Does anyone else feel like D&D can be mentally draining?

New player here! I just started playing last month and while I already love it, I noticed that the day after a session I tend to get super mentally exhausted. I didn’t think it was about the D&D at first, until my friends decided to hold sessions 3 days in a row! I had to cancel the third one because the thought of playing made me want to cry. My brain was absolutely not up for it.

Now I find myself having to take a mental health day after our longer sessions :sweat:

Does anyone else have this problem? What can I do to try to reduce this feeling? I have so much fun with it and I don’t want to stop playing it.

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Hi there!
I’ve also struggled with this. Although it’s really fun I feel like D&D requires a lot of admin! And at times I’ve found it a bit overwhelming. The only thing I can suggest is maybe limiting yourself to one session a week? I hope you can keep playing in a way that lets you get the most enjoyment out of it! :blush:

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I find it pretty tiring during the session. At least in my area, D&D players tend to have really long sessions (4-6 hours is common). With my current group we schedule a meal break in the middle and that helps.

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Yeah our sessions get pretty long too. We once played from 2pm to 2am and by the end of it I was literally falling asleep :tired_face: I found that getting up and standing helps a bit, but it’s really hard to pay attention to a whole lot of different things at once. I read somewhere that taking notes, doodling, and/or knitting might help with the attention aspect, but people don’t really talk about the mental toll it takes.

God, yes. My inattentive ass did not have the patience. I kept making my character die on purpose to get it over with…

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You gotta take care of yourself. Roleplaying can be super intense, and often takes a lot of mental energy. You don’t have to stop playing because it makes you tired, but you should give yourself time to rest and recuperate.

For me, I have a game I play once a week, and sometimes we just hang out and chat or play a lighter-weight game. Roleplaying and the socialization that comes with it is very important for my mental health, but it only helps if I give myself time to rest between sessions.

Don’t play more often than is good for you. If your group insists on playing several days in a row, then you may need to find a different group, or work out a way to have your character sit out some sessions.

I would also advise talking with them about limiting the session length to something that doesn’t knock you out the next day.

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Oh my lord yes. Tabletop RPG sessions are really draining for me because I have to focus or I’ll miss something, but all the games I play in tend to be in the evening - and that means my meds have worn off and I’m more easily distractible and usually tired on top of it. I lose focus so easily and end up screwing around on my phone, until the GM says “hey [my character], what do you think about this situation?” And I have to scramble to figure out what the heck is going on.

Thankfully, my main group only gets together once a month, but I think that’s going to change since two of the group members moved closer to where the rest of us live and can play more often now…

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A big mood. We have our sessions like once a month, but they’re long sessions. Like from 2:30 until 9pm. We have a break in the middle for dinner, but by that point my brain is already fried.

I always think it’d be better to have 2 breaks instead of one. I end up occupying myself with a stim toy, or drawing.

And because we play online with R20, I have to contend with the differing audio levels of several people in Discord, and end up having to wear noise reducing earplugs, under my head phones, in order to reduce the sensory overload it causes me.

It doesn’t happen all the time, but sometimes you’ll hear someones pet in the background, or someone opening a wrapper to eat something, and the loud/high sound will cut through my soul and i’ll get extremely overloaded.

@ ^ @ It’s a lot to contend with, so I try and always make sure all my notes and sheets are in one place to read easily.

And when it’s not a scene i really need to pay attention to (say a couple of characters getting solo scenes), I use that time to do something like walk off to get a drink/stretch legs, etc.

Wow I guess I never really thought about it. It’s been a while since I played in a game and far far longer since we met with regularity. I had to bow out because I went back to college and I thought that that was the reason I was having trouble which in a way it was but I never thought to suspect that other people didn’t also get exhausted by it.

I played for 26 hours straight at one point. Yea, I just kept making up more things for the players to do as a Dm and the one dude that was a PC just wanted to keep earning XP, so I just kept generating content.

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Egads! I cannot fathom playing anything for 26 hours straight anymore. I suppose there was at one point a time where I would have happily done that with Lords of Ultima (I think I would routinely get hyperfocused and play for sixteen hours at a time) but I can’t even begin to imagine what that would be like today.

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D&D is one of the things I hyper focus on. I could play for days… and have. Am I emotionally and mentally drained at the end? You bet can bet your d20 on it! but I do love playing so I give myself time afterwards to recover.

  • Breaks help: food, stretch, blink, take 5-10 minuets when your characters rest etc.
  • A seat that swivels or a spot where I can stand up also helps me
  • A soft lined dice box lets me fidget with my dice without being disruptive
  • I personally find being the DM is easier as a brain because I am constantly poked with changing stimulus to respond to and don’t have to wait nearly as long to do the next thing. (but also more draining)
  • If you see you need a break but are afraid of missing out on something, get the table (specifically the DM) snacks or drinks - no one is going to mind recapping for the person who just brought them snacks.
  • Have a doodle pad, when I’m a player and listening to what is going on or waiting my turn I often doodle so that I’m relaxing a bit.
  • Find a healthy balance that works for you and let your DM know if you find long sessions more taxing and let them know your max sessions for a week or in a row.
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Personally, writing down all the fun stuff or knitting helps a lot. I’ve knitted for every session where I wasn’t taking notes and it helped a lot. I also figured out how many hours of D&D I could take it and tried to stick to that.

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What is D&D?

I believe it’s Dungeons and Dragons
but i have never played

Yes, it’s Dungeons & Dragons. :wink:

There are multiple things that can, and maybe are, draining when playing D&D.

  1. The prep.
    D&D often needs either a little or a lot of prep.
    This can be draining before the session has even started, if you’re doing it last minute for example.
    Try to get your prep done one time, if this is an issue for you.
    Make sure the information you need is accessible for you, to minimize stressful searching through notes and sheets.

  2. Getting there already spent.
    An evening of roleplaying, concentrating, and everyone perpetually talking through each other is taxing enough as it is, but it’s even worse if you’re already low on energy when you arrive.
    Make sure you get enough sleep before and after, and make sure you eat and drink well on that day.
    Try not to do so much before a session that your brain starts to shut down on the intake of information just because it’s information at all.

  3. The session itself.
    Personally I tend to get myself all hyped up because it’s all exciting and everyone else is excited too.
    This in itself takes a lot of energy out of me and I don’t realize it until it’s quiet again.
    Conversations that aren’t relevant to the evening are fun, and shouldn’t be excluded overall, but some awareness of them can be helpful.
    Maybe let a conversation slide and focus back on the game, if this is an issue you have.
    Does your game get off track often?
    This can be especially draining because it tends to be unstructured and chaotic by nature.
    If this happens in your game, try to focus (more) on the DM, and maybe help him/her out with getting everybody back on track.
    I like pretending I forgot what’s going on and ask “What are we doing again?”
    This tends to get people’s minds back in the game.
    When it comes to taking micro breaks, I like the knitting and the getting everyone drinks or snacks idea from above.
    Personally I like to drink tea, I need to get up, boil water, get a bag, etc.
    And then do it again whenever I want to.
    Last but not least, don’t overdo it on the sugary snacks and drinks.
    More than a little sugar tends to blast people’s energy right out the window, and even if it doesn’t, it still often creates a sugar dip afterwards that is hard to get back from.