The festive season…It’s cold outside, and you want to stay inside wrapped up warm by the fire. But we all know that too much screen time isn’t good for us. Besides, the holidays often mean a break from work, which means less staring at a computer all day. But what else is there to do besides watching movies and binging Netflix series? Well, you might want to try some board games. Christmas and the holiday season offer time for us to connect with family and friends. Why not do it around a board game instead of round the TV?
Why you should consider board games this holiday season
Board games are one of the few activities that are suitable for people of pretty much any age. Personally, I have really fond memories of sitting around the table and playing Monopoly or scrabble for hours on end. Being stuck inside can lead to boredom for people of all ages.
Board games are a great boredom buster and bring people together. It’s also truly a social experience as you all focus entirely on the game and, as a result, what the other players are doing rather than phones and tablets. Despite the introduction of so much new technology and the many technological advances, board games sales seem to be on the increase.
They’re also absolutely brilliant for your brain. Playing board games, especially strategic ones, “stimulates brain areas that are responsible for memory formation and complex thought processes”. It will also assist in boosting cognitive skills, rational thinking, problem-solving, and even building patience.
These games also tend to teach strategic thinking in a fun way. In most board games, players will need a good strategy in order to win. But all of this thinking is done in a stress-free and care-free environment that encourages laughter and togetherness. According to Reader’s Digest, “Board games stimulate brain areas that are responsible for memory formation and complex thought processes for all ages”.
So, what are the benefits of playing board games?
They will help to reduce screen time
Both adults and kids spend too much time staring at screens, since the pandemic, the average screen time for an adult in the USA has risen from 11 hours per day to a massive 19 hours per day. Of course, some of this is work-related. But what better time to take a break from all those devices than during the holiday season? Instead of gathering to watch a movie, try gathering around a board game instead.
Spending too much time staring at a screen is linked to:
- Bad sleep patterns
- Insufficient sleep
- Weight gain
Engaging with board games is great for boosting interpersonal connections and removing outside factors from social media. This doesn’t mean ditching TV entirely, but it might be a good idea to decide in advance what days you’ll play board games rather than retreating to your individual rooms or watching TV.
It’ll boost family connections and relationships
One of the best things about these games is that they’re both fun and beneficial no matter your age. The strategic thinking and light-hearted competition associated with board games boost social interaction and often “requires players to engage with each other through teamwork”. In order to successfully compete, you’ll need to be able to read people’s body language. This will help to boost emotional intelligence which is particularly beneficial for children.
This will likely result in stronger relationships being formed. Every time we engage in a positive interaction with another person, it works to strengthen that bond. It also cultivates a fun and relaxed environment (perhaps excluding Monopoly if your family is particularly competitive).
It’ll help to reduce stress
The holiday season can be a stressful time. Typically we’re forced into a lot of socializing that we might not want to do. We all have that one family member that’s basically impossible to deal with and just stresses everyone out. But taking some time to play board games with family (the ones you do like) and friends can be hugely beneficial when it comes to reducing your stress levels. It’s a great method of escapism that’s doesn’t rely on screens or harmful blue light. It makes for a much less stressful environment when you can allow yourself (and your brain) a break from the daily grind.
According to a survey of 5000 people conducted by Real Networks, “64% of participants reportedly play games with a primary intention to induce relaxation, and 53% play specifically to reduce stress”.
Playing board games can also provide a fun outlet and might even help you to learn to cope better with stress. A study conducted in 2017 on stress management showed that the body’s response to stress can be safely regulated when playing certain board games. This is because it allows the mind and body to deal with being in ‘stressful situations’ safely.