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The Five Stages of Gaming Burnout

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INTRODUCTION

Have you ever felt exhausted, uninterested, or frustrated with gaming? If so, you may be experiencing gaming burnout. Gaming burnout is more than just a buzzword–it’s a state of physical and mental exhaustion. Usually, players who play for long hours can end up getting this. 

More so, gaming burnout has symptoms. It’s important you know about them before you get to a stage of having it. Signs include the following:

  1. A loss of interest in gaming
  2. Decreased performance and increased frustration when playing
  3. Irritability
  4. Feelings of guilt or anxiety when not playing

If you’re not careful, these can affect your personal life and relationships with other people. Like general burnout, they can keep you isolated for a long time, which drives everyone away.

But did you know that there are stages to gaming burnout? Yes, gaming burnout typically occurs in five stages. Each stage has its unique descriptions and challenges. And by knowing every one of them, you can gain insight into what steps to take to heal from gaming burnout.

That’s why in this article, we will explore the five stages of gaming burnout in-depth. Read on to discover how you can identify and address gaming burnout to rekindle your passion for gaming.

Gaming Burnout: ENTHUSIASM

STAGE 1: ENTHUSIASM

The first stage of gaming burnout is the “Enthusiasm” stage. This is where gamers are hyped up by the game they’re playing. It looks like putting a lot of hours playing the same game over and over, and getting positive feedback like finishing challenges. 

It’s important to mention that during this stage, players are still in a safe zone. Meaning, they can still be aware of gaming burnout and act on it quickly. But it’s still hard–players are on a positive high and the game might be new so they’re keen to explore it more. 

When you’re enthusiastic, we recommend getting into an online forum of players who play the same game. This will help you with two things: 

  1. First, to set expectations. Some games look great at first, but your excitement might die down as you go along.
  2. Second, other players can help you be more aware of yourself. Sometimes you can get too ahead of yourself because you’re excited. So, it’s important to maintain a balanced approach to gaming.

This stage is often overlooked because it’s all rainbows and butterflies. But it’s important to know that any burnout comes from a very exciting stage which can easily blow up like a bubble and pop suddenly into distress.

STAGE 2: BOREDOM

After a while, players will encounter the “Boredom” stage. Here, players feel like they’re not going any further in their gameplay. The excitement stops and frustration starts seeping in. Just like a bubble that flew too high, the initial fun suddenly pops and players will start to feel that the game is repetitive.

But it’s not too extreme yet, because players will only feel bored playing the game. They’ll feel like they’ve explored the game so much that nothing surprises them anymore. Now, where does frustration start showing up? 

Aside from knowing everything about the game, players can also feel trapped prior to getting bored. Let’s say you’re in Level 90 and you can’t get through the challenge. You’ve tried so hard and it seems like that level was the longest you’ve been on. It could be so demotivating to continue, and players still get bored in the end.

It can be hard to know how things are going to look like on the other side, but being more self-conscious helps. Still, it requires a good amount of awareness of feelings for games to take steps.

Gaming Burnout: FRUSTRATION

STAGE 3: FRUSTRATION

When the frustration persists, it’s when players enter the “Frustration” stage. In this phase, players feel heightened feelings of anger when playing games. They may also feel like they’re not satisfied with the game because they keep flunking it.

Frustration can come from many aspects of the game. For example, it can be because of the game’s mechanics, difficult levels, or the player’s own performance. This stage is where they start blaming the game for being unfair to not point the finger on them. 

But the most detrimental thing on the table is when players start questioning their games. They start asking whether the game was worth playing from the start, or if they just wasted their time playing them. More so, they feel stuck in the disappointment, which doesn’t give them space to just leave the game.

Gaming Burnout: DEPRESSION

STAGE 4: DEPRESSION

In the journey through gaming burnout, the “Depression” stage marks a significant turning point downhill.  Here, gamers experience deep feelings of sadness and hopelessness to play games. While this may seem like a healthy path to reduce game time, it’s not. In fact, it could lead to irrational fears of playing when not cured. 

Gamers also will also find it difficult to derive pleasure or satisfaction from their gaming activities. If you’re someone who’s always loved playing games, this can take a hard hit on you. The hobby you used to get fun from turns into a scary hole you would want to avoid. And remember, gaming for others is their only way to socialize, so removing it from their lifestyle will also take a hit at their relationships.

It’s also worth noting that this stage is often the longest and most challenging. Many individuals get stuck in this stage because it can be cyclical. You might feel like wanting to be better tomorrow, but end up still burnt out the next day. 

Gaming Burnout: RECOVERY

STAGE 5: RECOVERY

After going through the four stages, the last one is the “Recovery” stage. This is where players get a 180-degree turn from depression to getting back their interest in gaming.

In this stage, gamers feel better and want to start playing again. Unlike the ones they feel in the Depression stage, the one they feel here is more realistic and long-term. But more often than not, they don’t turn back to play the same game. Instead, they’ll go for a different genre or use a different skill set for the game. 

Gaming burnout can be a real bummer, so players also take note of that. Going through the last four stages isn’t easy, and this is where balancing their gaming comes. You’ll usually want to put out boundaries and set limits on your gaming time to make sure you keep yourself as your highest priority, not the game. 

Reaching the recovery stage is a testament to gamers’ resilience and ability to overcome gaming burnout. It’s a time of self-reflection, growth, and rediscovering the joy of gaming while maintaining a healthy relationship with it. 

CONCLUSION

It’s important to understand that gaming burnout can be different per person. But the stages can serve as a guide for players to point out where they are in the spectrum. Studies also show that gaming burnout can be a sign of addiction, so that means two things to worry about. 

Wherever you may be heading, know that there is a way out. The best way to prevent and get rid of gaming burnout is to know yourself better, tailor ways that work for you, and do it. Discipline is king, but being gentle on yourself is key to healing the broken gamer in you.

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