Self-isolation tips from an agoraphobiac [Marcos Rants #9]

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World’s gone mad, innit? Alas, these are trying times. As I’m 34 years old, this is sadly not the first pandemic I’ve lived through. It is, however, the most serious. I was alive for, and remember well, the AIDS crisis, the Ebola pandemic, and the SARS pandemic. But I don’t remember ever having to stay home because of them. Sure, I stayed home regardless, as I suffer from anxiety and agoraphobia. But this time, I have to stay home for my own safety, as well as the safety of others. As I’m sure some of you are in a similar situation, but for the first time, I thought I’d share what I do when I have to stay indoors. Hopefully it’ll help you guys out!

PLAY, PLAY, PLAY!

The first thing that I’m doing, is catching up on games. I know that I work at least part-time in the industry, but you’d be surprised just how little time we have to play games for fun. This is obviously a very “good” complaint to have, but as releases dwindle due to the current situation, I’ve been catching up on some stuff I’ve wanted to play for ages. For example, my wife’s sister is home during the national lockdown, so we’ve been playing on the SNES Classic almost every day. We love both coop games and competitive multiplayer games, so we’re going from Contra to Street Fighter II and beyond. When I’m on my own at night, I look for something a bit more mature and personal. This may include revisiting Fallout 3 with my new wide-screen, 29″ monitor, using a STS Bet bonus code to have a flutter, or some Call of Duty: Mobile (which I can play in bed while my wife plays Gordon Ramsey Dash). Overall though, I try to make my gaming activities a social event, so local multiplayer is best. I want to still be in touch with my loved ones.

FACEBOOK, SKYPE, WHATSAPP

Speaking of which: I am calling my parents every day. I already spoke to them daily via Whatsapp, but I’ve been calling them every day to hear their voice and to make sure they know I’m doing well. I cannot overestimate how important it is for your mental health to stay connected to those you love. Before we got married in 2018, my wife and I had a long-distance relationship. From 2011 to 2015, I was in Canada and she was in Paraguay. We came up with tons of ways to do things together. It was much harder back then, but we still played TETRIS FRIENDS [EDIT: OH MY GOD! Tetris Friends is GONE!?] and spoke on Skype for hours every day. Nowadays, there’s even social movie viewing!

NETFLIX PARTY and MORE

Did you know that you can now host your own online viewing party for Netflix? This is something that I dreamed of back in 2011 when Haru and I just met on Twitter. Now, you can visit the Netflix Party website and set up a viewing party for you and your friends (obviously, you must already have a Netflix subscription). The service itself is free, so there’s really no excuse to not give it a shot. I still have family in Canada, and Simon, the Editor in Chief here at Vita Player, is in the UK. I might set up a viewing party with him to catch up on gaming documentaries! This is not the only way to do it, though. There is freely available (and legal) content to consume, should you not have a Netflix subscription. If you want to, you can do it the way I used to do it: just call your family on Skype or Zoom or whatever you want to use, make sure all parties have the film loaded up in their respective computers, and just press play at the same time. If you manage the volumes right, you can even have conversations during the film!

EXERCISE!

Even when in a full lockdown, you can, and must, exercise. When you do physical activity, your body releases endorphins, which are hormones that regulate tons of stuff, including your mood. That’s why all health care specialists urge people suffering from anxiety and other mental health issues to exercise. It’s the easiest, cheapest way to help your recovery. There’s no need to go out of the house, either. There are tons of apps that focus on exercising at home, both on Android and iOS. Just go to the store on your phone and look for a free exercise app. It doesn’t matter what you do or how much, just get moving. Not into exercising? Then do chores around the house. I personally love cleaning the whole bathroom (toilet included) and it’s a great 30-minute workout if you do it well. Don’t know how? Youtube is your friend!

That’s the basics, really. Of course, you can also just watch movies on your own, read books, and work on projects. I’m personally finishing a couple of cool projects that I had pending. But you can’t just focus on work. You have to entertain your body and mind in order to remain strong and come out the other end of this swinging. I hope these tips are useful. If you like them, drop me a line on Twitter. I’d be happy to help you find stuff to watch, games to play and other cool things you can do, even with other people through the internet, and for free. 

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About Marcos Codas 322 Articles
Lover of portable gaming and horror cinema. Indie filmmaker and game developer. Multimedia producer. Born in Paraguay, raised in Canada. Huge fan of "The Blair Witch Project", and "Sonic 3D Blast". Deputy head at Vita Player and its parent organization, Infinite Frontiers.Like what I do? Donate a coffee: https://www.paypal.me/marcoscodas