When we first moved in to our new apartment there were a couple issues we needed to deal with that ended up falling on my shoulders because my husband had to work. I had an embarrassingly difficult time following through with what was some pretty basic shit, struggling at every step throughout, but after much groaning and plenty of tears I got things done all on my own.
Managing the anxiety that surrounded this event took a lot from me, including some weird little self-talk comparing my life to the classic GameBoy game, Pokemon. If you’re unfamiliar, its a game where players catch little creatures, help them grow and evolve, and battle against other players. To gain the experience (or XP) that they need to level up and evolve into stronger Pokemon, they need to win battles. In my mind I was in my own battle and I needed that XP badly if I wanted basic tasks to start getting easier again. And yet, the struggle had been so exhaustingly difficult that by the time I had finished I hardly felt like I deserved any XP at all. I was honestly pretty down with myself for the rest of the day. When my husband came home that night we had a conversation that went something like this:
J: How did it go today?
Me: Terrible. I didn’t want to do it at all. I even told myself that if I made myself do it then I’d earn XP like in Pokemon.
J: That’s a good idea!
Me: Yeah, but it was so hard. I got it done but I shouldn’t get any XP for how much I cried and complained through everything. I sucked.
J: Yeah, maybe. Or maybe that task was way above your skill-level, but you still did it anyways. You got it done. I think you deserve double the XP for that.
This exchange honestly left me stunned, I was so moved by the compassion from my husband. I was an absolute miserable mess for hours before I had to confront this issue, which is probably not an easy thing to deal with right before leaving for work. But he helped me as much as he could beforehand, and he encouraged me like hell afterwards, refusing to let me minimize my own accomplishment. I love him so much for that. It’s what everyone struggling with mental illness deserves from their partners, family, and friends.
A while later my husband pointed out that there is an app called Habitica, which was rather similar to the idea I had used to get me through my anxiety. Offically titled, “Habitica: Gamified Task Manager”, the app store describes it as such, “Treat your life like a game to stay motivated and organized! Habitica makes it simple to have fun while accomplishing goals.”
We both decided to download the free app because my husband is a huge gamer, and we each need some help staying motivated and organized. After about 35 days of use, I’ve managed to be more persistent with keeping up with the app than my husband, but we’ve both gotten better at the tasks we selected to keep track of. I’ve gotten better at daily acts of self-care like eating breakfast and lunch everyday, and at forming new habits, like taking an hour away from my phone, drinking more water, and writing these blogs. One of my favorite endeavors my husband has taken on is taking our picture together each day.
There are a lot of gaming and social features that coordinate to the regular completion of your tasks, but I haven’t explored that as much because I’m trying to focus on just being more consistent at following through with my dailies and habits. Maybe once we both get a bit better at this then my husband and I can delve deeper into the intricacies of Habitica.
Whether you’re really into gaming, or you’re just looking for a new way to hold yourself accountable, I’d highly suggest giving Habitica a try. I have really enjoyed it because just the little boost of positive reinforcement from earning gold or keeping my health up is enough to encourage me to stay on top of my chores or practice self-care even when I don’t really feel like it. Having a partner to compare progress with has been super helpful since it brings out my competitiveness. The social aspects of the app help provide this connection if you don’t have someone in your life to compete with. There are even Guilds you can join, that focus on everything from blogging and procrastinating to dealing with anxiety or learning how to study better. These Guilds suggest tasks to add to your dailies or habits, as well as give encouragement during your journey towards betterment.
Please Note* that this is not an advertisement of any kind, just my opinion on an app I’ve found to help keep me on track while I learn to manage my Generalized Anxiety Disorder. If you decide to try Habitica will you let me know? I’d love to hear how you liked it and if it helped at all. I’d suggest giving it a good month or so, since habits take some time to form. Until then, are there any other apps that have helped you get though difficult tasks or kept you focused and positive? Let me know about them in the comments!
Be well, friends!