Summertime brings with it this unspoken permission that, if only for a brief period, we can play with abandon free of guilt and full of ease as we vacate our hectic, appointment-filled lives.
With the days of summer winding down, the transition into fall seems synonymous with longer work days. Perhaps it’s the start of school that signals a return to the serious aspects of our lives. The whistle blows, and play period has ended. We must all bury ourselves in our work again.
Play need not end with the changing seasons, quiet honestly, as it doesn’t end for babies and children. They naturally gravitate to things that delight them. Yet, for many of us, the demands of adulthood strip us of this sense of freedom. We have projects to complete and bills to pay which push us towards a lifestyle of working harder and faster.
From babies to young children to adults, play is an important aspect of our development according to researchers who study the subject. Dr. Stuart Brown, author of Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul, argues that play is vital to our well-being.
“I have gathered and analyzed thousands of cases studies that I call play histories. I have found that remembering what play is all about and making it part of our daily lives are probably the most important factors in being a fulfilled human being. The ability to play is critical not only to being happy, but also to sustaining social relationships and being a creative, innovative person.”
– Dr. Stuart Brown
Through play, we live freely. It enables us to to connect with our authentic, creative self. This paves the way for us to bring more depth to the work we do. When we are stressed and over-worked, how does the free, creative side of ourselves serve as the inspiration behind what we’re attempting?
I think the challenge for many of us is to return to the mindset of a child- to balance our workload with periods of play; not finish our work so that we can power through another to-do list.
Do we not view play as an essential part of young children’s lives? We take their need for play very seriously, ensuring they have time to play each day, scheduling play dates, or doing whatever else we need to do to make that time available for them.
If you viewed play as one of the pillars of good health as an adult, how would it shift your approach to how you plan your time and what you do?
Are you even aware of what play means to you? Do you know when you feel free and alive? If not, I would suggest you start by reconnecting with what makes you feel joyful and unrestrained. Who knows, maybe you will rediscover a hobby from your childhood that you still enjoy.
It’s time to view play as vital to your success, happiness, and good health as an adult!
It’s important to take your well-being seriously, even if that means doing something that seems far from serious. We must start making time to play. Release some of the worry of the day and get lost in a hobby.
You deserve to feel renewed and refreshed. Play is a crucial part of self-care, and don’t you think you deserve the best care? I do!
All the best,