Playtime is something that is associated more with children, but adults need to play too. Yes, really! In fact, having fun can boost the immune system, improve relationships and your ability to deal with stress, according to the National Institute of Play. How can you get involved and what exactly is play?
Simply put, play is spontaneously doing something you enjoy for no reason other than you enjoy it. There is no obligation to do it, and no end goal. When was the last time you played?
It comes naturally to children, but playing is a skill that we often lose as we grow up. Looking after ourselves, by eating and sleeping well, taking regular exercise and spending time with family and friends are all important; but making time to play is another essential ingredient for overall wellbeing.
We can become so led by our schedules that even things that might be fun, such as doing exercise, have the fun taken away from them. You may go for a run because you want to beat your time, or win a race, but it isn’t play if achievement is the overriding reason for doing it. However, change your mindset: running purely because it makes you happy and because you can, and then you’re playing. Attitude is key.
Integrating playtime into your day means allowing opportunities to go off script. We’ve all seen young children or pets being distracted from what they were doing and becoming completely immersed in a new activity. Allow yourself to be side-tracked and see what fun you can experience.
What did you like doing as a child? Chances are you will probably still enjoy it now. How about playing hide and seek, going on a swing in the park, bouncing on a trampoline (let’s face it, many of our children have them, but when did you last have a go?), losing yourself dancing to music, painting a picture? Whatever you choose to do, relax, enjoy and be in the moment.
Remember playing can help improve your mental and physical health and make you more resilient, which can only be a good thing. When will you start having more fun?
I'm a Personal Coach who loves finding out about what makes people tick and helping them to make the changes necessary to get to where they want to go so they can thrive.