Gaming burnout: how to recharge & remain in the game
Video games have been around for decades. While many games have a light-hearted nature, they also bring out a level of competitiveness that rivals that felt by traditional athletes.
May 16, 2022|
May 16, 2022
Since video games were created, there has always been competition for the best score or quickest time. Achieving greatness in gaming is not easy. Getting better at video games is like anything else in life. Continual practice is the only tried and true way of getting better. Spending the time to work on your muscle memory, strategy, hand-eye coordination, and technique all come together to improve your game.
However, while the long hours and practice can help you win a competition or beat a level, they can also cause you to experience gaming burnout.
Below is a closer look at what gaming burnout is, common causes of gaming burnout, as well as ways you can overcome and avoid gaming-related burnout.
What is burnout?
Burnout is a form of mental exhaustion that can leave an individual feeling unmotivated, exhausted, and unproductive. Burnout is found in a number of different fields and professions, with medical workers, businesspeople, educators, and professionals in nearly every field experiencing burnout at some point or another. High stress paired with low job satisfaction and overwork contributes greatly to burnout.
Burnout and gaming
Gaming burnout is not discussed as often as work-related burnout, since most people typically imagine gaming as an escape and leisurely activity.
The reality is that gaming burnout and fatigue is a very real phenomenon. Gaming is a great way to alleviate some stress — but it also utilizes an immense amount of cognitive power. With high cognitive processing involved, gaming for hours on end can wear you out and potentially cause burnout. Below is a closer look at how burnout can affect your game.
Decreased motivation to play
One of the largest indicators of gaming burnout is that you find it much harder to convince yourself to play. A decrease in motivation can make gaming feel more like a chore than something fun to do. Many people push past this feeling and continue playing — but it is actually a good indicator that you should take a break.
Another symptom of gaming burnout is that you begin to doubt yourself and your abilities. Gaming at a high level requires you to be on top of your mental game, and when doubt creeps in, it can be to your detriment.
A large portion of gaming has to do with your confidence in your decision-making. When you begin to feel less confident in your choices to go to a certain location or make a certain move, that is another sign that you might need a short break.
Low sense of accomplishment
The small wins you make consistently in video games are great motivators and allow you to find enjoyment throughout and continue forward. When gaming burnout strikes, it can cause a diminished sense of achievement from these small wins.
Completing a level or achieving a high score just doesn’t make you feel quite as good as it once did. As a consequence, you might lose the desire to play altogether.
Common causes of burnout
Burnout can occur across all different activities and occupations, but there are specific factors that seem to be linked with an increased chance of developing burnout. Burnout is different for each person but knowing some common causes can help you more easily identify and avoid early burnout.
Lack of life balance
Having a fulfilling career and social life, including solid relationships with family and hobbies, is key to a well-balanced life. When one thing starts to overwhelm your life, it can become easier to succumb to burnout. In most instances, burnout comes as a result of overworking — but it can also occur when your hobbies consume too much of your time.
Lack of control
Another potential cause of burnout is a lack of control over your life. In the workplace, this might come in the form of an overbearing boss. Ingaming, lack of control can occur when you are constantly confronted with overly difficult circumstances.
Playing a game where there are many seasoned players or playing a particularly challenging game can make it feel like there is no way to improve.
Too many late nights
Being enthralled in a new game can make it easy to lose track of time and forego a night’s rest. While an occasional all-nighter is nothing to fear, continually getting a poor night’s sleep can place a heavy toll on your mind and body. The mental fatigue experienced as a result of a lack of sleep can be a large contributor to developing burnout.
A lack of sleep impacts your body in a number of ways, from worsening your cognitive abilities and reaction time all the way to suppressing your immune system. The effects of sleep deprivation are so great that being awake for 24 hours has the same effect on your coordination, judgment, and reaction time as having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10%, which is above the legal limit to drive.
Many gamers utilize caffeine as a means of pushing past tiredness, but the reality is that gaming on caffeine is not everything it is made out to be. Having caffeine too frequently can cause you to build up a tolerance and get the caffeine jitters, which can inhibit your gaming performance.
Ways to manage burnout
Burnout is something that impacts people in a number of different ways, and there is unfortunately no one single cure for burnout. While there is no magic solution to burnout, there are a number of ways you may be able to effectively manage burnout and potentially avoid it altogether. Below is a closer look at ways you can potentially manage and deal with burnout.
Take a vacation
Feelings of stagnation and monotony are a breeding ground for burnout. If it’s possible, a great way to break yourself out of your day-to-day life is to take a vacation. Vacations have a number of benefits that extend well beyond having a moment to relax.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, taking a vacation has a number of health benefits such as improved productivity and better overall mental health.
More specifically, take gaming burnout as a sign that you may want to take a break from gaming for a couple of days. Get outside, touch some grass, and enjoy a mini-vacation to help yourself recharge. More likely than not, you will perform better after a vacation than you would have had you pushed through feeling burnt out.
Take care of your health
Your physical well-being plays a major role in your mental well-being and taking care of yourself physically can help to increase your mental stamina and performance and may also reduce your risk of developing burnout.
Eating a well-balanced diet, getting enough physical activity, and ensuring your body is nourished at a cellular level can help to sustain a healthy mind and body.
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It may be just what you need to stay mentally sharp and energized to avoid gaming slumps and burnout.
In summary, burnout is a very real phenomenon that people across the globe face. While gaming burnout is not typically highlighted, it too is a real phenomenon that can throw you off your game and slow your progression to greatness.
When burnout strikes, the best action you can take to recharge is to step back and support your physical and mental wellbeing.
Whether it be through taking a vacation, adopting healthy lifestyle habits, or starting up a brain supplement, these actions can help to reinvigorate you to continue gaming.