here why I gamed, why I quit gaming, and my cues like you did. So here we go.

Why I used to game.

1. It used to be fun some long time ago.

2. It was my only way to improve at something through my own volition without someone else telling me to do it.

3. Competition is thrilling and rewarding.

4. It's engaging to roleplay in imaginary worlds and characters.

5. It helped me ignore my overdue IRL responsibilities.

6. It helped me survive through depressive episodes.

7. It gave me a sense of identity.

8. It made it easy to make friends IRL.

9. It was an easy way to pass time without being bored.

Why I quit gaming.

1. It's taking up too much time every day. It's difficult to limit time gaming.

2. I have career aspirations and personal dreams which can never be accomplished if I'm gaming.

3. I no longer have fun gaming; it makes my mood worse due to frustration, monotony and toxicity.

4. I can't give people important to me my full attention if I'm distracted by thoughts about gaming.

5. I'm spending too much money on microtransactions which could be used elsewhere, like investing, improving my QoL, and charity.

6. Gaming (alongside excessive Youtube bignes and web browsing) makes it difficult for me to focus. As someone who's dreamed of being an academic my whole life, inability to focus is a career killer.

7. Gaming saps all motivation to get basic necessities in life done.

8. Gaming dulls my emotions, which impedes my recovery on my mental health issues.

My cues for gaming cravings.

1. Any gaming related media. (Solution: Blocked with browser extension. Youtube feed is blocked with Distraction Free Youtube. Only subscribed to a few educational channels.)

2. Turning on my PC and sitting in front of it. (Solution: Only get on my computer after reminding myself exactly what I will do on it.)

3. Boredom. (Solution: When bored, grab my iPad and read something instead. Or just chillax. Listen to music. Enjoy my previlige to be able to survive without working all day.)

4. Uncertainty on what to do at the moment. Default fallback is gaming. (Solution: Schedule the day in time blocks.)

Edited by Guest
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Day 4

I'm making sure to meditate and do some at-home bodyweight workout before starting the day so that I can stay healthy during quarantine.

I fell asleep very late yesterday and woke up late today as well. I think waking up at the same time every day might be a better solution for maintaining a healthy sleep schedule, rather than going to bed at the same time. (I've always struggled with falling asleep.)

I am behind on some homework, so the next few days will be focused on catching up. I have to prepare for math midterm as well. However, I'll still probably make some time tonight to write a post I've drafted in my head.

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