Yesterday I went to spend time with my youngest daughter who lives in Buffalo New York. It was a gorgeous sun shiny day so we took her fur baby Hector (named after the character in the movie “Hector and the Search for Happiness”) to a walking trail by the Outer Harbor of Buffalo. Our focus was on the chuck’s of ice in the water, the birds around us, Hector’s exuberance when he would see other dogs, along with some general fun bantering of each other. After we stopped to pick up delicious eats of vegan loaded fries and nachos so when we returned to her apartment we happily shared this yummy food. We laughed and were silly. It was so much fun. Then I needed to head back home so I got back in my car and head home. Our time together was all about the play.
“Your body cannot heal without play. Your mind cannot heal without laughter. Your soul cannot heal without joy.” Catherine Rippenger Fenwick
The online Dictionary defines play as “engaging in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose.” In my counseling work with teens they often mention the part of adulting that concerns them is that being an adult is all work and not play. They see their parents, grandparents, the caregivers around them working a lot. I totally get it being an adult who works two jobs, raised two children while caring for a home and a few fur babies. What tends to get missed is the value and importance of play.
We should never lose play when we are adults. Never. Play is not just for children. Adults need play time too. An article in Wanderlust states
“Play for adults is critical in our stressful go-go-go lives. Play has been shown to release endorphins, improve brain functionality, and stimulate creativity. And it can even help to keep us young and feeling energetic. Studies show that play improves memory and stimulates the growth of the cerebral cortex. Play has also been shown to trigger the secretion of BDNF, a substance essential for the growth of brain cells.”
A Washington Post article reports “Play can act like therapy and help people relate better to others. Fun can also improve brain function. In turn, adults can transfer those skills to challenging situations when things don’t feel that much fun.”
O’ to be sure, we laugh less and play less and wear uncomfortable disguises like adults, but beneath the costume is the child we always are, whose needs are simple, whose daily life is best described by fairy tales.” Leo Rosten
As an adult playing provides some significant benefits. By doing things for our enjoyment the payoffs are huge. The time spent doing something that is fun and fulfilling with give you more energy, focus, and skills in other areas of your life.
So guess what amazing peeps. Today’s blog is going to be short and sweet. As I am looking at this bright sunshiny day I am called to go and play in it. Regardless of what is going on in your life get some play time. It does not need to be giant chunks of time. It can be standing in the outdoors soaking in the rays of warmth, listening to the sounds around you, taking a stroll, playing in the dirt, painting, drawing, doing something that is fun to you. Taking some time for your joy. You do not give up anything when you do this. You only gain. You, your mental health, your spirit, your soul, and your physical health matter.
Let’s get our play on in this playground called life. I am heading out to play. Want to join me?
May your play be with you💜