Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Isolation Stress and Hobbying

I previously wrote an article talking about some pointers in how to get prepared for hobbying during isolation. We're a few weeks into it now and I have a few more thoughts on how best to handle it and the mounting guilt you may be feeling about your pile of shame.

As hobbyists many of us have what we call our "pile of shame," or our giant backlog of unfinished projects. With most of us stuck inside for the moment it seems like the perfect opportunity to get caught up on some of that. That's certainly how I looked at it. I definitely have a bit of a back log; more Nurgle stuff, Tzeentch stuff, Morathi, more Nighthaunt stuff, random odds and ends, and an entire Bonereapers force mostly still in shrink warp. It almost feels like too great of an opportunity to get caught up on it all and that's where I hit my first hurdle.

I almost feel obliged to get caught up as much of it as I can. As in, I have all this stuff to work on and all this time. If I don't complete at least one whole new project during this time then was I utilizing my time efficiently? This brings on a sense of guilt. I've also had the problem of deciding what to work on. I would really like to get my Nurgle stuff caught up and I'm genuinely enjoying working on it, but at the same time the hobby butterfly in me is saying "Ooo, look at those Underworlds warbands, that would be a nice one off project," or "How about some 40k?" or "Let's do a Contrast Paint project."

Display model circa 2013

It's all a bit much all at once and it starts to make me feel, well, flustered I guess. It's hard to pin a feeling on it, but it can feel like I NEED to stay laser focused to make the most of this time, but wouldn't making the most of this time also involve expanding my painting skills, or tackling new projects? I've also considered maybe doing a true display piece. It's been a few years since I've painted something solely for a painting competition or display that wasn't also pulling double duty in a tabletop army.

Stressed out Stock Image guy probably shouldn't be outside

All of this is on top of the daily stress of just living through this time. The stress of just dealing with the virus situation as a whole is a lot, just psychologically. I did not enjoy having to go out to the grocery store the other day. I felt like I needed to burn my clothes when I got home. I can't even imagine the stress for those who are deemed essential workers, let alone the health care workers. This is an unusual time for everyone and it's not fair to think of it as normal free time.

I think the best way I can think of it is something I read regarding working from home right now. You're not working from home during a pandemic, you're at home during a public health emergency trying to work. It's two completely different things. This is not normal. The same applies for our hobby. This isn't the same as having a Saturday free to hobby all day of your own choice. We're all at home during a scary global pandemic, not of our own volition, using our hobby as something to entertain and distract us.

It's not fair to put any more stress on yourself about it. Have goals and aspirations on what you want to accomplish, that's perfectly fine. Goals help me get stuff done. At the same time though, don't make yourself feel bad about not getting as much done as you planned. Did you plan on trying to fit in a whole new army, but only got a quarter of it done, or a few models here and there or whatever? That's fine! This is, for lack of a better word, therapy for us at the moment. This is how we're dealing with the pandemic. This is something I need to constantly remind myself about too, so don't feel bad if you forget.

TLDR: We're not hobbying at home during a global pandemic, we're at home, sheltering from a global pandemic, trying to hobby. Take breaks, be a hobby butterfly, get lost in a video game, or don't even hobby at all. Do whatever makes you happy and don't feel bad about it. There's no reason to add more guilt and stress to yourself then what we're all already feeling. Don't let your pile of shame make you feel like you're not accomplishing things. Every moment spent doing something you enjoy is worthwhile, no matter the end output. Now, I just need to go remind myself about that again as I contemplate trying to do a 1,000 point Stormcast army during this time...

Until next time,

Tyler M.

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