Pokemon, Paw Patrol, Spice Girls, Doctor Who and Buffy the Vampire Slayer have little in common. You will not see Chase pushing a Stake through the heart of a dog, and you will not see Baby spice battling robots. What you can see is an opportunity to start a collection. For all of these entities, the common collection available is sticker based.
Regardless of when you grew up, you can be sure of one thing and that is that a sticker or card collection for your favourite show was made available, at least at one time. I began many sticker collections in my formative years but never completed one. This is something that sat at the back of my mind for years, to the point of getting to university and spending parts of my grant on Doctor Who stickers. I daren’t look back and consider how much I spent on completing that collection but complete it I did.
Even though I was 18 and it is arguably, socially unacceptable for an 18-year old to start a sticker collection, it was satisfying. It was great for my mental health also. Much in the same way that gardening is beneficial for your wellbeing, seeing your collection gives you a boost. Moving on from this point and seeing the benefits, I rewound time and began to recollect those Pokemon cards from my youth. Today, there are more than 500 cards sitting in my draw, waving back at me when I feel as though I have achieved nothing.
The simplest hobby is usually the best
My Grandad loved gardening. I hate it and leave it for my fiancee to deal with. This is not to say that everything is left to her, as that would be a lie. I wash up and she kindly looks after the garden. Being in London and renting means that the Garden is small and therefore, this is a fair arrangement.
From stickers to Pokemon cards and Warhammer figurines, and back again. My hobbies have predominantly cost me money and involved collections. This is the key consideration, as this the part that you get to see grow. I understand those that take up a sport, as you can see your skill develop, but a collection grows quickly, which is satisfying.
Collections offer you the change to start something with nothing and finish with a full set. This for me offers you a precious moment of serenity in a world of chaos. It is something that is of more relevance today, in the pandemic dominated existence which we are linked to.
Collecting reduces stress and promotes relaxation
It’s an odd concept to consider. Small pieces of paper when collected and spread out in a folder, stack, or frame, will reduce your stress levels.
Many collectors report that spending time with their collections leaves them feeling relaxed, less stressed, and better able to unwind. Collecting provides a safe space where you can abandon your worries and leave the stress of the world behind you.
His and Her Mag, Collecting, 2018
The quote above resonated with me. Each time I flip open my Pokemon card folder I can forget the worries of the day. The stresses of work seem to fall by the wayside when you look down and see what you have taken years to put together. From the first card to the 500th, it is satisfying to see everything take shape. This is of particular relevance when we consider Pokemon cards, as some of those are tricky to find.
Gardening reduces blood pressure as it takes everything from your life and leaves it at the door. You are then placed outside and left to shape the jungle in front of you, in whichever way takes your fancy. If you choose to shape the grass or plant certain plants in a certain area, it is the real-life version of Animal Crossing. The game takes the simple and makes it addictive. This is the same with gardening and collections.
The global pandemic has slowed but we have not defeated it. Millions will lose their jobs across the world, hundreds of thousands have lost their lives, and there is no vaccine. The situation has tested us all. In different ways, we have been asked to adapt the ways in which we live our lives. I am working from home, which has been a big change but having my fiancee with me has reduced any anxiety that I may have felt. Others are not as lucky as I am.
If I was alone then I would rely on my friends and family. They are not always available but my collection is. Anytime I feel worried or anxious I can open the middle draw in my set of drawing, and pull out the folder that houses my collection. Five minutes on from this and my heart rate has reduced.
It is Pokemon cards for me but it could be stickers for you. The choice of the collection does not matter, it is the decision to invest that does. Given the troubling times that we all live in today, the moment in which to invest is today. The Pokemon company has seen this and last month, launched a beginner game to introduce Pokemon cards to new players. Regardless of the subject, collections are a great means in which to reduce the everyday stress that we all have.
2020 is a troubled year. The global pandemic known as Covid-19 is still running rampant and we could all do with a little TLC, but the availability of this is sporadic. A collection is a cheaper way in which to introduce a little stress relief to your life. You can start them from the safety of your own home and see them grow every day.
In a similar vein to gardening, collections take you out of the day-to-day and allow you the time to take a breath. Whether this is through the means of Paw Patrol, Pokemon or Doctor Who. The subject does not matter, taking the steps to start a collection and watching it grow is.
My collection has taken years to put together and it is still not finished. This is great as it leaves scope for growth and keeps the hobby alive. Searching for those elusive Black Star Promo cards takes minutes off my life every month, but it keeps me smiling and allows me to take a breath, and therefore there are no complaints from me. A collection is a great ally in the battle for your mental health, which is particularly relevant today.