“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
— George Bernard Shaw
Life is hard, let’s be honest. As we get older we focus on our daily struggles like paying the bills, getting to work on time, making dinner, working out (maybe) and worrying about our kids and partners. There aren’t enough hours in the day to get the work done. We push ourselves harder and expect more and wonder when we will break. There’s no time to play when the work just keeps coming.
Children are expected to play, but as an adult we need to be serious and get stuff done, right?
“Play keeps us vital and alive. It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable. Without it, life just doesn’t taste as good” — Lucia Capocchione
Play is an important part of adult life too! In a society based on achieving at the cost of all else, play falls by the wayside. Do you remember the last time you felt like a child? Did you hold back, wondering who would judge you? Did you switch your brain to the adult side of you, remember all the unfinished tasks? The reality is that play is a vital part of life.
As psychologist Kay Redfield Jamison says “Play is not a luxury, play is a necessity”.
How can you bring back play into your life?
Change your definition of play. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Just take a few minutes and enjoy yourself. Throw yourself into something fun and silly, throw yourself in completely.
Join a laugh club. Yes, there is actually something called laugh club, or laughter yoga. Research has shown that laughing actually helps you live longer. If that doesn’t show the importance of play, I don’t know what does!
Turn up the music and get moving. Music brings up the child spirit and so does movement. Our bodies want to move, they need to move and we somehow forget that in the midst of our fatigue and busy lives. You can work and play at the same time though! Turn up some happy music good and loud and dance around your home while cleaning or doing dishes, or whatever. Better yet, forget the work and just move your body. See how good it feels.
Have a game night. Bring out a board game and grab your kids or invite a few friends over. Go for a young-ish game that gets you laughing. Pictionary and Cranium come to mind.
Spend time with little ones. Children and animals aren’t burdened by the perceived problems of the world. They want to play all the time. Instead of telling the kids you have no time or pushing the dog away, spend 5 min and play catch or let them guide you with their imagination.
Break out a coloring book. This might sound silly, but that’s the whole point. Some people find that coloring is relaxing. You don’t have to think and it gets your right brain online and takes you out of the worry, worry worry thoughts.
Splash in a puddle instead of walking around it. Enough said.
Read Dr. Seuss. Cat in the Hat, Oh the Things You Can Think, Places You’ll Go and some of my favorites.
“Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again” — C. S. Lewis