People ask me frequently, how do I find the time to play games every night? Very simply, I try to make it a priority during my day. My goal is to play a game each night. There are a few reasons that I try to make this commitment.
First, board games are inherently social. When I come home at night, I am often overwhelmed from the sheer amount of social interaction throughout my day. There is hardly a minute in my 8 hour day when I don’t have a student in my face, asking questions, demanding attention. Naturally, once I get home I tend to go into shutdown mode, where I don’t want to talk to anyone. This doesn’t lend itself to a healthy relationships. This is a major reason I play games after work. When I’m playing board games, the social aspect comes very naturally. Once I’m in the mindset of playing a game, I am less likely to get irritable about talking. During game time is when I am most connected with my husband. We are able to catch up on each other’s days, and discuss other matters while competing with one another and having fun. The switch to a game a day has been extremely healthy for our relationship.
Second, board games allow me to engage in a way that other activities do not. Many people enjoy TV or similar activities after work. These activities make me zone out, where board games force me to actively engage with what is happening. I enjoy the thinking that comes with playing games. It keeps my mind sharp, rather than allowing myself to get lost in my thoughts after work. One major drawback of living with depression is when I let myself get lost in my thoughts, it tends to seriously dampen my mood. Board games help me remain focused throughout my evening.
Third, there is always variety with games. It doesn’t matter what mood I’m in, I can find a game to play. I don’t always have to play a long and in depth game, frequently I just play a filler game or two. This is especially true if the day has been rough. Board games help brighten my day, and I love that there is enough variety to allow me to find a game that suits my needs each night. Whether I’m feeling goofy, depressed, impatient or thoughtful I have a game that will allow me to think in a way that demonstrates those emotions in a healthy manner.
Now, while these things are important to me, I don’t always meet my goal. There are days that I come home from work and get busy. Other days I’m too depressed to set up and clean up a game. On those days I try to play an app version of a game. While it is not quite the same as a physical game, I can still interact in a way that I enjoy with the games. However, I try to not let myself get into the habit of skipping days. It may seem a little odd to prioritize games in this manner, but it has helped me feel a lot happier since I have started my goal.