Gaming is cathartic, and it’s a major tool for stress relief for people across the globe – including parents. It’s also a way to have fun, bond with others, and for some, it’s even a career, whether that means that you’re a professional gamer or have another career title within the gaming industry. That said, as with almost anything in life, balance is required when it comes to gaming. So, what can you do to find balance as a parent and gamer?
How To Find Balance As A Parent
Here are some tips to promote balance as a parent and gamer:
Put family first. When life gets busy, it’s okay to take a break from gaming for a while. The game will always be there, but the people in your life are irreplaceable.
If your career is in gaming, maintain a work-life balance. Take days off, and create a schedule for yourself that includes time set aside strictly for family and self-care.
Take breaks. Even if gaming isn’t your job, it’s important to know that you can take a break, especially if you game for a large portion of the day on a regular basis.
Set aside time for nature. Time in nature is a research-backed stress reliever, and outdoor activities are a great way to bond with the family. As a gamer or someone in the gaming industry, it’s also a great way to give your eyes a break, which is crucial for eye health. If it’s accessible to you, take advantage of it.
Check in with your mental health. Gaming can benefit mental health in a number of ways, but it shouldn’t be your only form of support or relief.
Ask for help when you need it. If you feel that you may have a problem with gaming too much, or if you’re struggling with mental health, stress, or balance for another reason, it’s imperative to reach out.
When Is Gaming A Problem For Parents?
A love for gaming is not indicative of gaming addiction on its own, and gaming can be a healthy, supportive, life-enhancing activity for many. Though the two can go together, there’s a difference between being a hobbyist or professional gamer who loves what they do and having internet gaming disorder or a dependency on gaming.
How do you know if gaming is a problem? If you:
Can’t take breaks
Lie about the amount of time you spend gaming
Are losing sleep to play games
Find that gaming interferes with family time, work, or other obligations and relationships
Notice an increased “tolerance” and need to play more and more
Become irritable when you can’t play
Your gaming may be a cause for concern. Research shows that forms of therapy like cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT – a non-invasive, short-term form of treatment used for various mental health concerns and conditions – can help with gaming addiction or internet gaming disorder. Gaming addiction or internet gaming disorder is said to be more common in those with conditions such as ADHD and depression, but it can impact anyone. If you’re struggling to find balance or need support in another way, a therapist can help.
Find A Therapist
Therapy is a safe, confidential space to talk about anything that’s on your mind. Whether you’re struggling with parenting, symptoms of a mental health condition, or something else that’s on your mind, there are many ways to find a therapist who meets your needs. You can find a therapist by asking your doctor for a referral, contacting your insurance company to see who they cover, searching the web, or signing up for an online therapy website like BetterHelp. All of the providers on the BetterHelp platform are licensed, and online therapy is often more affordable than traditional in-person therapy is without insurance.