Everyone who consumes some form of media, whether it’s games, books, or otherwise, has likely experienced a slump at some point, or as I prefer to call it, a media hangover. Picture this: After hours of plowing through a TV show, book, or video game, you reach the end and it’s suddenly just…over? All of those hours culminated in a finale that was well worth the journey, but what now? Everything else feels second-rate comparatively and nothing will ever be the same.
Sure, this may sound a bit dramatic written out, but I know I’m not alone in feeling this way on a number of occasions over the years. Regardless of how much I declare that I will never game or read again after my most recent completion, something else always catches my attention. There’s a mourning process of sorts that needs to be upheld in order to heal and be ready to dive back in. In the meantime, here are some tricks that I’ve found help me overcome my media hangovers.
Switch to a different media format
When I finished Assassin’s Creed Odyssey late last year, I fell into one of the worst gaming hangovers that I have ever experienced. For weeks, I didn’t even want to touch a video game because nothing could ever live up to Kassandra’s story. Instead of moping, however, I decided to just try doing something else for a while. In my case, I switched gears and went on a reading binge, trying to catch up on the massive backlog of series that I need to finish. Sometimes, all I need to do in order to recover is just try backing away from the entire activity as a whole until I’m ready to move on.
Try a different genre
This is a tactic that I frequently utilize after finishing a book series. Sometimes, I find that trying to go into a new book that is too similar in genre to my last read causes me to unfairly and negatively compare what I’m currently reading to what I previously read. The best solution to this predicament is to try and shake up what genre I read after finishing something I love. If I just finished a dark dystopian, I’ll pick up a fluffy romance next. When I read something in young adult, I can pick up a middle grade or adult fiction title afterward. Not only does the variety help me avoid negative comparisons, but it also expands my reading taste as a whole and encourages me to branch out and try new things.
If a media hangover gets especially bad, sometimes I find I get overwhelmed by the potential choices I have for what I can play or read next. I’ll spend hours weighing my options and determining the various pros and cons of everything I own. Whenever I get into this mindset, I go on a spree of first impressions. For books, I’ll try the first chapter of as many books as it takes to find one that hooks me at that moment, and for gaming, I’ll just try playing games I own at random for twenty minutes until I find one that I don’t want to stop. The feeling of being paralyzed by choice often stems from being unable to determine exactly what type of experience I need. Amusingly, I initially found one of my favorite franchises of all time, Danganronpa, because I hadn’t been able to get into any new games after finishing the entire Dragon Age and Mass Effect trilogies. I tried game after game, but it was the psychotic teddy bear that got me hooked on gaming again!
Overall, there’s no perfect cure for a media hangover. Sometimes, it just takes time to find something new to fall in love with. What gave you a huge media hangover, and what techniques did you use to get over it? Let me know in the comments below!