Play isn’t just for kids… we don’t lose that need for playfulness and silliness in our lives when we grow up. We have this idea that “grown-ups” are serious all of the time, but we never lose that need to have fun. People who take the time to play have better mental health and an easier time handling stress. When you’re playing, your mind is focused on the now.
Stuart Brown is a doctor who has written a book about the importance of play for adults and writes that it helps to bring joy, creativity, and pleasure to our lives. It helps us in our relationships, to connect with others and solve problems. “Play is something done for its own sake. It’s voluntary, it’s pleasurable, it offers a sense of engagement, it takes you out of time. And the act itself is more important than the outcome.”
Play will mean different things for different people. It might be doing things you enjoyed as a child like swinging on the swings or playing dodgeball, it might be talking to your dog, going for a bike ride, or sitting down with a musical instrument. Just remember that it’s something done for the pleasure you get from the process, not from the result. According to Dr. Brown, play is like oxygen: “…it’s all around us, yet goes mostly unnoticed or unappreciated until it is missing.” Don’t forget to play. It is an investment in your wellbeing.
Game Plan: Make the time to play every day. Build a snowman, put on your rain boots and jump in some puddles, sit down and start painting (maybe fingerpainting?!) just for fun. Play a board game, some road hockey, charades… Turn off your phone, laptop, and TV, and make some time to play.