Everyone has their go-to strategy when they’re in a funk. Some might go on a walk through nature, others might grab their favorite hot beverage and watch a happy movie, and some might reach for their fitness gear and go to the gym.
Heck, I’ve used all of these methods when I’ve been bogged down by my depression before!
But my go to method? I think it’s pretty obvious by now:
Please make sure you’ve read my disclaimers if you haven’t already.
Ever since I was small, nothing could top the utter euphoria that washes over me when I’m playing a good game. I get so into it sometimes that I lose all track of time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been playing a game for just a few moments when suddenly I look up at the clock and 6+ hours have passed.
And sometimes that’s what we need — to disconnect for a while and find our strength in other worlds. When our mental health is not at its strongest, we need something to help build it back up.
This is why I’m always very particular when it comes to the games I’ll play when I’m feeling down. They have to be something easy, preferably something with occasional rewards or achievements and they have to be FAIRLY relaxing.
So yeah, no competitive Overwatch.
I’ve come up with a list of the games that I have determined to be the best in helping me work my way out of my downward spirals. I hope they can help you, too.
I love to play Minecraft when I’ve had a rough day or when my depression is just a little heavier that day. Usually I’ll start a brand new world and try to envision my perfect house right at that moment.Then, I’ll head out on my adventure to find the perfect plot.
There’s something so meditative about the crumbling blocks and the pixelated scenery. I’m not sitracted by “amazing” graphics and I’m not overwhelemed by a quest list. I’m just doing whatever I get to do.
I do try to stick to Minecraft when I know my mental health isn’t TOO bad, because I can get a little overwhelemed by the mobs. If my anxiety is through the roof that day, I know I’m not going to want to run into any creepers or Enderman!
Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
This game is a little bit different from the other options on my list. It has QUESTS. But when I’m playing this for my mental health, I ignore all of that. I turn off the quest markers, I don’t speak to any NPCs, and I just PLAY.
I love to just hop on my horse and explore the landscapes in this game. I can also easily rush past mosnters this way! I love to find the prettiest, most relaxing places in the game and just take my time inpsecting them. It alows me to clear my head and temporarily not worry about whatever had provoked my depression or aniety.
Since I’ve downloaded The Sims 4, it has become my go-to for gaming when my depression is out of control. There’s something therapeutic about creating a new Sim and dropping them into a new world.
I’m definitely all for cheatcodes (looking at you, rosebud!) especially in this context. Often, I’ll give myself more than enough money and go “shopping” in the online gallery for my dream house. Then I just let my sim live their lives– ocassionally pushing them in the right direction.
Being able to separate myself from my own life and watch another person really puts things into perspective for me.
This is by far my absolute favorite game to play when I’m out for the count mentally. It’s such a simple concept and there’s so little risk. But the puzzles required to get through each level force me to use my brain for something other than depressive or intrusive thoughts.
If I fail, I just go right back to the beginning of the level. If I can’t figure something out, I don’t let myself get too hard on myself — these are the cases that I’ll allow myself to look up a walkthrough but ONLY for that particular obstacle!
I also love this game because of the dialogue. GLaDOS and Wheatley are HILARIOUS and you can’t help but laugh at most of their silly oneliners. So in addition to bringing forth a distraciton, it also boosts my mood.
I cycle through these 4 games depending on how I’m feeling at the time. And, honestly, which one I’m enjoying more latrely.
It helps to take note of exactly what I’m feeling so I can determine if one or the other would be a better fit for me right then. Like I said, if my anxiety is particularly bad, I can’t play Minecraft, but maybe The Sims would be a better option for me right then! In the same way, if I’m not feeling too down, maybe I don’t need to distract myself with puzzles and cheesy lines in Portal, so I can just hop into Zelda and take a moment to enjoy the scenery.
If you don’t already have 2 or 3 games selected for your low days , I highly recommend doing a quick inventory. Figure out what you have and from there decide which games make you feel good. This way, if you’re ever in a particularly rough situation you don’t have to stress over what to do; just grab your game!
I love hearing from you all, so don’t be shy!!
I’m looking forward to learning about all of the different games different people turn to. And if you have a different method that you us, please share that as well!