Dear Eli, I’ve finished Animal Crossing. Now what? – Ronan

Hi Ronan,

First of: Congratulations, I hope those 50-ish hours of gameplay served as a helpful and entertaining distraction to the bleak landscape we find ourselves in today’s world. What was your favourite part of the game? Mine was paying off a loan on my house in five days. Pure wish fulfilment. Celtic Tiger who?

But now that that’s over, what’s an Agony Aunt to do? You’re looking for something equally as distracting, but also engaging enough to not feel monotonous and if there is something to show by the end of it, then all the better. So here are a few ideas for keeping your spirits up:

Learn to cook – Everyone’s gotta eat. Dust off those old recipe books your parents got for Christmas in the late 90s and see what looks appealing. You have an entire quarantine to learn a new skill and it won’t feel like work because you have to eat anyway.

If you are really unsure about your ability, just google how to finely chop an onion, there are videos and step by step guides on the most basic of food preparations. No shame in asking the internet, I did it last night and I’m a fictional character. Also think of the numbers you’d do on Instagram.

Workout with pizazz – Does the thought of the gym fill you with desire to lament on fonder times or fill you with terror and the thought that it should be as empty as Box No.5? Well here is the solution for both you. A Broadway choreography workout! Whether you want to look for a specific tutorial on Youtube or have the guiding hand of a professional class, such as Broadway Bodies, there are a theatre’s worth of workout videos for all levels.

Going for long leisurely strolls are overdone and leave you with too much time to contemplate your own mortality, and I could share with you the research between the correlation of physical fitness with mental health, but I think my close friend Elle Woods puts it best: “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands.” And she went to Harvard Law, so you know it’s true.

Keep a diary – Speaking of mental health, have you ever wanted to talk about yourself but were worried people would get sick of listening to you or judge you for making a joke about a seemingly taboo subject. Well with a diary you can talk about what you’re feeling, what you want, what you regret, that time someone gave you a verbal beatdown in front of your peers and you only thought of a devastating comeback on the bus home where you then proceeded to bottle up the RageTM because you were in public. It serves so many purposes.

Pandemics, specifically this one, is a global traumatic event and everyone is dealing with it in their own way, but it’s important to do the work yourself so you can deal with it. A diary of where you are at mentally, is a small relatively easy way for you to sort out what you’re feeling, understanding it and deciding if you want to take it further and talk to a professional.

Contact Info

Samaritans Ireland – or CALL FREE 116 123

Pieta House – CALL FREE 1800 247 247 or Text ‘HELP’ to 51444

If Urgent, contact your GP or call 999 or 112 if emergency.