More than 50 percent of Americans are stressed, anxious, frustrated or mentally fatigued at work, a study from the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society reports. However, as this research also shows, even just a few minutes of playing a virtual game can reduce stress, boost energy and increase positive emotions.
This year, work-related stress has reached new levels of intensity, as essential workers face burnout and other employees fear job loss. The amount of worry that 2020 continues to pile on can feel overwhelming at times, so if you need an outlet to mentally escape, virtual games could be the solution. They immerse the brain, relax the senses, offer a break from reality and provide a social network too. From online to mobile to console formats, these games will help you de-stress from work—or 2020 in general.
- Poker: Not only is this casino game relatively simple to learn for a beginner, it also has numerous variants to challenge yourself with once you master the basic skills and rulesets. From classics such as Five Card Draw or Texas Hold’em, to complex games such as Omaha, Badugi or Seven Card Stud, the more advanced techniques you learn and experience you gain, the more versatile poker becomes.
- Tetris: Developed by a Russian software engineer in 1984, Tetris is one of the first virtual games in existence, and it’s still a favorite today. The object of gameplay is to arrange tile pieces called “tetriminos” of various shapes and colors, so they will fit together like a puzzle. You are then scored for the number of sequences completed. Tetris is technically unwinnable, but it’s a casual, no-effort distraction.
- Wordscapes: If both a crossword puzzle and a word search joined forces with each other, the result would be this game. With 6,000 levels to keep you entertained and occupied, the goal is to create as many words as possible with the circle of letters on your screen. There are also hidden bonus words in each puzzle which unlock extra points, and since there’s no timer, the game moves at your own pace.
- Golf Peaks: Equal parts virtual mini-golf and puzzle arcade game, Golf Peaks uses a series of action cards to maneuver your ball along an uphill course until you reach the summit. Each card you select will determine both the number of moves your ball can take and the direction it goes in. So with a combination of strategy and luck of the draw, you can sink it in the hole and proceed on to the next level.
- Minecraft: One of the most played video games of all time, this multiplayer world taps into creative problem-solving and mechanical engineering skills. Your avatar can gather natural resources, build structures and communities, and embark on adventures through portals and dimensions. Minecraft is a sensory experience for the imagination in those times when you need to hit pause on reality.
- Journey: If you have an itch for wanderlust in 2020, Journey is the game for you. With brilliant panoramic visuals and soothing ambient music, this lone expedition through a mysterious desert civilization allows you to roam and unwind in the quiet of nature. Become a vagabond trailblazer in an alternate universe, miles away from all the stressors of modern life with just the wilderness as your guide.
What online games help you de-stress and relax after the workday? Are some of these titles in your current rotation, or is there another game you turn to for stress relief? Share your recommendations in the comment section below!