The past year has seen some major change to our day to day routines. The coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has made life pretty difficult in many ways. Governments around the world have put social distancing and social isolation rules and guidelines in place in order to slow the spread of the virus and this has meant a complete change of lifestyle for many of us. The majority of us have spent the past twelve months working from home and spending all of our free time at home – only really venturing out for food and prescriptions. Some of us have lost our jobs and have found ourselves spending a whole lot of time at home with little to occupy us. Some of us are suffering isolation and loneliness. Many of us are experiencing boredom. These are just a few of the consequences on top of the health impact of the virus and fear of the virus itself. Now, to attempt to combat the negativity of what’s going on in the world, many of us are looking for a little escapism, distraction and a way to socialise virtually rather than on a face to face basis. The good news for gamers out there? Gaming is a great way to tick all of these boxes. If you haven’t considered gaming before, now might be a good time to get involved and give it a try. Here’s some further information on the subject for you.
If you’re considering getting started on gaming, it’s worth doing a bit of research first. There are a number of different types of game and many different ways to game out there and it’s a good idea to know what to invest in and what’s likely to meet your needs and preferences. Some people like to game on PC and will need a gaming PC, and could benefit from a gaming chair to support them while sat playing at the PC and of course, may want to research the best PC games to choose from. Others will prefer to game on a console. In this case, you’ll need to choose a console (research which games are available on each alongside factors like performance) and take a look at the Best console games available. You may even want to consider handheld games if you’re operating on a tighter budget or if this suits you better. These are just the basics, but they will help to get you off to a good start with your gaming.
Positive Impacts on Your Mental Health
Now, let’s start looking at some of the positive impacts that gaming can have on your life. Not too long ago, people mistakenly took gaming for a bad habit and believed that gaming was largely a waste of time. But more recently, people are realising that gaming can actually come hand in hand with a host of benefits. Many of us are struggling with our mental health during these strange and uncertain times and, believe it or not, used in the right way, gaming could really help to lift feelings of sadness, boredom and loneliness. Here are just some of the potential positive impacts for mental health that gaming can have!
Calming and Relaxing
While a lot of games are action packed, there are a number of calming and relaxing games out there that have been specially designed to put you in a mindful and positive state of mind. These games have experienced a whole lot of popularity during this pandemic and their sales have gone through the roof. If you’re looking for something that will temporarily take you out of stressful day to day life and place you in a sunny and happy environment without pressure, consider a game like Animal Crossing. This could offer you a short, therapeutic escape into an island of your own creation that you have full control over. It’s cute, it’s got a chilled out soundtrack and you can hang out without a care in the world. We’ll come on to socialisation in a moment, but Animal Crossing also has features that allow your friends and family to virtually enter your island and hang out too! Playing games like this can offer a warming and comforting experience.
Many of us are feeling a little lonely right now. We’re not in contact with our nearest and dearest in the way that we might have been in usual times and if you live alone, you may never have felt more alone than right now. Now, there are plenty of means of contacting people, as we’re living in the digital age. We can call. We can text. We can video call. We can contact each other through social media. But many of us are craving the interaction of actually engaging in an activity with our friends and doing something together. This is where gaming can come to the rescue. Nowadays, increasing numbers of games can be paired with headsets to let you and your friends play together online. You can overcome missions and have a whole lot of fun. Multiplayer games really are providing social opportunities and experiences for many of us right now.
Of course, you’re also going to have to learn to incorporate gaming into your life positively and healthily if it’s something you’re going to use to help yourself through the pandemic. As with everything in life, moderation is key, otherwise you can begin to experience problems and consequences as a result. Now, gaming won’t damage your physical health or wellbeing as long as you make sure you’re still getting exercise and aren’t spending all day every day sat down in front of your console or computer. But it can impact your mental health if you let it take over your life. Excessive levels of gaming are identified by the World Health Organisation as a gaming addiction. This is a genuine, recognised mental illness and should be avoided if you can help it. Studies have shown people claim that excessive gaming has significantly impacted them and has increased or worsened symptoms of anxiety, depression and other conditions. But don’t worry too much. All you need to do is ensure that you put a limiting on your gaming time and stick to it. One hour a day should be more than enough to get the benefits without experiencing negative consequences. Remember that gaming as an aid and shouldn’t be used as a complete coping mechanism.
As you can see, gaming really can have a whole lot of benefits for us during this pandemic. As long as you practice moderation, this could be a great activity to factor into your day to day life!