Self-Care: Restoring Your Shields

I’ve been playing Destiny 2 almost every day since it came out.  I would be lying if I said that my little disappearing act lately wasn’t at least partly related to the fact that I have been obsessed with this game for the last month.  It came at a pretty fortunate time, as I was starting to realize that I needed to take some time for self-care.  Between updating this site, my day job, and planning a wedding; there is a lot of stress in my life these days!

Self-care means recovering from the wear and tear of life. Here's how to keep your shields up!

What is Self-Care

In games like Destiny, Halo, and really any sort of futuristic Sci-Fi game, there is some sort of overshield that protects the player from dying after a single hit.  It’s a convenient explanation for why you can take an explosion to the face and survive unmangled.  But it also creates a great visual metaphor for taking care of yourself.  Sure, you’re probably not blasting alien invaders with a shotgun or anything, but every day brings challenges and stress; self-care is how you keep your shield up!

Why Self-Care is Important

Regardless of what we would all love to believe, we can only take so much stress.  Our bodies release chemicals that give us a temporary boost in ability at the cost of our long-term health.  And it doesn’t matter if it’s “good” or “bad” stress; our bodies don’t know the difference between planning a wedding and navigating a merger.  (Although I suppose in many ways they’re similar…)  Stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, tear down the body’s defenses to provide a temporary boost to our natural abilities.  The longer we stay in stress, the more damage gets done to our systems.

This is where self-care comes in.  When we get through a stressful situation (like beating a raid encounter after 3 hours of banging your head again), the stress doesn’t just instantly dissipate.  We need to recover from it.  What that recovery looks like will be different for everyone, but the signs are largely the same.  Irritability, lack of motivation, depression, anxiety, and host of other issues are signals that something isn’t being taken care of.

How Self-Care Works

To use my earlier example, stress does damage over time, which gradually wears down your “over-shield”, and recovery requires you to remove yourself from the attack so that your shield can restore itself.  Read a book, play a game, or go for a walk.  Talk to someone you trust about what’s bothering you.

Self-care is not just about relaxing.  It’s about recovery; taking the time to rest from a stressor does not necessarily mean to take a nap.  You don’t quit the level every time your shield goes down, you adjust your approach.  The same goes for life!

Don’t expect the same thing to work every time, though.  Sometimes the mechanics switch up, so that cover spot isn’t going to be safe anymore.  If it doesn’t, don’t worry about it.  Just try something different!

What helps restore your shields?  I would love to hear your favorite self-care tactics!

Destiny and Destiny 2 are copyrighted works and belong to Bungie and Activision.  Imagery is taken from promotional materials.

Joey Mowery

I am a blogger, artist, hipster, and wannabe renaissance man. I use video games and pop culture as a means to educate others on mental health and relationship topics.

Share your thoughts!