It can often be hard to find ways to manage or curb your anxiety. Here are four fandom-related methods I use to work through it.
Playing low-stakes games
While I’ve always been a fairly prolific gamer, I’m self-aware enough to know that anything high-stakes — such as anything PvP, with a time limit, or with huge consequences — tend to heighten my stress and feed into my anxiety. But I’ve found that there are few things more settling for my soul than completing simple, mundane, or gentle tasks in a game with very few stakes in them.
My go-to for this exact reason is Stardew Valley. A farming simulator in a quaint pixel-art style, you take charge of your grandfather’s farm after he passes and go about your day-to-day life, fixing it up to its former glory. While there are aspects of the game that include combat, they’re not mandatory, and it can be incredibly calming to spend a few hours just watering crops, collecting foragables, fishing, and generally getting to know the other townsfolk. (It also has an incredibly helpful and flourishing community, most notably on reddit!)
There are other games in the same vein that have also scratched this same anxiety-reducing itch for me — Early Access title Littlewood is similar in tone and feeling, but there are also games like Moonlighter, My Time at Portia, Voodoo Garden, Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp, World’s Dawn, and even Pokemon Go. If you search around a little, you’ll almost certainly find something that fits your bill.
Watching YouTube videos
When I had one of my most devastating anxiety breaks a few years back, one of the ways I managed to curb it best was by watching YouTube videos. My first port-of-call was watching The Sim Supply build incredible structures and homes in The Sims 4 — and his commentary, in particular, fit the bill for lowering my anxiousness. The Sim Supply is very easy to listen to, and coupled with the step-by-step nature of building in The Sims, ended up giving me something stabilizing.
Other options — though these may not be for everyone — are cooking shows, like SORTEDFood, Buzzfeed’s Tasty, and Worth It, but also repaints of dolls. Yeah, it might seem a little out there, but there is a whole community of YouTubers who take base dolls and repaint them as anything from Disney characters to Pokemon. It’s a fascinating way to lose yourself for 20 minutes at a time, and I’ve managed to center myself watching them more than once, when my anxiety has managed to get difficult to deal with.
(Oh, and there’s always the Try Guys, who are a definite favorite of many of us here on Hypable.)
Fandom coloring books were all the rage not too long ago, but there is a reason why so many of us swear by them: it really does work. And it is not just the repetitive motion and satisfaction of coloring within the lines. I have also found that sitting down and sharpening the set of colored pencils that I use has served a similar purpose.
But there really is a wealth of content when it comes to finding the right coloring book for you. You can stick with the classics, like Harry Potter or Doctor Who, or branch out in Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings, The Dark Crystal, Game of Thrones, or even The Mortal Instruments.
I’ve personally worked my way through several coloring books over the last few years. And I still find myself reaching for one when I need a break from my screen or even just to work through any of the anxieties that might crop up from my being online.
Podcasts have been a huge anxiety and stress reducer for me, especially when I’m driving to new places. Having a conversation happening around me, from people with like-minded interests, can take my mind off whatever has been making me stressed or anxious. Mileage, of course, will vary on the sort of podcasts you might want to seek out. Hypable has a network of different ones available, spanning everything from Star Wars to ReWatchable. But you can find one for just about anything! Personally, I listen to a lot of ones related to ice hockey, both covering the team I support or otherwise.
But if podcasts aren’t your thing, audio books work equally as well. Audible has a wide-range of books available, and if you’re finding it difficult to read or concentrate on words, but know diving into a steadfast favorite story would help, listening to it in audio book format can be a good way to bypass that issue.