Stay home, stay healthy, play games: Therapeutic gaming guide can help you de-stress while you self-isolate

SPOKANE, Wash. — As we continue to social distance and self-quarantine ourselves, it can be pretty easy to feel anxious with all the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak.

So what can you, or even kids do, to alleviate anxiety during these long periods of isolation?

Believe it or not, video games can be a great way to de-stress.

I spoke with Child’s Play Charity, a non-profit here in Washington, dedicated to incorporating gaming technology in children’s hospitals.

A place where being isolated and feeling anxious and sad is not uncommon.

“It is a hard thing when kids are battling that isolation, anxiety, pain, feeling really restricted,” said Director of Philanthropy and Partner Experiences at Child’s Play Kirsten Carlile.

Child’s Play partnered with the video game research firm EEDAR to create a therapeutic gaming guide.

The guide lists games that are good for anyone of any age experiencing physical or mental symptoms while they’re isolated.

“So our goal was to give a quick guide and snapshot to our caregivers because not every nurse is a gamer, not every physical therapist is a gamer,” said Carlile.

As a journalist, I still have to work, but on the weekend when I’m staying home and staying healthy, I’m a gamer.

Self-quarantining at home during the coronavirus outbreak would probably cause a great deal of boredom for a long period of time.

So I looked at the games under ‘Boredom’ while in a ‘Long-term stay’.

Gaming Guide

Gaming guide

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Child's PLay Therapeutic game guide

I was happy to find one of my favorite PlayStation 4 games listed there: An action role-playing game called Kingdom Hearts III.

These types of games are story-based and meant to entertain in the days and sometimes weeks it takes to play them to completion.

Carlile says the gaming guide can be a huge help to those who game often and those who don’t.

“For example, I wasn’t a gamer before this compared to you, who I know games,” said Carlile. “So you wouldn’t want to say to someone who’s feeling anxious ‘Go play Overcooked,’ because it would make them more anxious and stress them out. But for someone who’s feeling pain, it can help create a cognitive change where they’re going to feel better.”

And although it’s important that we practice social distancing, Carlile says gaming doesn’t have to be something we do alone.

“Maybe it’s your child teaching you how to play a game because you’re not a gamer,” she said. “It’s incredible when you can find multiplayer games that have a connectivity of that nature and it can change and lighten the mood.”

The Therapeutic Gaming Guide provided by Child’s Play lists games for a variety of devices.

So stay home, stay healthy and play games.