In Times of Stress, I Turn to Cooking Games. Here’s How They Help Me Cope.

Games provide avenues for coping with tough emotions, inviting those who play them to practice self-care. Continuing our Power of Play series, Ashley, a high school student from Philadelphia, shares how cooking games have emotionally supported her.

By iThrive Games
May 5, 2022

The Power of Play blog series invites teens across the nation to share stories and reflections that highlight the ways games have helped them learn more about themselves, create new bonds, and better understand others. We're excited to continue the series with a reflection written and submitted by Ashley, a high school student based in Philadelphia, PA, on the ways cooking games have helped her destress and connect with herself in crucial moments.

Many people play games to pass the time and because they enjoy the effect games have on them. They have a relieving effect, and they are a way for people to forget about their problems temporarily. 

Typically, I am a person who relies on other people to help me cope with whatever crisis I'm in to help get me through it. I also rely on games to help get me through it. Games are a one-stop type of thing that will never leave you. Games are there for you whenever, any time of the day. I am such an overthinker and struggle with self-confidence. When something devastating happens in my life, all I can think about is all the negative consequences that it will bring. That's it. Nothing. No one else. But having games, something to go to at any time of the day, has been really helpful. Playing them helps me forget about my problems in that moment. 

I enjoy baking and cooking and the excitement that comes as I savor every second, minute, and hour before the food is ready. Cooking has always been a way for me to be and feel productive. I love the feeling that comes with making good food. You are so busy thinking about how good you want the food to be or how you do not want to mess up a recipe that you just feel more present and focused. Nothing else matters.

I found that same feeling in cooking games. Games like Cooking Mama, Cooking Fever, and Diner Dash help me take a pause from the world. I usually play anything that involves clear goals and the use of my time management skills. Cooking games mean a lot to me. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always had a passion for cooking because my mom cooks every day. Even if we have so much food leftover from the previous night, she will still cook something new the following day because of the relief it brings. I use cooking games in the same way. They help me deal with the problems I wish to overcome. In these games, there are numerous restaurants where you have to make and serve your "customers" food and drinks, and you earn money in exchange. The higher the level, the harder the difficulty range will be. The harder you push, the more productive and focused you feel.

These games are close to my heart not only because it brings me joy to serve others but also because, even if only for a little bit, it makes me forget about unpleasant things I can't control. These games also allow me to express my creativity through food. And what's not to love about that?

We are always looking to amplify teens' voices and share their stories that attest to how games help us understand ourselves, each other, and the world around us. Have something to share? Send us your thoughts, stories, ideas, and reflections at  with a brief blurb about yourself to see it on our blog this year!