Child's play...or is it?
Updated: Nov 8, 2018
Here we are at another Friday, end of the work week for a lot of us. So what now? Do you start your weekend with a list of chores that need done before Sunday afternoon so you can have a couple hours of relaxing time before you go back to work and start the cycle all over? For many of us this the reality of life that we created. Remember growing up how you would get with your friends and play? Most times it wasn't even anything you thought about or planned. Put five or six kids together with a ball and see what happens, or a stick, or nothing at all. So why is it so hard for adults to play? There are hundreds of studies showing the benefits of play for adults. Stress relief, exercise, vitality, mental health benefits the list goes on and yet how many of us really play?
We live in a society where kids play and adults work, that is the norm. How many of you have heard something like this, "Have fun now because soon playtime is over and you'll have to get a job". Don't get me wrong, I believe hard work is very important in life but we have also all heard the saying "all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy". Life is about balance, I have a saying "work hard but play harder". Work has its place in your life, there are things that have to get done. Before modern society people had to work to survive, there are some places where people still live like that. They hunt their food, do repairs to their houses, gather fire wood for winter but when the work is done give yourself time to play.
I would also like to make distinction here between relax and play. After you get off work your tired and need a little relaxation time, a time to unwind and get your mind focused on whats next. Watching tv or taking a hot bath are relaxing. Its something that requires no thought really and also play a role in your life balance but when I say play I mean a physical activity that stimulates your brain and muscles. Playing a pickup game of basketball or football, riding a bike or kayaking are good examples but for some people sports aren't their thing so for them play can mean getting together with friends and playing cards or a board game, even though there isn't a physical aspect its still stimulating your brain.
Team sports are a great example of play. When you drive past the park in the summer and see groups of people playing basketball, or people playing football in a big open field or in the water at the beach, people laughing and having fun. I know as we get older we get busy and lose touch with friends and think, well I don't know anyone to play any of these things with. We also tend to lose a step as we age, generally do to a lack of exercise. Do some research, talk to people, the next time you see a game going on ask to join. I'm sure you know someone who gets together with friends and plays a sport talk to them. Another thing to keep in mind is its "play" and its meant to be fun first. If you sign up to play a game that your not interested in then its not play, that just becomes another place where you have to work. At the same time don't rule out any because you've never done it before. Family gatherings are another opportunity. What a better way to build the family bond than a game of volleyball in the back yard or there are hundreds of board games available your options are
In most of my examples there is a team aspect to play, and although I think that being with other people is a benefit, it isn't always possible or necessary. Riding a bike, kayaking, fishing are all good examples of play that you can do on your own and although I highly recommend getting outside, there are computer games that you can play solo. The only thing really stopping you from playing is you, or your idea that your an adult now and you don't have time for play. I think you need to make time, take a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and plan an activity, be the guy in your community that gets it going. You could even play a different game every week, be spontaneous after all it is about fun.
So what are you waiting for? You work hard to give yourself the things in life that you enjoy, why not give yourself some much needed play time. If you are one of those people that makes time to play a team sport for fun at least once a week why not invite someone alone to join you? There is a shift happening right now of people taking the time to live a healthier life. Watching what they eat, exercising more and these are great things to think about but remember to take a holistic approach to your health and make time to get out there and play!