The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed how people socialize, work, study, and even entertain themselves.
Quarantines and travel restrictions limited people’s mobility. Many were confined to their homes to avoid the further spread of the virus.
You may have engaged in various activities to cope with these restrictions and other effects of the pandemic. Some activities include learning how to cook, creating music or videos, working from home, or playing online games and eSports.
How do gaming and eSports help you cope with the effects of COVID-19? This article discusses how online games can be beneficial to you during a pandemic.
Benefits of Gaming and eSports During COVID-19
Video games are considered a fun pastime enjoyed by more than 160 million Americans. Playing video games can be viewed as a hobby or distraction to relieve boredom. For some people, the activity can turn into a competitive sport.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, gaming and eSports may provide the following benefits:
Increased Social Connection
Some games can be played online, allowing interaction with other players over the internet.
When the pandemic restricts your outdoor activities and limits physical interactions with other people, online communication is a practical way to maintain social connections.
Online gaming and eSports can also serve as a way to reconnect with your friends and family, especially when you have been separated for a long time.
You may also develop new connections, especially when you share common interests with other people. When your interests align, you may be able to form communities with like-minded individuals.
Additionally, the internet allows you to create connections without being limited by your physical location. Online communities can be formed by people hundreds or thousands of kilometers apart.
The COVID-19 pandemic created new challenges in people’s lives that the lifestyle change may have been stressful.
Stress can cause several problems, like headaches, high blood pressure, sweaty palms, and even panic attacks.
Some people turn to playing games to relax and de-stress.
A 2009 study mentioned that video games might have a positive effect on a person’s well-being. The findings showed that work-related fatigue and daily hassle exposure were positively affected by games used for recovery.
Another study states that stress relief is an unexpected but positive side effect of playing video games. The study found these games to have a potential socio-cultural significance and positive impact on the person’s well-being.
Sense of Accomplishment
During a pandemic when people may be confined to their homes or rooms, having nothing to do can lead to boredom.
At times like this, they may feel the need to engage in other activities, like learning how to cook, decluttering or cleaning, and gardening.
Tying these activities to goals can make them more exciting. For example, you may have found an exciting dish online and decided to learn cooking to replicate that dish.
Similarly, most people play games not only to pass the time but also to achieve a goal. That goal may take the form of an in-game objective, mission, or quest.
If you are into gaming, you can play a racing game and compete with other friends to win the race. You can also place bets with an online sports betting site to win the bet and receive a profit.
Accomplishing in-game objectives may not be as crucial as putting food on your table or ensuring you have sufficient money in your account.
However, at a time when some of your real-life goals are hindered because of the pandemic, even smaller in-game goals may help you cope with boredom.
The pandemic has limited the physical activities of many people. This period of inactivity can cause a person to feel bored and not having achieved anything.
Playing online games allows your brain to exercise. More importantly, games and eSports may be an opportunity for you to develop your cognitive skills.
Research suggests that playing video games is associated with creativity, communication skills, improved spatial skills, adaptation ability, and resourcefulness.
New experiences can lead to mental stimulation. Video games may provide this experience as a viable option for cognitive skills development.
However, playing video games should not replace schooling despite the lack of access to an educational facility due to the pandemic.
Sense of Normality
The pandemic has thrown many people’s daily routines into disarray. This situation has led many of them to make abrupt changes in their lives.
Suppose you were used to making daily commutes to work and meeting up with friends every weekend. In that case, you may have missed this routine in the first few weeks or months after the government placed travel restrictions.
Some people have turned to video games to establish a new sense of normality. For example, some games have patterns or structures that may help a person set up a routine.
Other games have virtual “worlds” that you can explore and trigger specific events when performing a set of actions.
Some people may consider these features to make plans and schedules similar to how they make plans and attend events in the real world.
There are mixed opinions about the advantages of gaming, especially when it comes to cognitive benefits. However, there are still people who consider gaming a viable option to cope with the challenges of the pandemic.
Before choosing what games to play, check the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings if a particular game is appropriate for you.
If you are still unsure if video games can help you cope with the pandemic, consider seeking the help of a professional health worker or psychiatrist.