BEING HEALTHY – A MUST
– Premise –
Not so long ago, I wrote about teaching (or not) level design. In that post I said that I was going to give a workshop in Ireland. A really awesome trip for sure. But I had to cancel it.
I sadly canceled (read reported) it for the sake of my health.
I’m starting to get older it seems.
You know, there are stuff that I can’t do anymore like getting shitfaced one day and being perfectly fine the day after for example. I can’t eat a whole pound of poutine before going to sleep either. I’ll throw up for sure.
I almost passed out when I was at PAX in Boston. Probably a mix of not enough sleep, ending of a cold and the fact that adrenaline and redbull went out at the same time. Well at least, this is what I was thinking back then.
I canceled my trip to Ireland because I had A LOT of vertigo/dizziness for a couple of weeks. I didn’t felt great about it and I went to pass a lot of tests. Blood samples, electrocardiogram, ears, you name it. What I realized is that everything was A1. Heart is good, ears are good, blood is good, etc.
So? You guessed it. It was all due to stress and mostly anxiety. I had a hard time believing this, as a really down to earth guy myself but after thinking a lot about it I realized that it was probably true.
– Anxiety – The Cancer of the Century –
Funny enough (it isn’t really) I realized that a bunch of close friends of mine are all having anxiety to a certain degree. All of them consulted related to this. Lots of ex-colleagues also have the same problem.
I’m writing about this because this is probably the crap that affect most game developer. Anxiety is a nasty stress related problem and stress, you know it, leads to nothing good at all. Stress is the most evil thing these days and depression is more than often caused by it.
I know 5 people working in the industry who are not working right now because of this and know probably as much who had to stop working for a long period of time in the past for the same reason.
Luckily enough, I was able to figure that out before it was too late. Seeing how broken my friends are, I didn’t really wanted to end up like them.
The thing about a problem in the mind compared to a problem on your body is that it takes so much time to fix and that there’s no magical formula. When you break a leg, there is a specific solution to that and it works. When you are chemically unbalanced in your head only time and proper behavior will fix that. For some people it takes a month, for other it takes years.
– The Three Eights –
This is how I called them. The Three Eights. You have 24 hours in a day separated in three parts.
In a perfect world, your days should look like this:
- 8 hours of sleep
- 8 hours of work
- 8 hours of something else (and it should be FUN)
Most humans, like myself, can’t really cut the working part. Some people work 7 hours a day but most people work 8.
Since you have to go to work and come back to work. Most of the time, you can easily add one more hour to that. You either cut on the sleep part or the fun part. I myself, for years, was cutting on the sleep part.
Getting back on the part that I’m getting older means that I need sleep to be able to work properly. We all know that not enough sleeps leads also to a lot of bad things and mostly to stress.
The thing that I realized when I was talking to my doc’ is that she really emphasized on the 8 hours of something else fun. I also discovered that my vertigo/dizziness was never happening when I was doing activities that I liked.
When I was coming back from work, I was thinking about work. I was reading stuff about work on the internet, going on forums and such. It was still strongly related to work. A big chunk of my something else was still work.
I had to cut that out and that’s what I made. I’m really trying hard to make sure that the 8 hours of fun I have each day is really 8 hours of fun and enjoyable activities.
You should do the same for sure.
– Don’t Wait Before it’s to Late –
So, to be short here. Listen to your body.
Your body is talking to you every day so is your brain.
As the saying,
“Being in a depression is not being weak, it’s because one was strong for too long”
People I know that are mind sick all told me that their body were sending them messages but they were not listening. We all know that in the industry, we’ll do, at some point, crunches. Seriously, don’t kill yourself for someone who doesn’t even know your name so he/she can make millions of bucks. Even if that person know your name.
Do overtime when it’s needed and that’s it. And even if it’s needed, you should not stick to it. I’ve had weeks of 70-80 hours of work in the past. I was young. I was fool and passionate. I’m still passionate but I don’t do this anymore. No one should do this. It’s plain bad.
Don’t push your body and especially your mind to a state you won’t be able to recover.
– Ending Notes –
The video game industry is one of a kind. It’s a competitive industry no doubt about it and what I mean by this is that you are always needed to push yourself to the limit. If also happen a lot of time that the limit needed is over your personal limits. Short deadlines, under-staffing, crazy mandate, etc, lead to bad planning and overtime, crazy overtime.
It saddens me to see so many cool people around me being mentally sick right now. All because some crazy producers pushed them way over their limits but they were too kind and said yes every single time without listening to their body.
Remember, work 8 hours, sleep well and enjoy the rest of your day with a happy mindset. Killing yourself at work gives you nothing.
“Oh it gives me bonuses” you may say.
Well, sorry to tell you that a few thousands buck won’t do any good if you can’t even go out without crying for no reason.
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