Why You Should Use Video Games For Self Care

If you’re a gamer and haven’t added your favorite games as a part of your self care routine, what are you even doing!! We are past the days of gaming being pushed as this big bad evil guy that makes people violent and damages our brains. With the variety of games out there, there is a type of game that can work as self care for virtually anyone. Let’s take a look at the options and why you should start implementing video games for self care.

Benefits of Video Games For Self Care

Self care of any kind provides so many incredible benefits. Gaming is included in that when you are actively using it for self care. Depending on the games you’re choosing to play and what you’re doing with them, you can improve your mental health and physical health, lower fatigue, and boost your memory. Plus, any type of gaming can give you a much needed break from life!

Video Games for Mental Health

There are a variety of different ways you can improve your mental health by adding gaming to your self care practice. I’ve talked about this at length before if you’d like more details, but here are some recommendations for you!

When you’re looking for a game for stress relief, you want something that is calming and doesn’t always require a lot of mental energy. For me, those games can look something like these:

  • Spiritfarer
  • Sable

Beyond stress relief, you also may want to exercise your brain. Games with puzzles or fund building mechanics can help with this, like:

  • Portal 2
  • Sims 4

Socialization is another critical piece of your self care. Almost any game out there can be made social, but I find the ones that encourage working together as a team work best for me. Some of my favorites are:

  • Minecraft
  • Overwatch

Video Games for Physical Health

On the other side of the spectrum, there’s also benefits to your physical health. A lot of people probably think gamers are lazy and unfit, but that isn’t always the case! Like anyone else, we come in all shapes and sizes. Plus, there are a ton of fun games that incorporate physical activity – some even specifically intended to get you moving!

Nintendo usually does a great job with fitness games and this one is no different! This game was intentionally made to increase your activity and get gamers moving:

  • Ring Fit Adventure

There are other games out there that get you moving too, but fitness wasn’t their initial intention. My favorite games like this are: 

  • Beat Saber
  • Just Dance

The games I’ve mentioned so far focus on cardio primarily and some strength building. But there’s more to physical health than those! Yoga and stretching are other great forms of exercise for your self care. This Nintendo Switch game recently added a feature that lets you actually get up and stretch: 

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons

Incorporating Video Games Into Your Self Care

The hardest part of any self care plan is finding the time for it. I’ve talked about making time for rest and the same things apply here, but we can also take it a step further. 

The most important thing, in my opinion, is still scheduling some set time for your self care. This ensures that you have a specific amount of time – even if it’s just 15 minutes – for you to take care of your well-being. Once we get past that initial schedule, it’s crucial to find a game you truly enjoy. If a game makes you angry or upset, it’s not going to be beneficial for your health. 

Think really hard about what games you like and which ones help you feel the most relaxed. These should be the games you keep in your self care toolkit. Once you have your games in mind, you should pick something that works for you in the moment. Don’t try and force yourself to play something – or anything really – if you are not in the right headspace for it.

video games for self care

Conclusion

I will never ever stop standing up for mental health and the different tools we can use! Gaming has been such a crucial piece of improving my mental health and my goal is to help others do the same. I hope you found this useful and that the other resources here on the site can help you!

If you use gaming as self care, I would love to hear all about it, so tell me in the comments below or find me on Twitter!

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