Life-Affirming Games & Cards To Help You Keep Calm & Carry On

Look to these positive and fun card decks to inspire meaningful moments for both you and your loved ones.

By Chris Ong        3 June 2021

Bored at home because of pandemic restrictions and guidelines? Getting tensed up with family members or socially distant from friends because you’re all cooped up? Or, just being all sad-faced and unmotivated because you are too lonesome, all by yourself? We feel you – the COVID-19 situation has wreaked all kinds of havoc on our daily lives as well as on our physical, emotional and mental health. Time to ease the pain and pressure… by turning to inspirational cards and card games.

Sometimes, all we need is a little reminder of the good stuff and people in our lives; inspirational card decks provide that positive affirmation or quote to help us go about the day feeling a little better, while playing with thought-provoking card games can be a form of self-help but made fun, leading to therapeutic, connecting sessions with loved ones at home and also with missed friends (with some creativity, some can be played via Zoom, too). Try your hand at shuffling through these 6 decks here; they might make time pass a bit faster, and life, just that tad brighter.

Confidence Cards For Kids
Photo: Amazon

Confidence Cards For Kids: Empowering Cards to Supercharge Your Child’s Self-Belief (Summersdale)

As the line printed on the back of this deck’s box goes, “Every child should know just how awesome they are”, and so then, should your kiddo. Kids can feel a little less sure of themselves at times – which could possibly occur more if they can’t head out or meet up with their friends to play as much – which can be kind of a bummer for both child and parent. And, if because you are kept busy with work and can’t spend that much time hanging out with him or her, then “double-bummer”.

Here’s a simple way to boost his or her mood and confidence by getting them a deck of brightly-coloured cards so that they can feel a little better about themselves every day. Suitable for children between 5 to 11 years of age, these 52 cards are printed with an assortment of colourful illustrations and empowering statements, such as “You are brave and strong” with a rainbow above it and “Your confidence lights up the room” on a bright yellow sky filled with white clouds. You can either choose to gift your loved one a card every morning, or decorate his or her bedroom with lots of them, so that they know they can be the kid-boss of their own lives, and that they are loved.

The Empathy Game
Photo: The Empathy Game

The Empathy Game (Saskia H. Herrman and Jorik Elferink)

This could be that ice-breaker or game to play, once you get back into office more, reconnect with groups of friends, hold parties or invite more family members over to your residence when (and if) the pandemic restrictions are eased and people are allowed to socialise in larger gatherings. Empathy is more needed than ever in this digital age and socially-distant times, and this game helps us concretise our connections more by asking basic but important questions through a simple dice and card game. Pick a card and answer thought-provoking queries such as “How different was your life one year ago?”, “What do you admire/value in others?” and “When did you have a dream which you couldn’t forget?” Share your answers, opinions, feelings, experiences and perspectives, and who knows, you might just learn to understand more about your loved ones and mates.

The Kids’ Yoga Deck
Photo: Amazon

The Kids’ Yoga Deck: 50 Poses and Games (Annie Buckley)

Got a restless young one in the house? Or, need to get back into practising yoga at home but still need to keep an eye on said restless child? Here’s the solution to centre the playful one and yourself. Get your energiser bunny into doing yoga with you, and even if you are no trained yogi, no problem; this deck acts as an easy, fun and safe “instructional manual” of sorts to help both you and your “student” get breathing and stretching. These cards are colourful and large enough to hold your youngster’s attention, and also durable enough to withstand his or her “rougher” play. Expect to get into poses such as Cat, Flower, Airplane and err, Twisty Triangle, with your more flexible mini-me, to help build his or her sense of balance, strength, flexibility and mental focus, and you, your patience and child-friendly yoga knowledge.

Imagine Me
Photo: Amazon

Imagine Me: Visualising Your Identity (Lisa den Teuling)

Lots of card games are about winning or losing, that lead to lots of energetic activity and noise that eventually end up being just an entertaining way to pass the time. Not this one. Probing and contemplative yet still accessible and fun, this visualisation-based card game helps players find out more about themselves and each other, by uncovering the differing ideas and feelings about one’s own and other people’s identities. Don’t worry; the subject may sound cheem, but it isn’t that complicated a game to play. Using 99 cards divided into three groups of Personality Traits, Character Traits and Colour Traits, pick 7 that represent your or someone else’s visual identity and off you go. It helps that the cards are gorgeously illustrated so you will be kept engaged and intrigued enough to keep playing.

Photo: Amazon

Thera-Pets: 64 Emotional Support Animal Cards (Kate Allan)

Okay, you can just get this attention-grabbing daily affirmations card deck just for the super-vibrant illustrations of cute animals alone. But, there is more to them of course. Suggested as “an art therapy card deck of emotional support animals to make every day easier” that you look at any time you need that extra boost of encouragement and cheer, the cards each come with an adorable animal drawing (there are 64 to choose from), an uplifting quote, words of wisdom or mindfulness advice. Perfect for animal-lovers or lovers of bright and pretty illustrations.

The Little Box of Calm
Photo: Amazon

The Little Box of Calm: 52 Beautiful Cards of Comforting Quotes and Uplifting Affirmations (Summersdale)

Need that extra dose of inner peace to start your day? Pick a card from this illustrated deck of 52. Featuring inspirational quotes, affirming mantras or just kind and thoughtful statements, the box even comes with a wooden display holder so you can place your chosen card of the day on your desk in the office or table at home to help soothe your daily stress. Our faves ones? “Silence is not an absence but a presence. Not an emptiness but reflection” from author Anne D. LeClaire, and “In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating than going slow” from novelist Pico Iyer. Read, ponder and absorb, for instant calm.

Look for these card games and card decks at reputable bookstores such as Books Kinokuniya, and online retailers such as Amazon.