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"We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing" – George Bernard Shaw.
When did we start taking everything so seriously, especially ourselves? When did we stop playing? The notion is that once we reach adulthood, it’s time to get serious. Many of us are focused so heavily on work and family commitments that we never seem to have time for pure fun. We are always preparing for the future; our obligations build up and time just goes by. Playtime shouldn’t end when we grow up, adults need a break too!
Play has profound benefits for all ages. Babies and young children learn things about themselves and the world around them through play. Preschool and older children practice skills that develop their body, mind, and social skills. In adulthood, play is a great way to fuel our imagination, creativity, and problem-solving abilities. Play can also relieve stress by releasing endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good hormones which in turn improve our well-being.
Take some time to reflect on your childhood, what brought you a significant amount of joy without offering a specific result? Rediscover that hobby, play that sport, pick back up that instrument. Was there a particular board game you enjoyed? Or was joy cultivated in your life through art, dancing or singing? Did you like nature walks or watching the clouds go by? Go back to the simple things that took you out of time and allowed you to be in a state of being. Or perhaps you could take the time to learn something new exciting and fun, create more moments that make you fulfilled and happy in life.
By making a conscious effort to incorporate play into our lives we can improve the quality of our relationships and connections to others around us. Sharing laughter and fun can loosen up stressful situations and bring more joy and vitality to our relationships. Play can enhance bonding and improve communication and this is something we all strive for.
Play is described as engaging in an activity for enjoyment rather than a practical purpose. When the experience of doing is more important than the outcome. This could be sharing a joke with a friend, a game of chasing with your children or simply playing fetch with your dog. I would personally be fond of fun harmless pranks, prank calling friends (temporarily paused because they're all onto me) or hiding behind the curtain to jump out and scare my husband when he enters a room. Be silly, be excited, laugh out loud. Laughter really is the best medicine; it makes you feel good and those feelings last even after the giggles subside.
“All Work & No Play” - Play deprivation can leave us feeling cranky and stuck in a rut. Many of us wish our lives away, waiting for the weekend or waiting for that holiday. I will be happy when… does that sound like you? The only time you are truly guaranteed is now. Incorporate more play into your life today! Reap the rewards of its rejuvenating benefits now, not just on holidays.