Is there room for play in your schedule or are you booked to the minute?
Be honest, when is the last time you really lost yourself in a joyful activity that had you completely absorbed in the moment with zero attachment to the outcome?
As the challenges and responsibilities of making a living and managing a family accumulate, we seem to have adopted the collective belief that play is for youth.
The truth is that play is for everyone, particularly those engaged in the incredible complexity and breakneck pace of modern life.
Play can be any activity that you find enjoyable, with minimal emphasis on rules, structure, or tangible results. The objective is to get you out of the focused, rational mindset that you exist in for most of the day, unplug from your routine, and have some fun!
It’s easy to be sedentary in the modern world, so ideally your play sessions will involve getting outdoors in fresh air and sunlight while performing moderate amounts of physical exertion. This can be anything from a 5-minute break from your work desk to practice juggling in the courtyard to a weekend getaway where you learn how to stand up paddle, snowshoe, or rock climb. For the majority of us who don’t accumulate enough daily movement, these outdoor play stints produce the best physical and psychological benefits.
Research has shown that play is a sure way to fuel your imagination, creative juices, problem-solving abilities, and emotional well-being. Play helps us connect with our childlike curiosity, manage stress, and even increase productivity – all with a better sense of humour and more positive outlook on life.
For those averse to formal workouts, you’ll be relieved to know that play can contribute to the development of strength and speed as effectively as formal workouts do. There are even fitness centers popping up designed to promote play, filled with foam pits for jumping, ropes to climb or swing on, and obstacles to jump over or up onto. The MovNat (MovNat.com) fitness program emphasizes spontaneous interaction with one’s natural surroundings, which can appeal more than a stuffy gym to many.
I recently polled my Facebook community to see what their favourite play activities are, and here’s what they love:
- Dancing to music in the kitchen
- Adult dodge ball
- Pickup basketball / Ultimate Frisbee
- Hop scotch / skipping
- Cannonballing into a lake
- Chasing children (your own, or ones you at least know!) on the jungle gym
- Tobogganing / building snow forts / having a snowball fight
It’s up to us to reconnect with our roots as playful human beings. When it feels as though life is too serious or slipping by too fast, toss aside your to-do list and make room for the activities that really help you recharge. Let the fun shine in, have a blast, and just live a little – or a lot!