Let’s take some time and learn ‘what is adult play’ and how can it benefit our relationships, job, and mood.
Somehow through the years, we decided that because we are adults we have to always be responsible and work hard, meet goals, do the right thing.
So why did some of us stop playing as we age?
Why did we accept the idea that play as adults meant we were immature, irresponsible, and unproductive?
Take a moment and watch kids playing. What are they doing? Why is it important that they do those things? What are they gaining from active play?
When kids are playing they are:
- getting exercise
- learning to develop relationships with their peers
- reducing stress and pent-up energy from sitting in the classroom for several hours
Aren’t those same benefits important for adults?
Table of Contents
What is Adult Play
There are many forms of adult play and they can be as individual as the very people engaging in those activities.
Simply put, adult play is a time to forget about the stresses of work and commitments and just socialize in an unstructured, creative way.
Spending time playing with your spouse, friends, co-workers, pets, children, and grandchildren is a fun way to:
- fuel your imagination
- stimulate your creativity
- enhance your problem-solving abilities
- nurture your relationships
- improve your emotional well-being.
It could be any activity that you find fun and non-stressful.
Like soccer or baseball, skating, bicycling, rock climbing, sailing, board games, card games, dancing, simply just being silly with friends or family.
Many famous people make time for play such as British soccer icon David Beckham has stated that he plays with Lego as a way to relieve stress and Ellen DeGeneres engages in playfully pranking her television guests.
To me, this sounds like a reason to learn about and implement some playtime into my life.
Benefits of Adult Playtime
Play is beneficial for everyone regardless of age. Play adds joy to life, relieves stress, improves learning, and connects us to others as well as the world around us. Play can also make work more enjoyable in improving our productivity.
Let take a closer look at the many benefits of play.
Relieves Stress – Play is fun and stimulates the release of endorphins(the body’s natural ‘feel-good’ chemicals). These endorphins can promote a sense of overall well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
Improves Brain Function – Fun activities such as playing chess, completing puzzles, games such as Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, or other brain-challenging games can help prevent memory loss and improve brain function. The social aspect of playing with friends and family can help prevent or minimize stress and depression.
Boosts Creativity by Stimulating the mind – Both children and adults learn best when playing. It is well documented that we learn a new task easier when it is fun keeping us in a relaxed and playful mood. The play also stimulates our imagination which helps us adapt to new situations and solve problems easier.
Improves Relationships – We build empathy, compassion, trust, and intimacy with others by sharing laughter and fun. We can loosen up in stressful situations if we develop a playful nature. Being playful can also help break the ice with strangers, making new friends, and forming new business relationships.
Helps Keep You Young and Energetic – George Bernard Shaw once said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” Playing can boost our energy and vitality while also improving our resistance to disease which helps us function at our best.
Play Affects Relationships
One of the most effective tools we can implement to keep relationships fresh and exciting is play.
By playing together we add joy, vitality, and resilience to our relationships.
Play can also help heal resentments, disagreements, and hurts.
It is through regular play that we learn to build trust with one another and feel safe within that relationship.
Trust enables us to work together and be open to intimacy and trying new things.
By incorporating humor and play into our lives we can improve the quality of our love relationships as well as the relationships with co-workers, family, and friends.
Play and Work
Many dot-com companies recognize there is a significant link between productivity and a fun work environment.
Some companies encourage play by offering yoga or art classes, having regular parties, providing Foosball, or ping pong to name just a few.
These companies understand that by encouraging more play at work they benefit from higher productivity levels, higher job satisfaction, greater workplace morale, and lower staff turnover.
It is becoming increasingly recognized that success at work is not dependent upon how many hours you work but on the quality of your work. The quality of work is highly dependent upon the well-being of the worker.
As a full-time blogger, I find that taking regular breaks for play helps stimulate my creativity.
Sometimes I find I am struggling to complete tasks or struggle with writer’s block, I take a break and go for a swim or even going to play with the grandchildren for a while helps get those creative juices flowing again. I come back with fresh ideas and can usually get the task done in half the time it may have taken me without taking the break.
Playing at work can:
- help you continue functioning when under stress
- refresh mind and body
- encourage teamwork
- prevent burnout by increasing energy
- trigger creativity and innovation
- help see problems in new ways
Play with your Children or Grandchildren
There is nothing more fun than getting silly and having fun with your children and grandchildren.
I know our grandkids love it when we get silly with them. We do all kinds of silly things, anything from living room dance parties to cannonball contests when jumping in the pool.
We find this extremely important especially since there are so many serious moments that are necessary to properly care for our grandson’s type 1 diabetes.
In those times we are just being silly it gives us all a break from the stresses of type 1. For those few minutes we can just enjoy each other and the fun activity we are doing at the time.
When we play with our grandchildren, cell phones, laptops, and any devices are turned off. We want to show the kids that they are most important to us at that moment because they are and they deserve to feel like number 1.
For our daughter and son-in-law, taking time for play is essential to their mental well-being. Raising a type 1 child is extremely stressful. Night and day they are constantly worried about ‘highs‘ and ‘lows‘ with no break. Having to calculate Alex’s carbs every meal and then calculate his dosage of insulin, all the while knowing that his very life depends on getting it right.
We often take the kids so they can have some much-needed playtime. They often use this time to get together with friends without having to worry about Alex.
The kids remember all the fun they have with ‘Nanny` and `Poppa“, and we keep young by playing with them. Great memories for all.
How to Play More
There are many ways to incorporate more fun and play into your life:
- host a game night with friends once a month
- arrange to go bowling or play a round of pool with co-workers
- take the kids or grandkids to the park or throw around a Frisbee in the back yard
- play with your pet
- surround yourself with playful fun-loving people
- joke with strangers when waiting in line or waiting for a bus
- learn a magic trick or learn a new craft
- goof around with the kids or grandkids
- maybe the family can go tubing down a local river
There are countless fun activities and you are limited only by your imagination.
Schedule a minimum of 30 minutes a day for play.
Also schedule 1 full day a week to just get together with friends or family and play, just have fun that day.
Schedule 2 weeks a year for a fun vacation. This year because of COVID world travel is out but we can travel locally.
We will become tourists in the area we live in. We plan on checking out all the fun activities and sights our home province has to offer. It will be a fun-filled staycation and I am looking forward to it.
What is Adult Play and why it is important is very clear, `all work and no play makes everyone a whole lot duller’.
We are exposed to a lot of stress at work and at home as adults.
We must try to find things that make us happy and reduce that stress even if just for the moment.
That break from stress is important to our well-being.
Once we understand the importance of play as adults and discover how easy and fun it is, we can then begin to enjoy the many benefits such as:
- stress relief
- improved brain function
- boosted creativity
- improved relationships
- keeping us young and energetic
I for one intend to engage in daily play for as long as I live. I fully enjoy all that life has to offer and will spend my days pursuing countless adventures.
Yes, there are times when we need to be more serious and get stuff done but temper that with some playtime to prevent burn-out and boost our creativity. It will help our productivity in the long run.
“I am not in any way a medical practitioner, please do not rely on the information on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another healthcare provider. We only share our experiences.”