Why You Need To Find Time To Play
In a culture that places such a high value on productivity and hard work, I often get a shocked response when I mention the importance of adults finding regular time to play.
Only children are allowed to take a dedicated recess, apparently.
If we do play, we are supposed to make it another kind of work, like training for a marathon and competing in it, playing golf while we close business deals, or entertaining solely for the purpose of networking.
We just aren’t designed to stop playing when we reach adulthood. If we do, we are paralyzing our development and closing doors to personal growth.
Dr. Stuart Brown, a psychiatrist and author of the book Play, compares adult play to oxygen.
He writes that opportunities to play are all around us like the air, and yet we don’t even notice they are there until they are suddenly missing in our lives.
Adult play isn’t just building a sand castle on the beach, although it could be. But it is also doing art or appreciating art, reading a book, seeing a movie, enjoying music or going to a concert, laughing or going to see a comedian, daydreaming or engaging in happy conversations.
Just as play serves as an important vehicle for a child to develop socially and stay happy and adjusted, it does the same things for adults. Some studies have even linked the ability to play as adults to cultivating healing and living happier and healthier lives.
Play for both adults and children is a process of having fun, not just one particular thing.
You don’t have to play all the time as an adult. You have responsibilities and work to do, and those things make demands on your time as well. But you do need to find moments of play to spice up your creativity and your social relationships.
Finding a few minutes of play every day is important.
What happens if you don’t know how to play? If the last time you actually played, were you a child, and was it so long ago that you forget how it works?
Consider the activities that used to make you happy as a child. Many adults in the last few years have reminded themselves of the joy of coloring and adult coloring books suddenly became popular.
Look for the fun in certain moments of the day. Do you have 15 minutes to spare? Want to shoot some hoops through a basket, walk around the block, pick a bouquet of flowers or make a cup of tea and read a chapter of a mystery book?
When the 15 minutes pass and you return to your work, you will find you are refreshed and eager to finish your work. The day somehow feels more meaningful when you had a chance to play.
Play with your children and let yourself laugh again. Play with older people in your life and enjoy their smiles. Invite some friends over to play cards or Monopoly or Scrabble or Mexican Train. Throw some burgers on the barbecue and call some friends to come for a spontaneous supper.
The more you develop your playful side, the more your life will be enhanced. And at the end of the day, you will have had more fun than those who have forgotten this greatest skill of childhood.
Paula Morand is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold leadership expert and brand strategist brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and impact in a more bold fashion.
24 years, 27,000 clients, 34 countries, 15 books, former radio personality, 11x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.
Check out Paula’s bestselling books on Amazon: “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything”, “Dreaming BIG and Being BOLD: Inspiring stories from Trailblazers, Visionaries and Change Makers” book series; and her newest release “Bold Vision: A Leader’s Playbook for Managing Growth”.
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