Staff Spotlight: Sara AKA Piyo

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Welcome to the Staff Spotlight Series, where we interview members of the Habitica Team! Today we’re chatting with Sara, also known as Piyo. Sara wears a lot of hats around Habitica, but is best known for her design work on the mobile apps!

Sara, how did you get involved with Habitica?

I came about Habitica in a rather roundabout way! My friend linked me to a social media post from the Habitica accounts seeking a mobile designer. I thought, “Hey, thats me! Gamified tasks sounds neat, I should check this out.” I was about 2 years out of college at the time and had worked on gamified educational tools as my thesis, so an opportunity to work on a gamification product for work sounded amazing. So in the end, I actually started using Habitica at the same time I applied to work for them!

What’s your proudest contribution to Habitica?

Probably the giant rebrand endeavor, including drawing the beloved Melior logo. It was the first thing I did even though I was brought on to work on the mobile apps. The great renaming was already in the works and I felt that the Habitica brand could become something really special. So I proposed we start with a rebrand that we could then apply the the mobile apps. This was so long ago, there was no official native android app yet! I drew probably 50+ logo concepts then narrowed it down to a few directions with the help of Lemoness and redphoenix, until we landed on the gryphon. However, we didn’t just want any gryphon, we wanted something that synthesized the mood and spirit of Habitica. It was pretty late in the process when I turned the tail tuft into a pixel graphic, but that was the final detail that sealed the deal and brought you the logo you see today.

iOS

What are your secret superpowers?

I consider myself a pro at laying on my couch to do the majority of my work. Most people work at desks or at least sitting up. But I take the opposite approach of the standing desk movement and choose to lay on my side for the work day. All of my best work is done laying down, preferably in a onesie. I’m convinced I must have a super-human spine since it’s just fine with this.

What are your secret weaknesses?
‘Buy 1 Get 1’ sales. I like to think that I’m a semi-frugal person in most areas, but these get me every time. Look, I don’t *need* two cakes (I probably didn’t even need the first one), but if I get one free for buying one… there’s no way I’m not taking home a free cake.

bogo_cake

What are your favorite Habitican pets/mounts?

I really like the phoenix and baby gryphon pet. I just think they’re neat.

birbs

What are some things you’re tracking in Habitica?

I like tracking things that are reoccurring on different schedules and are hard to keep track of, like watering my plants or what days to do different parts of my skincare routine. Dailies are my jam, but I spend all my time in the Inn because I personally don’t like being punished for missing things, just rewarded for doing them. (Also because it made my glasses-wearing character look like they were wearing sweet sunglasses when sleeping before I got actual sunglasses to equip).

What do you like to do in your free time?

I love playing games, watching twitch, cooking, and baking! Browsing food blogs is a guilty pleasure of mine, and I’ll watch any baking competition show you throw in front of me. I’ve watched so much Chopped that I can convincingly take random ingredients and come up with a dish idea from them.

What are your top Habitica tips and tricks?

Don’t be afraid to use the Inn! And try clearing out your task board every now and then to give yourself a fresh start. Life changes, so your tasks and goals do too. Making sure the tasks you track stay relevant has helped me a lot.

Where do you like to hang out in Habitica?

I don’t speak too much, but I often scroll through Tavern to see what people are saying. I look and gauge what questions people have to figure out where they’re getting confused. Then I take that and think about how we might be able to prevent that confusion with slight improvements to their experience. Its a nice, casual, direct line to some feedback.

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Want to learn more about the people who make Habitica? Check out our other posts in this series:

Spotlight on Vicky AKA Redphoenix
Spotlight on Leslie AKA Lemoness
Spotlight on Sabe AKA SabreCat

Spotlight on Matteo AKA Paglias
Spotlight on Phillip AKA viirus

Spotlight on Beth AKA Beffymaroo

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Coming Soon: Unique Usernames

talking_in_the_tavern
Illustration by Aries Faries

Hello Habiticans! We’re making a change to unique usernames! This change will be gradual and even though it won’t start rolling out until November, it’s still important to go to Settings to confirm your username as soon as you can.

Have questions about this new feature? Here are a few questions we’ve been hearing, and some answers!

What are usernames and how will they be used?

Unique usernames will allow you to invite friends to parties, Guilds, and Challenges more easily. Our team will also be able to use them to help you if you send a bug report. In the future, usernames will allow us to add the option to receive notifications if you are mentioned in chat.

What are Display Names and how will they be used?

Display names will be shown alongside your username in chat and in your Habitica profile. Your display name can have symbols and emojis if you desire, but they are not unique (people can have the same display name).

Username Diagram (1)
Where will my username appear? Will there be changes to my privacy?

Right now, you can find other players in Habitica by name in the following places: chats where they have recently posted, lists of Guild members, and lists of Challenge participants. These are the same places your username will appear – if you participate in those spaces. There are no changes to user privacy- your tasks and account information will remain private.

Can I change my username and display name?

Yes, you can change your username and display names in User>Settings. You can change them as many times as you like. However, if you change your username, your old username will become available for someone else to claim.

When will there be changes to chat? When can I start using my friends’ username to invite them to my party?

These changes will be rolled out gradually over the next couple of months. We want to give you, our community, time to adapt to changes and provide feedback that we can take into consideration throughout the roll-out process. We’ll be keeping you all informed as we go, so keep your eye out for news from Bailey!

Coalitions of the Quick-Witted: Guilds for Training your Brain

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Illustration by RoseMonkey

Hello Habiticans! The summer is heating up and many students are enjoying their summer break from school. Even though classes may not be in session, it’s a great month to think about challenging your brain with puzzles, games, and new knowledge! Here are just a few of the Guilds in Habitica dedicated to sharpening your intellect and expanding your knowledge.

Habitica’s Court Jesters: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/fddaeafc-125c-4b43-a339-14c1d37634e8

Habitica’s Court Jesters is a Guild dedicated to jokes, riddles, and other witty and humorous media. Maybe it’s surprising that a Guild for jokes is on this list, but there’s a high correlation between problem-solving ability and having a good sense of humor. Plus, a good laugh is always healthy for your mind, body and soul!

Sedulous Sesquipedalians: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/8302e17b-e2b6-419b-bd7a-c1983f2c318b

Learning new words is a great method for challenging your mind and improving your communication skills! Sedulous Sesquipedalians is the perfect place to expand your vocabulary- check out the Guild chat for folks sharing the exhilirating vocables they’ve discovered.

Creative Minds: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/00b0eff0-85bd-402a-bd38-33f507624dfa

Creative activities are another fantastic way to keep your mind active and learn new skills and information. You’ll find all types of imaginative Habiticans chatting in this Guild, and there are some exciting Challenges to help get your creative juices flowing!

Puzzling People: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/330c4c91-8513-43ba-b0bc-b093ebda7573

This Guild is here for puzzle-loving Habiticans of all types! Pop into the Guild chat to discuss your favorite puzzles, riddles, and brain-teasers.

These Guilds and many, many others are here to give you lots of fun ideas for keeping your mind sharp and active!  Until next time, take care. ❤

Use Case Spotlight: Training your Brain

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Illustration by RoseMonkey

Hello Habiticans! Last month we looked at ideas from your fellow players for using Habitica to manage parenting and family matters. This month we’re exploring ideas for training your brain and sharpening your mind with the help of Habitica’s Tasks, Challenges, and social spaces. These great tips come from your fellow players in the Use Case Spotlights Guild!

Miechelle starts us out by using Habitica as a reminder for their educational apps and books:

I have as dailies my Lumosity session, my Duolingo session, my Khan session and then at least a paragraph in each of the [educational] books I am reading which range from a Grimoire to Getting Things Done to The Power of When – I am always trying to improve my mind and myself – I think it is the point of it all. I used to have to try and remember all this in my ADD brain and honestly I have progressed a lot once I started using Habitica to keep my checklists and get my ticks 🙂

Fox_Town points us to a fun Guild to help with memorization and expand your poetry knowledge!

I co-run the “Rhyme Commando” guild, where we have a running monthly challenge to memorize a poem. I still know by heart the poems I learned as a schoolkid, but it isn’t something I’d thought to do in years. I like the experience of both setting the text of a poem in my head, and also spending the month thinking about one poem, because I usually end up coming to a few new realizations about the language or the structure just by returning to it again and again. And with luck when I’m old, I’ll always have a few poems to reflect on whenever I”m stuck somewhere without a book.:)

Gumnos notes the importance of storing To-Do lists outside your brain to keep your memory free for other information:

I use Habitica both to challenge my brain and save my brain energies for other things.

For challenging it, I have dailies that force me out of my brain’s natural comfort zone (like thanking complete strangers) and hand-writing letters to grandparents. I’ll also create projects for myself to expand my programming skills (I give myself various personal coding challenges and landmarks along the way for them)

For preserving it, most of my To Do list consists of checklists I’ve offloaded so I don’t have to hold them in my brain and possibly forget them.

Dan O’Dea gives some other great examples for using Habitica to train your brain!

The most obvious way to challenge your brain is to learn something new every day. So…

  • Habitica has a guild called Today I learned… where people share things they learned. The guild leader requires posts provide sources for the learning so you can follow the links and see for yourself.
  • Build a habit or a daily task to read something, Google something you heard, or likewise add something to your knowledge.
  • Create a to-do, complete with a checklist, to learn a new skill. Of course, you can also add habits and dailies to this. For example, I have a to-do every month to draw some new thing (trees, faces, roads) and practice a technique (e.g., one-point perspective) and a daily habit to support that, such as “Draw one scene from work, my town, or a reference picture using one-point perspective”.

There are several guilds in Habitica for learning new languages, skills, and the like. Check them out – in fact, create a to-do to do just that.

There were so many helpful and exciting tips we couldn’t feature them all here! You can see them all and join in the discussion in the Use Case Spotlights Guild– one of your ideas could be featured next month! Look for an announcement of next month’s theme from Bailey soon.

And lastly, be sure to take a look at our most recent Guild Spotlight, where we’ve highlighted groups for puzzles, riddles, and other ways to train your brain!!

Behind the Scenes: Weird Tales of the Mod Slack

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Habitica’s Mods! Left to Right, starting from the top: Bailey, deilann, Cantras, Alys, Fox_Town, Blade, Daniel the Bard, shanaqui, Dewines, Megan, and Breadstrings! (Art by Lemoness)

The “Behind The Scenes” series is a chance for us to give you a glimpse into the inner workings of HabitRPG, Inc., the company that makes Habitica. Every so often, we’ll treat you to some silly staff shenanigans or show you the work that goes into your favorite features. Enjoy!

Hello Habiticans! In this special edition of Behind the Scenes, we’re going to take a dive into the wild and weird world of Habitica’s Moderator Slack channel. This space is where the moderators and a few members of the staff hang out to discuss issues that pop up in the community, talk about feedback and bug reports, and just generally hang out and chat! We thought it might be fun to share some stories of some of the most amusing and weird things that happen there, so buckle up!

Fun Fact #1: There is a channel devoted entirely to bunnies!

Moderator shanaqui is the proud parent of two adorable bunnies, Hulk and Breakfast. There’s a whole channel just for bunny-related pictures and posts because the buns were really dominating the Off-Topic channel!

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Hulk and Breakfast. Breakfast is sporting an interesting nose haircut here.

The buns also occasionally commandeer shanaqui’s keyboard to send special messages. These are most often directed at Alys, because Alys is the bunnies’ favorite (and just a fantastic critter whisperer in general).

If you’d like to get in on the bunny fun, check out the buns’ Twitter accounts linked above!

Fun Fact #2: Beffymaroo raises Monarch butterflies.

Beth (AKA Beffymaroo) has always loved animals of all shapes and sizes. As a kid she enjoyed bringing in monarch caterpillars and feeding and caring for them until they became chrysalides and then finally butterflies (which she’d then release so they could start their epic migration!).

Last summer, she bought a milkweed plant on a whim and discovered it already had a butterfly egg! This little egg hatched into a caterpillar named Herbie the Love Bug, and Beth shared lots of photos and stories on the Slack documenting Herbie’s growth and metamorphosis.

Image uploaded from iOS (12)
Little Herbie!

This summer, Beth is at it again! If you’re interested in learning more or following along, check out Lovers of Lepidopterans, a Habitica Guild Beth started for those interested in butterfly- and pollinator-gardening and/or raising butterflies and moths.

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*not shown to scale*

Fun Fact #3: Emoji-a-go-go

We often let the emojis do the talking in our Slack messages! Because users get an alert when their name is mentioned (and we typically try to avoid sending actual alerts unless it’s an urgent matter),  the mods and staff devised “emoji nicknames” for some folks so that there was a way to mention someone without making their phone beep!

lemonessLemoness’s icon is pretty self-explanatory! The Queen of Lemons.
sabrecatSabreCat’s emoji callsign is also fairly self-explanatory! He is a pointy kitty.

alysAlys’s emoji nickname is also a fairly straightforward rebus.

foxtownFox_Town’s emojis also are what one might expect. This is only because there is no adequate way to convey “many foxes in a trenchcoat pretending to be a human” in emoji.
beffymaroo Beffymaroo’s emoji nickname refers to an ongoing joke about how some users misread/misspell her Habitica handle as “Beefymaroo.”
redphoenixThe closest thing to a phoenix offered by emoji selection is a Fire Chicken, which Redphoenix found very amusing, and so it stuck!

shanaquiCare to take a guess whose emoji this is? Perhaps Habitica’s leading contender for Most Enthusiastic Reader, shanaqui!
cantrasCantras is a big fan of dragons. In fact, her mod avatar is a part-dragon!

(emoji images shown are those used in Slack Direct Download 3.2.0 64-bit for Windows 10)

 

We also make a lot of use of Totoro-based emoji (thanks pixel-soup.tumblr.com!), especially :

tumblr_inline_p8p96ms2J71rhwzwl_75sq  for “Thank you”

and

tumblr_inline_p8p96k4eR41rhwzwl_75sq  for a complex set of feelings Cantras described as “gleeful agreement”!

Fun Fact #4: Dream Titles

Weird dreams are a fun topic we sometimes chat about. shanaqui recently had a dream where they came up with exciting (and maybe slightly odd) titles for some of the staff and mods. In fact, if you go to the Hall of Heroes right now (see Beffymaroo, SabreCat, Fox_Town, Alys, and Cantras) you can see some titles Alys changed to match shanaqui’s dream.

Well, Habiticans, seems like it’s time to get back to our tasks…

no fun allowed
We’ll let you imagine the context in which this may have occurred.

That’s all for now! If you’d like to know more about what’s going on Behind the Scenes in Habitica, feel free to suggest topics for posts you’d like to see! Thanks for reading ❤

 

Use Case Spotlight: Parenting and Family Life

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Illustration by UncommonCriminal

Hello Habiticans! Last month we looked at ideas from your fellow players for using Habitica to manage mental health and wellness. This month we’re exploring ideas for enhancing your parenting strategy with the help of Habitica’s Tasks, Challenges, and social spaces. These great tips come from your fellow players in the Use Case Spotlights Guild!

Stephonee starts us out with a great way to take advantage of the times when you can be productive (and take a break!):

My main use of Habitica for parenting is my “Nap Checklist” Daily. I find that my brain goes kinda haywire when changing gears from “kid-time” to “nap-time ohmigorsh I have time to do things what?” Rather than trying to mentally make that shift and remember what I need to do during every nap, I have the Daily with the checklist!

It includes self-care things (drink a glass of water, hungry? then eat!, tired? then nap!, etc.), mundane have-to-get-done-before-baby-wakes things (clean off the high chair for next feeding), work things (check work email, check blog for new comments) and I can add things to it temporarily if there’s something special I need to get done during the nap on a certain day.

I check the daily off at the end of the nap (or at the end of the day), regardless of whether I got through the whole checklist or not, because it’s not meant to be a “do everything single thing on the list every single day” thing. It’s just a way to reduce the mental load of remembering ALL those things, and a reminder of what they are and in what order they should be considered. Sometimes I’ll check off an item just to say “I considered whether I should do that, and I shouldn’t so… check it off to cross it out!”

Dan O’Dea reminds parents to model the behavior they’d like to see:

If you make this a daily, put a description of the ONE behavior you want to model (if you have more than one, make separate dailies for each). I’ve deliberately left this unspecified as you will have your own ideas on what behavior you want your kids to demonstrate. A simple example: washing dishes right after supper is done. I hate it when dishes accumulate over several days, and I want my kids to help with that chore if they’re old enough. When they were too young to wash effectively, I made them dry and put away the dishes as I washed them. When they were old enough (and tall enough to reach!) I made them wash while I dried. Then I made them both do it without me and gave them a “schedule” (that is, they alternated washing and drying from day to day). Note: obviously, this does not have to be every day. They’re kids, it’s OK to give them weekends off .

If you make this a habit, put a plus and minus on it. This will be more general (i.e., not a specific behavior, just “a behavior”) and works equally well as a plan for you to create better behaviors (or more consistently doing the task) and for them. Check the plus if you did model the desired behavior(s) and check the minus if you didn’t. In a way, this is like the proverbial “quarter in the swear jar”.

sagestacy notes the importance of maintaining your relationship with your partner when parenting can seem all-consuming:

Habitica and the Parents’ Guild have been helpful for me to maintain my relationship with my husband after the birth of our child. Taking care of an infant is exhausting for both of us–physically, mentally, and emotionally–and so having those dailies and habits to check off reminds me to do little things to preserve our connection, like holding hands, talking about our day, and scheduling a date night.

peach pip gives us great tips for remembering to keep taking care of ourselves even as we devote ourselves to the care of others!

With the birth of my daughter, I transitioned into a new role of a full time mom. I found it much more difficult than employment, particularly because infants don’t provide a lot of positive feedback at first, and tasks that used to be simple had become really challenging, such as eating a decent meal or showering. Additionally, it was much more difficult to stay in touch with loved ones. Habitica helped me celebrate little accomplishments and remember my self-care, as well as stay in touch with loved ones by creating a party together!

There were so many helpful and exciting tips we couldn’t feature them all here! You can see them all and join in the discussion in the Use Case Spotlights Guild – one of your ideas could be featured next month! Look for an announcement of next month’s theme from Bailey soon.

And lastly, be sure to take a look at our most recent Guild Spotlight, where we’ve highlighted groups that can provide further support and motivation as you manage parenting and family life!

Guilds for Parenting and Family Life

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Illustration by UncommonCriminal

Happy June, Habiticans! Summer is nearly here, and it’s a great time to catch up and bond with your family. This month’s Spotlight focuses on Guilds in Habitica where you can find fellow players to support you as you take care of family business as well as family fun.

Parents’ Guild

This large and active Guild is full of fellow Habitican parents, sharing stories and ideas in the chat! It’s a supportive space for discussing other family-related issues as well. The Parents’ Guild also offers a number of Challenges for managing family life and making sure you take care of yourself.

Parents of Under-Threes

If you’re the parent or guardian of an extra-small adventurer, be sure to check out Parents of Under-Threes! The chat is a great place to discuss the special challenges of parenting young children, share ideas, and find support when you’re exhausted or frustrated in your toddler-care quests!

Loved Ones of those with Depression and Anxiety

If you have loved ones who are living with a mental health condition, this Guild can offer a supportive and understanding chat where you can discuss your experiences. In this active group, you can also talk with others about the importance of taking care of yourself so you can be a healthy support to folks in your life who are managing mental illness.

Pet Owners and Lovers

This is a Guild for chatting about the care and keeping of the furry, scaly, and winged members of your family. Pet Owners and Lovers also has a number of great Challenges to help you be an even better pet parent.

These Guilds and many, many others are here to give you helpful information and community support as you and your family work together to keep your household running, take care of each other, and have fun!! Until next time, take care. ❤

User Spotlight: Dr. B of Take This!

Welcome to the User Spotlight Series, where we talk with Habitica users who are experts in their fields. First up is DoctorB, the Clinical Director of TakeThis, who’s chatting with us as part of our continuing post series for Mental Health Awareness Month!

DrB

Hey DoctorB! Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a doctor of clinical psychology and the clinical director (Arch Psychomancer) of TakeThis.org, a mental health nonprofit that champions the message “It’s dangerous to go alone!” and spends our time educating on and destigmatizing mental health matters. Take This is also the creator of the world’s first staffed, mental health space at conventions – the AFK Room. Aside from my work with Take This, I also have a private practice in the Seattle area, I lead social skills groups using Dungeons & Dragons, and I’m an avid home chef.

How did you start using Habitica?

In 2016, I was at the Game Developers Conference for the first time, and I met Leslie [AKA: Lemoness] after a panel. We got to talking about what we respectively did, and she told me about this cool app she works on that allows you to turn your to-do lists and habits in to an RPG. I’ve seen a few things that tried to do this in the past (poorly), so I probably expressed some incredulity, but she really sold me on it. I downloaded it almost immediately and fell in love. It was so cool seeing someone finally do gamification of behaviors right. When I saw other things like this in the past, they often left out the “game” part, but seeing this as a real game which also happened to help keep me on task was a revelation. A few months later, Take This wrote a series of community challenges for Habitica that have been used by thousands over the last two years.

What some things you’re tracking in Habitica?

I have a few big projects Take This has in the works that Habitica is helping me keep on task for. I also like to use it to remind me to work out. It’s great for reminding me to keep a balance between passion projects and my own health. It’s really easy to overdo effort on passion projects.

What projects are you working on right now?

Aside from all the stuff we do at Take This (most notably building a streaming ambassador program), I’m building a day-long workshop for mental health professionals to train on how to use tabletop RPGs therapeutically. A lot of people underestimate the complexity of these types of projects, and they’re complicated to build. Habitica is helping me build it all a little at a time.  Take This is also writing a new series of 12 community challenges for Habitica.

Where do you like to hang out in Habitica?

Mostly with my own guild which is comprised almost entirely of the Take This staff and volunteers. That said, I love the community at large. Whenever I pop my head in to the forums, I love how supportive everyone is of everyone else.

What advice do you have for folks in the gaming community for healthy gaming/life balance?

I like to think of my goals and the behaviors that interfere with those goals. Games are fun, no doubt, but there are times when I can play them to the point of not going after my goals. It’s at those times I really have to rely on things like Habitica and put limits on what I do. For example, one of my Habits is “No video games between 10am and 6pm”. Given I often work from home, this is a legitimate temptation.

Any personal tips/tricks for using Habitica to manage mental health and wellness?

Start a guild with people who you personally know and talk to. I love having accountabilibuddies that can actually hold me accountable in a way strangers can’t.

Thanks, Dr. B! To learn more about using Habitica as a tool in your mental health journey, check out this month’s Guild Spotlight and Use Case Spotlight!

Caring for the Mind: Guilds for Mental Health and Wellness

rosemonkey_meditation6x
Illustration by Rosemonkey

Hello, dear Habiticans! Did you know that May is Mental Health Awareness Month? In honor of this event, this month’s Spotlight focuses on some Guilds in Habitica where you can learn techniques for awareness and mental well-being.

Mentally Ill: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/54846572-9b87-421c-a2f5-11f72ee8ecfc

This Guild is open to all those affected by mental illness and/or looking to improve their mental health. The chat is a supportive and safe space to discuss symptoms and experiences and to share tips and ideas. Mentally Ill also offers a wide variety of Challenges that may offer helpful motivation boosts for learning more about mental health and for managing symptoms.

Mastering Emotions (DBT Skills): https://habitica.com/groups/guild/109d5b3f-661f-49cf-ad1d-53de129ecaf5

Mastering Emotions is a space for Habiticans who are using DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) to manage difficult feelings and the situations around those feelings. Check it out for a welcoming and encouraging chat and a long list of Challenges for learning about DBT methods and for developing skills for emotional management.

ADHDers Guild: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/17848f38-0418-4764-9fe8-91fdc9950e32

This is a large community on Habitica dedicated to creating a supportive and helpful environment for folks with ADD/ADHD. Their Guild description has a tremendous collection of helpful resources, and the chat space there is kind, friendly, and active. ADHDers also hosts a number of Challenges for help, motivation, and for learning more about ADHD and related conditions.

Anxiety Alliance: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/1da5ae22-6659-4600-9951-905f923c9373

This Guild is devoted to those working through anxiety-related mental illness. There’s an active and supportive chat for Guild members to discuss experiences and share tips. There are also a bunch of helpful Challenges–including several that repeat monthly–to help with anxiety management, meditation, and getting out of your comfort zone.

These Guilds and many, many others are here to give you helpful information and community support as you work on improving your mental health and wellness! In fact, there are so many Guilds on Habitica devoted to this topic that we’ll be doing another post (or two!) on this topic in the future.

There’s also a Use Case Spotlight post this week featuring mental health related tips from fellow Habiticans! Until next time, take care. ❤

Use Case Spotlight: Mental Health and Wellness!

rosemonkey_meditation6x
Illustration by Rosemonkey

Hello Habiticans! Last month, we looked at ideas from your fellow players for using Habitica as you work to make a positive difference in your community and the world! This time, in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, we’re looking at making positive change even closer to home. These great ideas for using Habitica to help manage your mental health and wellness come from your fellow players in the Use Case Spotlights Guild!

sunray notes that a simple Daily reminding us to focus on the good can be an important boost:

I use Habitica to bolster my mental health in the face of chronic illness. Having a Daily to support focusing on the things I’m grateful for has worked really well in helping me stay positive, and the fact that it encourages me to share those things with the people around me strengthens my social connections, too! My Daily is “Express sincere gratitude.” Habitica also helps me meditate daily and make the kind of choices every day that support my best functioning.

Dr_Zoidberg uses the motivation of Challenges to improve their mental and physical health habits:

Habitica has been the most effective tool to date in getting me to change my health and wellness habits for the better. For the last two months I’ve been signing up for challenges that don’t upend my current lifestyle but adjust it enough for the better that each improvement gives a lasting change. I treat my avatar’s life as my own because in the end, that’s what it is. The challenges I choose include physical (steps, exercise, posture, etc.), diet & nutrition, as well as mental well-being/self-confidence. Together the changes have made me happier, more determined, able to recover from “bad days” faster, and I’ve set a long term goal with a specific action plan to get there. I plan to go from little or no exercise weighing ~285lbs to running in a 5K in roughly 13 months time from now. I will adjust every step forward each month based on my progress in the previous, but I’ve set milestones to reach along the way to show exactly how my progress can and will reach that goal. So far I’ve made more progress in the last two months than I have in the last five years. Cheers!

Dagger-13 uses Dailies to face and work through intimidating or difficult tasks that need to get done:

I was a bit wary of joining Habitica when I first heard about it last year, as my coping mechanism for anxiety is to set rules for myself and I was concerned that I might end up using Habitica as an extension of that. However, I am at a stage of managing my anxiety where I can use the system responsibly and as a tool for recovery – I just have to be careful that it doesn’t become a crutch.

I use it as part of my ‘exposure therapy’ – once I identify a ‘task’ I need to expose myself to, I will set it as a daily to give myself the incentive to do it and to make myself accountable. Doing this makes me accountable without having to discuss with others exactly what I’m doing, so it enables me to take external confirmation out of the equation (another comfort mechanism I had – asking others if what I was doing is ‘good’), but if I don’t do it, the task will damage the rest of my party. In addition to this, it works as a relatively harmless ‘punishment’ for not doing the task, so if for any reason I don’t do it I get the damage and move on rather than spiralling into negative self-talk or compensatory behaviour to the same degree that I would have before.

Once I’ve gotten used to exposing myself to the task and it becomes easier, I then remove it from Habitica so that it becomes a more natural habit, one which I don’t have to think about or reward myself for doing. This method gives me the initial push to face my anxiety, and then healthily allows me to let it go.

chikadee provides us with a multitude of awesome examples of ways to use tasks to manage mental health and wellness!

I created an imgur album of screenshots with some explanations here. I have ADHD and some other mental health problems and Habitica has helped me with my self-esteem, self-acceptance, and self-care. The Clean Every Day challenge has helped me realize that any progress, even the tiniest bit, is okay. I struggle with cleaning a lot with my ADHD and cleaning the house is one of the most upsetting and stressful things for me. Habits help me view my progress and see the progress I’ve made even when it doesn’t seem like it. Habitica has helped me find a way to work within my limitations (which sounds bad but I can’t think of a better word). By creating habits and dailies and wording them in a fun RPG way or participating in challenges I’m able to frame what I struggle with and the tools I use to help myself in a fun and positive light. It makes every day living and everyday boring self-care tasks fun. There’s been a marked difference in my ADHD as I’ve gotten better at cleaning and I’ve made considerable progress with my nail biting with help from the BFRB guild (I even created my first challenge!)

There were so many helpful and exciting tips we couldn’t feature them all here! You can see them all and join in the discussion in the Use Case Spotlights Guild. One of your ideas could be featured next month! Look for an announcement of next month’s theme from Bailey soon.

And lastly, if you missed it you may want to take a look at our most recent Guild Spotlight, where we’ve highlighted groups that can provide further support and motivation in your mental health journey!