Hello and welcome to another installment of Making It In Modern! For this article, I am going to go over something different. I will not be talking about a singular format, a deck that caught my eye, or any one card at all. I want to go over a part of the game that not many people talk about or in some cases, take seriously, but people really should. Your own mental health and how you feel goes a long way not only in this game we love, but also in life in general. I want to talk about how to handle the overloaded, burnt out, and depressed feelings we get from time to time in regards to Magic: the Gathering.
It’s usually around this time every year, the summer months, where i tend to back away from the game as a whole. For the last two years, I basically missed both Eldritch Moon and Hour of Devastation Standard seasons. This isn’t too uncommon, the summer seasons are said to have the lowest sales and turn out at events, being the end of the Magic season and the hotter weather in the Western Hemisphere. I tend to fall out because of other reasons. As someone who suffers from Clinical Depression, I usually go into crisis mode around this time, it always seems to me my life is derailing for some reason and I can’t really explain it. Something always seems to come up to throw me out of the game. This is also a time for reflection to see which goals were met and which ones weren’t. More often than not more were unmet, and it really puts a damper on playing for me. For the most part, I am very much into the game and I will spend countless hours of my time trying to push myself to be a better player in any way that I can. This push will often times lead to a burn out feeling for me because of all of the effort I spend in learning and playing, especially if I don’t see the results that I had intended on achieving. I start to legitimize to myself that I am not good enough and will never be, and I start to make excuses to myself why I can’t make a larger event or even a Friday Night Magic tournament. It is important that I take notice to these happenings and start setting up to deal with the fallout.
Dealing with the Burn Out
The best thing that I have done to help myself get out of the burnt out feelings is taking a short break from the game. I don’t think that taking months off is the best way to go if you want to continually playing at a competitive level, but a week or two away from the game can do wonders for your mentality. While taking a break, make sure to not think about Magic as much as possible, it is best if you clear your mind completely from the game. Try something new or hang out with people you haven’t in a while who don’t necessarily play Magic, I’m sure some of them miss you! A total escape can help you take the pressure that you put on yourself off of you so that you can come back to the game with an open, clear mind.
If the route you want to take is not completely taking time away from Magic, there are other things that you can be doing outside of your regular game plan, such as different formats. In 2016 to 2017, I mainly played Standard and pushed myself hard to achieve success at the highest stage possible. I was a win away from playing in Day Two of the Richmond Star City Open, which was the first Open that I had ever played. I also took home two Top 4 finishes in Preliminary Pro Tour Qualifiers. These were awesome things to say I was able to do, but I never achieved what I thought to be my goal. When I experienced the burn out from this, I saw an opportunity to focus on the Modern format to get away from Standard. I built my Dredge deck and kept trucking away with newer goals. Having so many different formats in Magic is very useful to change-up your routine when you are overloaded with the same old thing. You can also jump on to a new deck in your format of choice if your financial situation will allow it if you are only looking for something different. Either way you go, a shake up could be just what you need to keep the drive alive.
Another way to deal with burn out and depressive feelings is as simple as talking to someone. Having a support system made up of people who you can turn to when things seem bleak is a great thing to have when you are faced with these feelings. Having people who are sympathetic to your mentality in your life is a gift. Toxicity seems to run rampant these days, so make sure to surround yourself with people who care. Being able to openly discuss your feelings to someone will definitely help you relieve some of your pressure as you don’t have to keep the feelings bottled up inside of you. Whenever you have discussions with others, be sure to approach it with an open mind and listen to what you are being told. A lot of the thoughts that I have had that were bringing me down were easily diffused by listening to someone tell me how my thought process was skewed or I had come to a wrong conclusion. Overall, just knowing there is someone to turn to is a good feeling to have.
Whatever method you choose to help you deal with the burn out is all up to you, though. I can’t tell you what the best way to deal with it is, because everyone is different. You may have different ways that you deal with your feelings and that is definitely fine! I wanted to touch on what helps me get through, that hopefully my experiences and methods may help someone in a similar position get through it. I intend to stay firmly on the path I am on in Magic, even through these summer months when I am usually away.
Anyway, that is all I have for you today. I hope that this can be of some help to you if you are feeling burnt out and maybe this can be something you turn to later on if you start to feel like this. Let me know other ways that you use to deal with your overload! You can find me on Twitter @T2TKS and also @MTGDecktechs so give us a follow! Also, don’t forget to give us a like on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MTGDeckTechs/. I am also going to be at SCGCon this upcoming weekend! I will be hanging out for Day 1 and then playing in the Pauper Classic on Day 2, so if are there, come say Hi! I hope you enjoyed this article and I will see you next week! Keep the fire burning!