What I Learned Playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons for 300+ Hours

A true gift from this shithole year was Animal Crossing. Originally released in 2001, AC has been popular amongst audiences for almost two decades; releasing in the US in 2002. With over 40 million units sold worldwide and five spinoff games, there is clearly something for everyone to love and learn from Animal Crossing. 

The newest game, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, released worldwide in the beginning of 2020 on the Nintendo Switch, eight years after the previous AC game release. A perfect storm of social distancing and much needed entertainment brought AC:NH to new heights, with over 5 million downloads in the first month alone. So what’s so great about this game?

First and foremost, I am not an avid video game player nor am I a good video game player. I typically get bored after a few gaming sessions, having only completed two games prior (s/o We Happy Few and BioShock!). But I love AC:NH and have spent 310 hours playing over the last six months. This is what I learned while playing AC:NH. 

Game Premise 

You embark on a deserted island getaway and are able to create, morph and design your perfect island over time. You have residents that move to your island, along with shops, seasonal events and more to experience. Thanks to your raccoon overlord, Tom Nook, you start the getaway in debt, but don’t worry, you’re able to pay it off quickly. 

What I Learned

First Homesite; Island 1

Daily tasks are necessary – in the game and life.

As a person who’s struggled with heavy depression on and off for a decade, sometimes the essential tasks like cleaning, laundry or eating can be a burden. In AC:NH, your character is rewarded for doing simple things like picking up sticks, clearing weeds or chopping down trees. Being able to make a character push through mundane tasks made it a little easier to force myself to get out of bed and do laundry.


If you’re unhappy, restart.

New Campsite; Island 1

I spent almost 275 hours building an island which is roughly 12 full days. I received the coveted 5-star rating on accident at around 180 hours and was seriously unhappy. I really didn’t like my island – I started playing without knowing the purpose, creating a mismatched, haphazardly built island that I really wasn’t enjoying. So I restarted. Erased all that work and started over. That same principle can be applied to each of us every single day. If we’re unhappy with something – our attitude, mindset, exercise level, whatever – we can change that. Hit the restart button until you’re at ease and at peace with yourself. 


Everything changes and that’s okay.

Celebrating Summer; Island 1

You can build a perfect utopia from top to bottom, but inevitably something will change that you have no control over – like the seasons. AC:NH is set to recreate the seasons of your hemisphere, changing the available DIY crafts, ingredients and overall landscape of your island. This is not something that can be fought, but merely accepted. I do not enjoy change as a person, but playing this game has surprisingly made it a little easier to accept. (An overexaggerated reaction, but a good example nonetheless). 


Sometimes, people you love leave.

5-Star Status; Island 1

When you start your island, there are two other islanders who spawn with you. You’re able to interact with your islanders and swap gifts, etc. throughout the game. However, sometimes your islander will decide that it’s time for them to move on to another island. At first, I hated when islanders would want to leave – because I wanted them to stay with me. But just like in real life, sometimes you have to let people go so that they can be the best versions of themselves. Or alternatively, you need to let them go because they’re not good for you anymore (cough*Curlos*cough).


Just because my island looked different than others, doesn’t mean it’s bad.

Yoga by some trees; Island 2

A fun perk in AC:NH is that you’re able to visit other islands, deserted or inhabited, to trade or simply see a friend’s design. After watching a few of those 5-star island tours on Youtube though, I was feeling pretty dejected about my shabby island. Who cares? As long as I like my island and it functions for me, then it doesn’t matter. The same principle should apply to regular life too. Who cares if I’m not the same size, personality or type as someone else? It shouldn’t matter as long as I’m happy with myself. 


People can be jerks, but that doesn’t mean you should put up with it.

Turkey Day; Island 2

AC:NH contains over 400 characters that you could randomly meet or interact with. The characters are grouped by a personality trait: normal, peppy, sisterly, snooty, cranky, jock, lazy and smug. Snooty and smug villagers can be annoying to deal with, especially when they’re being rude towards other characters. You do have limited control of kicking people off the island if you so choose. There’s no reason to keep villagers or people in your life if they bring you down. Surround yourself with those who bring happiness. 


For anyone that’s looking to kill some time as we move towards another potential lockdown, maybe give Animal Crossing: New Horizons a chance. With bright colors, cute characters and a mostly stress-free gameplay, this can be a great escape for anyone experiencing heightened anxiety from lockdowns, COVID-19 or just the day to day stress of life. Spend your time fishing in lakes or growing flowers or diving for sea creatures.

Podcasts Are Taking Over My Life

It’s a problem, y’all. I’ll have to admit, I was a little late to the podcast world which is weird — especially since I have a degree in radio. Or maybe that’s why I didn’t listen to them for so long? Either way it’s better late than never.

Now you can catch me listening to them any chance I get. I love a day to myself when I can get chores done and pod’ it up all day LOL. Okay wow I’m never saying that again. The point is, whenever I’m not listening to podcasts, I’m thinking about the next time I’ll get the chance to listen to a podcast.

I’m sure you’re wondering, “Wow Lindsey, all this podcast talk so you must have some great suggestions, huh?” Why yes I do! Thank you so much for asking. Here are my current favorites:

Manifestation Babe Podcast with Kathrin Zenkina will get you SO pumped at wanting to get your shit together. If you’re a fan of “The Secret”, then this is the podcast for you. We love to hear a good “from nothing to something” story, and Kathrin has a beautiful one. She has played a huge role in my spiritual growth, meditations, manifestation practices and MORE. I am forever indebted to her. I can’t wait for the day that we’re best friends.

Impact Theory with Tom Bilyeu has taught me a lot about… a lot. Basically. He interviews an insane amount of talented people on topics like money, meditation, mindset, social media, etc. There’s a show out there for everyone. I love the fact that he has celebs on the show too — it gets them in a setting you normally don’t see them in which I can definitely respect. I always finish listening to one of his shows feeling like I gained something positive.

The Mark Groves Podcast normally leaves me feeling either warm and fuzzy inside or like I got smacked in the face. He’s not afraid to have the hard conversations, more often than not it’s exactly what I need to hear at the time. A few of my favorites are when he sits down with LeAnn Rimes, Mark Manson, and talks about holding space for others.

Tracy Otsuka’s ADHD for Smart Ass Women — DUH! It’s so good I’m in the Facebook group. I will say, it makes my ears want to bleed when someone says they’ve found their “tribe,” but if I were to say that, this group would be it. Tracy is so helpful in teaching and talking with others who teach all their tips and tricks for dealing with ADHD. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate having ADHD, but I also don’t love it… yet. (I’m learning to, ok?? We’re all on this self-love journey together.)

And last, but DEFINITELY not least, the Call Her Daddy podcast. That’s right. One of my girlfriends introduced me to this last year and I’ve been obsessed ever since. If you want the best for you AND your partner, give this a listen. Alex is hilarious and has given me quite a few pointers to say the least… 😉 Alex did have a co-host (Sophia) at one point but they’re no longer together, and the tea on that is PIPING HOT!!!

CONTENT WARNING: This is not for the faint of heart (men). There are many people (men) out there who aren’t comfortable with strong women talking about their sexuality even though it’s 2020! Maybe if the haters (men) of this show gave it a listen and opened their minds, they (men) would learn that we all deserve to have good sex. Not just them (men).

Okay phew wow anywayyy those are my fave podcasts! Let me know yours! Love ya