Animal Crossing, What it’s About and Why I Love It

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Animal Crossing is one of my favorite game series. I love it because it’s charming, relaxing, laid back, and can be played endlessly as there’s really no beginning or end/complex story line, which may sound unappealing to some but I find it to be wonderful and freeing, giving players the ability really make the town their own.

I had never played an Animal Crossing game until I bought New Leaf, and instantly fell in love.  It’s a series that began all the way back in 2001.  Somehow, I never heard much about it, probably because I wasn’t seriously into gaming aside from the Pokemon titles until a couple years ago.  In AC New Leaf, you become the mayor of a town full of Animal characters.  As the mayor, you have many duties such as keeping up with maintaining the environment (pulling weeds, watering/planting flowers, disposing of any garbage found), doing tasks requested by the villagers which may include things like getting them a certain type of fruit, fish, bug, or piece of furniture.  You also get to do public works projects which are different features you can fund to be put into your town like water fountains, bridges, windmills, and many others.  Another responsibility as mayor is enacting town ordinances.

As the mayor you get to have your own house and expand it by paying off home loans from a character named Tom Nook.  To do this you can sell fruit, fish, sea shells, fossils, and any items you acquire throughout the game.  That’s another amazing aspect, there are SO many different items, wallpapers/flooring and furniture that can be used to decorate one’s home.  Another task is bringing fish, fossils, bugs, and pieces of art to the town museum run by an owl named Blathers.

There’s endless possibilities to make the town and your home into whatever theme or style you want.  It’s the most laid back game I’ve ever played, and the music is very relaxing.  I often find myself playing to relieve anxiety and stress, which from what I’ve read many others experience mental health benefits from playing.

After falling in love with New Leaf I discovered there was another AC available for the DS previously released called Wild World.  I’ve been playing around with that one and it’s a lot of fun as well.  The new AC game (titled New Horizons) for the Nintendo Switch was announced last week at E3. It’s not being released until March 20th, 2020 but I believe it’s definitely worth the wait.  The trailer/gameplay looks wonderful and I’m looking forward to playing when it’s released.  It happens to be coming out on International Happiness Day, not sure if that was intended or not but it certainly fits as Animal Crossing brings happiness to many. 🙂

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What’s Been Helping My Anxiety Lately

So, I’ve been actively working on combating my anxiety/panic.  So far I haven’t needed my prn anti-anxiety med in about a week.  I was having really bad panic attacks for awhile.

I’ve been drinking less beverages with caffeine (coffee, tea) and more water, that’s certainly helped I’m sure.  Praying the Rosary is very helpful as well, I had been meaning to get a new rosary for awhile and finally got one recently.  I think that the prayers being repetitive and having something to physically hold and move makes it very relaxing. I used to pray it every night and it was always a nice peaceful time.

Music is another thing that’s helped.  My friend recommended some really good headphones for me to buy since I was interested in finally getting something with good sound quality.  When I put my headphones on and turn my on my music it completely cancels out any outside noise which is great.

Something else I’ve been doing (now that my concentration has improved) is reading.  I’m a huge book lover and used to read upwards of 70 books or more a year.  Now that I can focus I’ve been getting into some good books that have been on my to-read list for awhile.  Nothing is more relaxing than a cup of tea and a good book (and my cats purring next to me!) Right now I’m reading “My Lovely Wife” by Samantha Downing.  I won an ARC of it from a Goodreads  giveaway awhile back.  It was described as “Dexter (one of my favorite shows!) meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith), so I was definitely interested and happy to win it.  It’s out now by the way, if anyone wants to read it, it was released at the end of last month.

I’ve been drawing again and doing other arts and crafts, coloring, etc.

And, lastly, walking.  Just walking anywhere around town, it helps clear my mind and the weather has been pretty nice.  🙂

Late Night Baking

I have classes tomorrow but I decided to bake cookies because I got inspired and just felt like it. 😋🍪 I might end up having to stay up the rest of the night, don’t trust myself to wake up on time tomorrow.

Anyway, I ended up making sugar cookies with a glaze and sprinkles, I had a lot of fun making them. Cooking is so relaxing to me. Creating something that looks nice and tastes good makes me feel great. ❤️

What Helps Me When Anxious

Lately I’ve had a lot of severe anxiety but I’ve been able to cope with it pretty well.  Here’s some of the things that have helped me:

  1. Journaling:  Last night I couldn’t sleep and my mind was racing so I got up and started writing in my journal, just about everything going on in my mind.  Normally when I journal it’s just to write about what’s been going on in my life and I’ve never really used as a coping skill during an actual problem with anxiety or anything else.  It was a good experience and I’m wondering why I never used it that way before.  I just kept writing until I calmed down eventually.  I like documenting things going on in my life but this was really helpful for releasing anxiety onto paper.
  2. Videogames: I love playing games and the other night I was panicking so I decided to play Lord of the Rings LEGO on my 3DS.  It was so relaxing! I play wide array of games but I think my top games to play when trying to relax would be Animal Crossing and any of the LEGO games.   Some games are too stimulating for that purpose and more complex, which I enjoy but they aren’t as helpful when trying to reduce panic because it requires too much concentration.
  3. Drawing or Coloring: I love drawing and coloring, and I don’t do it often enough.  I think it was maybe last week I was really having a hard time sleeping so I got my sketch book out and started doodling some zentangle stuff while listening to music.  It’s a nice way to be creative and keep my hands busy.
  4. Praying: I’m Catholic, so I find praying the Rosary to be calming.  It’s repetitive and a good way to meditate, plus the beads feel nice to hold and help keep track of the prayers.  I feel like I’m holding onto my faith physically when I pray with rosary beads.

I’ve noticed a lot of the anxiousness happens at night and the four things that have been most helpful all involve using my hands (holding pencils, the rosary, video game).  I’m not really sure why I get so anxious towards the evening.  It’s a lot worse when I haven’t slept the previous night.  I get hyper aware of everything, especially my heartbeat and I start thinking I’m dying.  I’m proud of myself for taking action and distracting myself when these things happen because I had a tendency in the past to just get consumed by it and freak out even more.  Meditating while closing my eyes used to help me but for some reason it causes me to have the physical sensation that I’m flying or on a roller coaster blindfolded when I do which makes things worse.  I’ve been wondering about other hobbies I could get into that could be helpful as well.  I know a lot of people enjoy crocheting, maybe I’ll try that someday.