amazingly healthy life snorkelling
Snorkelling in the Blue Lagoon, The Yasawas, Fiji.

When we were children life was all about playing, having fun and enjoying ourselves…and I’ve got something to tell you that might be a revelation…IT STILL IS. Do you really think your whole life should be about taking everything, including life, so seriously??? Yes, of course, sometimes we have to put our serious and sensible heads on but NOT ALL THE TIME. Lighten up, loosen that top button and let’s take a look at Playtime for Grownups, how we can play and why we should.

Special Note:- I wrote this blog post a few weeks prior to the current coronavirus emergency. While I realise that ‘Being playful’ might be the furthest thing from your mind right now, it’s actually now more important than ever. Maybe you are sitting in your home ill with the virus (as I currently am) or you’re just terrified by the whole situation and you may not feel like you will ever ‘play’ again but you will… We’re going to get over this.

A playful heart is a wonderful thing, I’m convinced it’s helping me get through….

Obviously some of my suggestions for play will have to wait until after the lockdown but there are still plenty of things you can do. They might even help you survive this thing.

We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” (George Bernard Shaw)

Its about a 4 minute read, here’s a brief outline:-

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What is Play?

There are many meanings for the word play, such as when involved in a game or a sport or when an actor ‘plays’ a part or is in a ‘play’. The one I’m most interested in today is the following:-

Engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.

Oxford Dictionary

Of course the above definition doesn’t exclude playing sports, games and acting especially ‘play’ acting for fun but many of these are also serious competitive careers so let’s just keep the above definition in our mind.

For me Playtime is simply part of Self Care and Self Love.

It is extremely beneficial for our overall health and wellness alongside our existing self care activities:- healthy eating, relaxation, movement and excercise.

Play can be the following and more:-

I have a bee in my bonnet about the lack of support we were given when young for things like sports, art and music. If we didn’t show potential for professional greatness, we were discouraged, or at least certainly not encouraged to do it.

art for fun
A self portrait. I enjoyed drawing it and that’s all that matters.

We should do these things just for the sheer joy they give us!!!

Dr Stuart Brown founder of The National Institute for Play and a specialist researcher on the benefits of Play identifies 5 main types of play as following:-

Why We Should Play.

Play is crucial for childrens’ development and is extremely beneficial for adults continued development, wellbeing and happiness.

Research on the benefits of grownup playtime is limited but has shown that playful adults:-

were more likely to be good at observing, see things from new perspectives, be more innovative and have lower stress levels.

https://neurosciencenews.com/stress-playful-people-5918/

At some point between childhood and adulthood we stop playing. But the stresses and strains of adulthood is exactly the time when we really need the relief that play can give us.

Do we forget how to play or are we just embarrassed to be playful for fear of looking childish?

I fear the latter may be the case although for me I’m heading in the opposite direction…What’s wrong with being childish?

…Children are great, they have great attitudes towards things. They have beginners mind so are curious and open to learn. They don’t think they know it all. They are delighted and enraptured and awestruck, they are joyful, and always laughing… I Rest my case.

playful performance shona hagan amazingly healthy life
a playful performance, sharing the joy with the audience

Laughter is the best medicine.

Did you know that there is a UN Statute defending childrens right to play, We need one of those for adults too.

Why we should play in a nutshell:-

  • It’s fun
  • Keeps You Young :- We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” (George Bernard Shaw)
  • Relieves stress – play releases endorphins, our natural feel good chemicals that relieve stress.
  • Self worth and confidence.
  • It gives us that wonderful freedom we enjoyed as a child
  • Self expression – develop new ideas for creating or about ourselves
  • We can enjoy experimenting without fear of failure, reprisal or criticism.
  • Our sense of self (to know and understand ourselves better).
  • We can let our imaginations run wild.
  • Emotional wellbeing – helps with depression. It’s down to those endorphins again. Also the social interaction of playing with others helps.
  • Improves brain function – games like chess, puzzle solving and memory games help this.
  • Sharpens your problem solving skills. Many play activities involve problem solving.
  • Helps develop and enhance social skills – Through social interaction and team building during play. Also just improved mood and self confidence makes you a more sociable creature to be around.
  • Improves your career prospects. A happy worker is a productive worker.

If I had to sum up what play means to me I would use 2 words

Fun Freedom!

grownup playtime on a rollercoaster
me and the hubby on a roller coaster ride

Ideas for Play

A little bit of play goes a long way, We don’t need to be constantly playing to reap the benefits. Even if you can only manage 5-10 minutes per day it’s a start. Taking the first step is always the hardest.

Even better, if you can develop and nurture a playful frame of mind. You can take it with you everywhere and always…

Ideas for Playing:-

I was giggling and itching at the bit to do them just writing some of these. 🤣 Of course this is just some ideas there is so much more you can do. Some of these will make you giggle until your tummy hurts some will simply fill your heart with joy.

If you’d like a PDF copy of these Ideas for Play to download or print click the button below.


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Further Reading

Amazingly Healthy Habits

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