It’s funny how a few days ago I didn’t know such a word existed in the first place! Until I stumbled across it on a Ted talk as I was aimlessly watching YouTube, of course that's what you do when deadlines are peaking around the corner, and you are seeking the impossible comfort by actively exercising procrastination.
It is utterly strange how a single word has ended up significantly shifting the way I perceived the obstacle course I was facing over the last few weeks. Not only my perception has changed, my terminology has too “obstacle course instead of a challenge or a problem”, so now I am a changed woman!
It is incredible how all the quietly subtle changes, mind and soul growth takes place at that deep level and we still remain looking relatively the same at the surface.Coming from someone who used to deny, and fight change relentlessly, I can finally admit loudly, change is good! It’s a blessing and a sign for an exponential mindset growth.
Going back to the “gamification” concept, which is quite simple, it compares two incredibly different points of views focusing on achieving the same objective, for example, a childs view compared to an adults view. The child version of us would make literally countless attempts to reach the desired goal, frustration is inevitable with the frequency of attempts, yet quitting the game is not really a viable option to consider, only adjusting course and more importantly, there is no shame nor guilt associated with all the failed attempts!
In contrast, our older more sophisticated adult version is extremely complicated and unfortunately not in a positive manner, as we tend to overthink pretty much everything. We tend to allow unreasonable fear to hold us hostage in our own mind, fill us with doubts regarding every step we plan to take and amplify our sense of shame and guilt of any remotely possible failure; until we shrink to a miniature version of ourselves that is barely classified as a state of living. Though, that is the plain definition, plus my personal interpretation of life gamification concept, but how I did manage to implement some of its aspects to my life at a critical time, when the deadlines of my university assignment were staring right at me and a new variant of Covid-19 had just entered the already nebulous scene and turned every little hope of soon to come normality upside down again.
Survival guide of the deadlines game
First essential tip is to avoid over thinking at any cost, use positive affirmations as a prerequisite to set the tone of your self-talk that runs through your mind, in order to control it at any given moment of the day, until it becomes second nature and you believe what you think of yourself, so be wary and very selective of your thoughts.
Confront your fears head on by playing the worst case scenario game, it will make you breathe much easier to know unless it is a life-or-death matter, everything else can be rectified. Here are some tips and tricks I have personally tried, tested, enjoyed and I can confidently say it has benefited my mental health and wellbeing immensely during one of the most challenging times of my life, so you have my word.
It is of great importance to stay connected to your mental power sources, to people who matter to you the most, where you get unconditional support which will result in charging your mental health and overall wellbeing battery.
Social media outlets such as Facebook, Insta or WhatsApp are great sources of connections at the moment, so use them to your advantage. My WhatsApp call record has definitely increased during the last few weeks, as I used to call my mother and sisters back home, almost every day and I would bore them with the details of my tasks, but they would listen patiently and encourage me with their kind words and prayers, and that gave me both comfort and relief just to know your far away loved ones can still somehow be close by your side; when you need them the most.
Moreover, maintaining communications with your cohort is also vital also, stay in touch with your close circle of friends who are on the same boat as you are, so whenever someone is tired of rowing another can step in and keep the boat floating above the water, and the spirit from sinking into hopelessness.
Find something that brings an instant burst of joy to your heart, it could be a song that makes you smile and move your feet before you think, even if you are like me (I always think of the kid’s story Giraffes can’t dance) and dancing is not your best quality, it works like magic every time, and it makes my little sunshine laugh her head off at my unrhythmic moves. Our favourite song for the past year, without any hesitation is ‘Can't stop the feeling’ by Justin Timberlake from the Trolls movie. I honestly cannot tell you how many times we have played it, all through the first lockdown, second wave, long summer days with no holiday and social distancing restrictions and current lockdown and every time without fail, we have moved and laughed from the bottom of our hearts.
Sit back and reflect, not in a harsh, or judgmental way, just in a purely subjective manner to take it all in and consider it a lesson, then ask yourself what went well, what didn’t, how am I feeling now and what would I do differently next time.
Only then are we ready to move forward, not with extra useless baggage or fears, but with stronger mentality and wisdom of the accumulated past experiences, that would help us make better judgments from this point on, to the next level, game, journey or adventure, call it what you will but remember, however you choose to look at it, full ownership is a must.
Alshaymaa Muhammed is a second year Public Health student at the University of East London.
Note: 'Student Blog' articles highlight the student perspective on issues relating to ProtectED. Consequently, this article reflects the views of the author and not ProtectED.