One of the regular reasons wargamers often give for not indulging our hobbies is work, be that the type that earns money or the type that keep the house running. Many of us are busy trying to hold down a decent job - sometimes two! - just to make ends meet. And when we aren't making money for 'the Man' we have a list of household chores as long as your arm to deal with. Finding time to play with our toys can often be hard to justify. I'm sure most of us can cite many moments when the 'work/life balance' has tipped a little too far in favour of work and most of us can cope with that in the short term. But when this goes on without an end in sight it can be detrimental to our mental and physical health. I'm a firm believer in hobbies being an effective remedy for stress.
Grab a dictionary (or Google) and it will give a definition of meditation that will probably read something like this; the act of focusing ones mind for a period of time, in silence or with the aid of chanting or music, for spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation. Well that pretty much sounds like a typical painting session to me. I get 'in the zone' by blocking out distractions such as the TV by listening to music. Some people find the sound of talking soothing and enjoy listening to Pod casts while they paint. The effect is the same as meditation, its about cancelling out other distractions and bringing focus to the hear and now.
Now having expounded the benefits of gaming as a means of stress relief I have to say the last few months have been a bit spartan in terms of painting and gaming for me. The reasons have been many, varied and often hard to define. The summer holidays are always a hard time to fit games in as many of our group have busy summer schedules. I've also missed several games with The Rejects and the last two games have had to be cancelled at the last minute. In fact I was supposed to have a game today but this has had to be cancelled because our glorious leader, host and umpire Postie is feeling under the weather. It can't be helped but I was rather looking forward to a game today and I have been talked into going shopping with the wife instead (eek!).
I've lost count how many times I have written about a slump in hobby activity but I know that the next few months will see things turned around. Over the winter we have the Analogue Painting Challenge and I'm trying to prepare as bast I can for that. I have a lot of figures that need to be mounted and primed before the starting pistol fires so I will be cracking on with this process in the next few days. I also have a bit of holiday time scheduled so hopefully as well as painting I can get a couple of games in with the Young Padawan. I may even get a few Solo games in, something I haven't indulged in much before. It'll be interesting to see if I can outwit myself... everyone else does.
I think we all go through this but I think you have put your heart into this post.ReplyDelete
Thank you. Been here before and no doubt will again but things always pick up eventually. I think I got a lot done in the first six months of the year so the second half is just redressing the balance.Delete
I couldn't agree more Lee, the hobby has become an integral part of the balance. Even when I feel too tired to paint or blog, I find just thinking about it quite beneficial and then of course there is the retail side of things. I wasn't able to get any games in recently and suddenly found myself buying an AT-AT model - goodness knows what I am going to do with it, but it certainly cheered me up.ReplyDelete
Some days thinking about my hobby is all I can manage. I've had a few impulse purchases like that...hell its only money, and our hobby is cheaper than many so we can afford it.Delete
excellent topic, excellent thought provoking insight :-)ReplyDelete
Funnily enough, "Uncle Atom" did a YouTube vid on this idea of painting figures as a form of meditation a week or two ago. I definitely find it relaxing and a great way of relieving stress. Except, perhaps, during the Challenge when there is a degree of pressure to get things completed.ReplyDelete
Sorry to hear that you've missed so many games with the Rejects.
I was really looking forward to the game today but poor ol Postie really did sound quite rough when he called me last night.Delete
Fully concur and can appreciate your thoughts, Lee. Sometimes, everyday "trials and tribulations" seem to put me into a state of shock - so much so that the hobby-related thoughts are pushed away. However, once I do get over the initial "shock", returning to the hobby (be it painting or hosting a game) can be very rewarding - physically and mentally rejuvenating, in fact.ReplyDelete
I once heard a psychologist say that people can handle a fixed amount of stress per day. The levels vary from person to person and day to day but he was effectively saying we have a finite amount of bandwidth for everyday stress. Hobbies and relaxation techniques enable us to cancel out some stress and increase our resilience to new stresses.Delete
I, too, have been in an inactivity rut for some time due to work pressures/ insomnia etc. But, I am trying to do even 15 minutes a few times a week on "stuff" and aiming for small, solo games..ReplyDelete
Foot note: I suppose though, this is, after all, a hobby and not a duty or obligation and, as long as you still enjoy it - however little you actually do or achieve is fine...Delete
I'll always enjoy my hobby and it never feel like its a chore. Finding time isn't always easy but every minute spent tinkering with models, planning games or answering comments on the blog is an important part of a regime that I feel ensures good mental health.Delete
Painting as meditation - oh yes. Hands occupied, mind occupied, but not consciously puzzling / worrying / planning / analyzing. Very much the role it plays for me. And hobby generally is the one thing where there are no external obligations.ReplyDelete
Agreed. Its the same for any hobby whether that is rebuilding an old car, gardening or (in my wifes case) sewing. The act of using ones hands and concentrating on a challenging task is an excellent way to strip away the burdens of the day.Delete
Yep. This hobby is a great thing to balance all the other Bullshit in our lives.ReplyDelete
...and there's plenty of it after all. I do sometimes wonder if 21st century humans have become soft or if modern life is as crappy as we think it is. Then I turn on the news and realise "yes" it really is a pile of poo! Which is why I often espouse the benefits of turning off the TV and getting stuck into a hobby.Delete
I'm absolutely with you on the de-stressing aspect of modelling/painting. I just can't take meditation seriously (seems like an utter waste of time for me (with emphasis on "for me" - if it works for somebody else then that is good for them)) when I find other ways to actually do something productive while getting most the same benefit.ReplyDelete
Been arguing that with a meditation-freak who just can't think that there is anything as good as meditation and that everyone in the world should meditate. Yeah, sure.
Had a good laugh at your mindfulness experience :-)
Our Mindfulness coach had us contemplating the shape, texture and smell of a Raisin as a tool for meditation. I nearly burst out laughing when he asked us to "listen to the Raisin"... Maybe I wasn't taking the experience seriously?Delete
Who could take that seriously? hahaha. Priceless! Got tears in my eyes from laughing.