These games give you a gentle reminder to take care of yourself if you need it.
When life gets busy, it’s easy to forget about the small things that can make a big difference in our health. We’ve all had days where we didn’t drink enough water or didn’t take the time to check in with ourselves. It can be scary to talk about self-care or mental health, but these games make the process less scary and more fun.
There’s a game on this list for everyone, whether you want a gentle nudge to remind you to make your bed or a virtual sanctuary to escape to. Many of the games on this list are free, so if you’re new to the idea of self-care, you don’t have much to lose.
Amaru is a mobile game that helps you learn how to take care of yourself. With the help of your new pet Amaru, the game makes self-care fun and easy to do. You will link your needs for self-care to those of Amaru (think Tamagotchi meets personal well-being). In the game, you can do things like breathing meditations and journal entries.
As you move through the games, you will level up Amaru and find new places, as well as unlock and find new mini games. The game is made so that you can finish it in about two months if you play for 15–30 minutes every day. This is done on purpose because that’s how long it takes to form new healthy habits.
Guardians: Unite The Realm
Guardians uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help you change your behavior and live a healthier life. You have to save Guardians, which are cute creatures, and save their Realms from Scorians, which are bad people. You have to do things outside of the game, in real life, to move forward in the game and get Guardians as pets.
The only way to get the Guardians to join your cause and save the Realm in the end is to get yourself excited about it. Guardians was made to help people’s mental health in the long run. And a study done by the people who made it at MIT Media Lab shows that it does. It also makes people happier and more productive.
Virtual Cottage is all about making you feel comfortable so you can reach your goals. At the start of the game, you are asked to tell it what you want to work on and for how long (with a 100-minute maximum input). The game also has a running list of things to do that you can check off as you finish them. You can even choose a cat or dog to help you study.
In the background, Virtual Cottage plays Lo-Fi music from a number of different artists. And you can play sounds like rain, wind, snowfall, or even a fireplace crackling. The game will sync and match the lighting to the time where you are. Virtual Cottage is here to help if you have trouble focusing at your desk and need to clear your mind a bit.
In the game Inward, you make your own little haven with peaceful animals and beautiful scenery to enjoy. You will be able to care for and change your landscape by making flowers, leaves, and unique tree species. Inward starts on a deserted island where you meet your meditation guide dog, Ammu.
As you finish meditations, you’ll find and be able to use new decorations. If you are new to meditation, don’t be scared off by the fact that the practices can be changed to fit your schedule. You can choose to meditate for as little as five minutes or as long as three hours.
Aloe Bud is a simple self-care app for your phone that sends you reminders to do things for yourself and keeps you in touch with your health throughout the day. Even simple things, like remembering to drink water or take a moment to check in with yourself and take a deep breath, can be easy to forget.
There are also times to think about things in Aloe Bud. For example, if you need to set a reminder for your medication. There is an extra prompt that asks how your medication has been making you feel lately.
Finch is a mobile app that lets you change how a bird looks. You will choose the color, name, and personality of your bird friend when you hatch it. Your little friend will help you keep track of your daily goals and write in your journal. As you finish your tasks, your bird will get bigger and you’ll get rewards. Rainbow Stones are the game’s currency that you can use to buy clothes for your pet and change their color.
Finch tries to make a stress-free environment, so if you forget to do your tasks or log in, your pet won’t be hurt. If you have friends who also use Finch, you can add them and visit their birds in the virtual town of Tree Town.
Playne: The Meditation Game
Playne is a game that focuses on meditation. It was made by Krish Shrikumar, who also made the game Inward. Playne has VR capabilities that you can get for free as DLC. This lets you go deeper into your peaceful meditation space. Playne takes place on an island biome, where you can build in a sandbox mode and unlock weather effects like the Aurora Borealis.
Playne comes with guided meditations and a kit to help you start a mindfulness journal. If you need some real-world motivation to get started on your journey, the developer has said that if you finish Payne. They will plant a tree in Scotland to honor your practice of mindfulness.
Kind Words is a game about writing in a journal. You will write letters about how you feel in a bedroom with soothing lo-fi music. You will get comforting responses to the letters you write. And you will also be able to respond to the letters of other users with advice or words of hope.
It is a good, clean experience that is meant to make you feel part of a group. Because of the connection to other people, Happy Wheels game can be a bit emotional, but everyone agrees that Kind Words has created a community of compassion and empathy.