Some people may regard play as a sheer waste of time. Indeed, it is easy to dismiss “childish” activities that appear to serve no serious purpose. But play may turn out to be beneficial, not just for children, but for adults too. Grownups, says NPR.org, “play for many important reasons: building community, keeping the mind sharp and keeping close the ones you love.” Play can benefit your personal life, work and health.
Play and relationships.
HelpGuide.org says, “Play is one of the most effective tools for keeping relationships fresh and exciting.” Having fun together lets you build trust and feel closer to each other. You learn to communicate better and just enjoy each other’s company. (A boon for married couples to rekindle feelings of intimacy amid their busy lives.) HelpGuide also explains that play can help develop social skills, which is helpful if you are shy or feel awkward around others. Playfulness can make it easier to make new friends.
Play and health.
Everyone knows that play is vital to children’s health and development. But it can also be very beneficial for grownups too. According to HelpGuide, play can stimulate the release of endorphins (our “feel good” hormones) in the body. Play can reduce stress. It takes you away from the drudgery of routine so you can relax. Play can give both mind and body a much-needed boost, helping you feel younger and more vigorous. In the famous words of George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
Play and work.
Play may be able to help relieve job-related stress. And if workers are happier at their jobs, it may make them more productive and creative at it. HelpGuide reports that many dot-com companies are aware of this connection between work and play. One such company is Google, the Internet giant
known for its generous perks and playful atmosphere at its offices. Business Insider reports that the company has an 86% satisfactory rating among its employees, based on PayScale data. Even if you do not work for a corporate giant that spoils its workers, you can still benefit from play. Taking a break can help rest your mind and body, help you see things in new ways or boost your creativity.
Here some ideas to use as a starting point. Give yourself some alone time. Whether it is challenging your buddies to a bowling game, flirting with your partner, playing hide-and-seek with your child, or idly toying with a mandala coloring book app for Android phones, remember that play deserves a spot in your life.
Find ways to amuse yourself during your lunch break at work (making sure what you do is allowed in your workplace). Set aside a time for family fun and entertainment. Plan to hang out with friends. Make time just for you and your spouse.
So perhaps you should consider making room for playtime in your routine. Everyone is different so find what is appropriate for you.