this i believe

This I Believe | Crush the day’s tensions away

May 10, 2014 

As an active college student, I’m constantly bouncing like a ping pong ball from my dorm to class to the library and back again.

I make lists of the multitude of things I need to do: take care of laundry, write a paper, go to a study group, grab dinner with friends.

Sometimes my day doesn’t end until I crawl into bed at 3 a.m.

Stress can build up after weeks of this hectic lifestyle, and sometimes I feel like the running around will never end. But no matter how busy my day is, I always take a few minutes to relax before I go to sleep.

Almost every night, without fail, I curl up in bed, pull out my cellphone and continue my battle against brightly colored pieces of candy for the extent of five short lives.

Yes, for those who might have guessed, I am indeed a proud player of the popular smartphone game Candy Crush Saga. For those who aren’t familiar, Candy Crush Saga is a puzzle game that involves swapping and matching multicolored candy. It’s mostly mindless and, yes, some would even say it’s a waste of time. But for me, it’s a lifesaver.

Every time I play, I can feel my mind and body start to relax. The tension evaporates as I allow myself to become absorbed in the game. The extraneous thoughts zipping around my head disappear, if only for a moment.

But that little bit of time is much better than nothing.

I become anxious and easily frustrated when the weight of daily stresses overwhelm me and drag me down, which makes it even harder for me to focus on what I need to do.

If I’m short on sleep on top of the stress, my anxiety increases. So a simple, harmless activity that gives me a few minutes of peace during a hectic day is immensely appreciated. After I lose the last round of the game, I turn my phone off, slip under my covers and fall asleep within minutes.

The game gets me into the right frame of mind for sleeping and acts as my last lullaby before I drift into dreamland.

I rarely play it throughout the course of my day, so it doesn’t become a time waster.

I save the game — and its calming effect — for when I need to be winding down rather than when I’m simply bored.

Now, I know sleep experts say staring at a phone during bedtime isn’t supposed to be a good idea but, for me, it works. And I certainly don’t think everyone needs to play Candy Crush Saga to relax.

But I do believe everyone needs a way to let the worries of the day float away. Others may watch the news before they go to sleep or lose themselves in a novel, but I’ve found what works for me.

I believe in finding a way to unwind at the end of the day. I believe in Candy Crush Saga.

Molly Munnell lives in Bellefonte. Her essay aired May 1 on WPSU.

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