If, as the song says, ‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year,’ why am I feeling so much stress? While many of us love the lights, the carols, the food, and the time with our families, no other time in the year puts as much emotional pressure on us as the holidays – if you don’t have family close-by, it can be isolating; if you DO have family close-by, it can seem like people are pulling you in every direction at once. And even without added family pressure, there’s the effort of balancing work with time off, finding the right gifts, wrapping them, shopping for food, decorating the house, writing the greeting cards.
Did I mention the social anxiety of having to spend time in groups of family, friends or coworkers? Oh, and then there’s money. And the worry that maybe you didn’t say the right thing to your friends, boss’s niece. It’s a bit like going to your high school reunion, except with flashing lights and tinsel. Oh, and the pressure that we won’t be able to meet the expectations created by others’ manic expressions of holiday cheer.
Multiply this all by about a million if you’re dealing with illness, disability or mental health challenges.
Like managing the emotions surrounding complex health conditions – either as a patient or a caregiver – it helps to have strategies in place that can help you find some comfort and serenity this holiday season. Our free game, Shadow’s Edge, is built to help young people facing serious health conditions build resilience. But the same process of slowing down, looking inward, and reflecting on your experience of the world can help with holiday anxiety.
Here are four ways to use Shadow’s Edge to stay sane, or at least manage the inevitable insanity, this holiday season:
1. Meeting you where you’re at
The first stage of the game feels gloomy and a little out of whack. Sound familiar? Following the Guardian’s instructions, you can find pages from a lost journal, reflect and perhaps find comfort in the answers you find.
2. Coloring is relaxing
In this first stage, called Disruption, you will learn how to spray paint walls and billboards in the city of Shadow’s Edge. Coloring is relaxing and can take your mind off things. It also feels good to see coming back to the city. Your impact creates rays of hope and the first positive changes to the world!
3. Connect with others
Once you make it to Stage 2 of the game, Maize, the Guardian of Disillusionment, puts a device in you backpack that opens up “Shadowgram”. In Shadowgram you can be inspired by the art other players have made in the world and you can take a picture of your own graffiti to post along with your comments. You are not alone!
4. Finding color and light again
By the time you make it to stage 3, Discovery, Shadow’s Edge feels hopeful again! Chances are, the questions about yourself that you have explored along the way help you feel hopeful too. This stage of the game is like an encouraging friend. Welcome back to yourself – it’s good to see you again!
We would love to hear how Shadow’s Edge helps you through the holidays! And if you feel brave enough, you can take a screenshot of your in-game art and share it with the world on your social media with #ShadowsEdgeGame.
We wish you a positive and serene holiday season.
The Shadow’s Edge Team.