If you’re spending a good amount of time at the monitor or on the sticks, you’re not alone, 90 percent of gamers’ screen time increased this past year. But it’s also probably time you invested in a few gamer wellness practices. Just because you’re sitting down doesn’t mean that your hobby isn’t taking a toll on your mind and body! If you’re one of the many gamers in this space that wants to keep leveling up, here are a few suggestions to improve your self-care game:
1. Learn stretches for muscle soreness
A sore back or fatigued fingers aren’t uncommon for gamers. While some of these aches can be remedied by a new chair or a quick yoga session, others tend to linger for hours. Without consistent care, it’s possible to sustain long-term arthritis or hand damage if you’re not careful. Just as you’d exercise your muscles to lift more at the gym, stretching your hands regularly and learning a few hand exercises will help you keep your body in top shape.
2. Purchase glasses to block light damage
It’s no secret that screens, while amazing, can also do a lot of damage to our eyes. Depending on the brightest and proximity of a screen, the light damage can have long-term effects to the quality of your eyesight. Especially for PC users or gamers that play at a desk, invest in blue light blocking glasses to help lessen the strain on your eyes. You won’t have to wear them all the time, but a few sessions with your new specs will help reduce potential harm.
3. Manage your brightness and volume settings
Speaking of eyes, when was the last time you managed your brightness settings. The settings we establish before the game begins can have a huge impact on how we feel after a gaming secession. Audio that’s too loud can permanently damage hearing, while screens that are too bright can strain our eyes. Depending on your personal set-up and preferences, look up the optimal brightness and audio that will make it easy to play, and easy on your body.
4. Schedule breaks in between gaming sessions
This one might seem obvious, but it’s hard to take a break when the gaming is good. However, stepping away from the controls can not only help with giving your physical body a break, but also gives your brain a little time to relax. High pressure situations, while fun or exciting, can also cause excessive mental stress. When you compound that frustration over and over again, you’re going to start making mistakes you regret. Jake Miller, esports trainer and coach, shared that, “The grind is important…resting after stress is where the real growth occurs, whether physical or mental. Not only will you get more out of your training and grow as a player, but you’ll also be healthier and happier for it.”
5. Maintain consistent hydration
While it might be tempting to grab another energy drink to keep the momentum going, you need to give your body water to rehydrate. Water helps the body to function, and if you want to be at your mental or physical peak to respond to in-game challenges, you need to take care of some basic needs.
6. Diversify your game choices
Between a good first-person shooter game or a battle royale match, you’ve probably found yourself in some stressful situations. That stress, like we mentioned, can begin to take a toll on you—even when you step away from the console. Consider diversifying what you play with games that are designed to mitigate or avoid stress. In fact, some games are designed to help you find a sense of peace throughout your day. Those small mental breaks will help you from going into overload.
7. Balance solo and friend gameplay
It’s probably nice to get some solo game time in but putting on a headset has more benefits than team collaboration. Especially in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, in-person interactions are limited and the support system we used to rely on is smaller. Getting into a Discord or console party with friends gives you the chance to reconnect and catch up, as stated by chumbacasino.com. Now, you don’t need to have a full happy hour over Fortnight, but you can take the time to check-in on your other gamer friends and see how they’re doing, too.
8. Listen to calming music instead of game audio
If the audio from a game isn’t essential to progressing, consider replacing the sounds of gunshots or fighting with some chill music. This will take down your sense of stress and help you relax while you progress through the game. In fact, some streaming channels on Twtich, like RelaxBeats, offer 24/7 relaxing music for listeners to drop in the background of their daily grind.
9. Keep your gaming space organized
Gaming setups can get complicated and between your console, cable management and other tools you need to stay at the top of your game, it can get pretty cluttered. If you haven’t already, invest in some desk organization tools, cable management systems and shelving to help everything stay in its place. Perform a regular maintenance routine to keep your area in order. Our environments affect our mood, and if you’re in a calming, clean space, you’ll be able to think better in the moments when you need it most in-game.
10. Purchase the right gaming chair and setup
Most gamers are pretty particular about their setup. The right chair, back-support or desk height can help improve or decline your physical stamina. Investing in the right gaming equipment is just as important as investing in the set-up itself. Instead of just focusing on aesthetics, test and find gaming furniture and equipment that helps you maintain good posture, has good back support and a desk or tv stand that’s the right height to reduce neck strain. Add-ons can be purchased for these items to increase height or cushioning as desired—so don’t feel like you have to completely throw out your current set-up if you know it needs adjusting.