Why is Adult Playtime not a Thing?
Children during playtime are blissfully unaware of the world around them. They are engrossed at the moment at hand. The smiles on their face and laughter are infectious. Playtime allows the stressors of life to take a backseat. Children do this intuitively. Somewhere along the way on our path to adulthood, we stop playing and become more “responsible.” In this piece, I will convince you that you can still be a responsible adult while also finding time to reap the rewards of relentless play.
Play is as much a mindset as it is an activity. It is generally socially unacceptable for adults to play like children. But why is this? We do not have to accept that because most other people have abandoned playtime for seriousness, so do we. Buck the system and learn to have fun once again. Playtime can be anytime because you can find play in any circumstance if you are just willing to look.
Playtime is Essential for Happiness
Playtime = happiness. There is no better way to inject fun and happy moments into work than playtime. While at work, we will often break out into spontaneous playtime. You never know when a nerf gun war will erupt. We compete with each other in random silly physical challenges. Jokes and banter are the norm, and don’t be surprised when we enthusiastically start throwing a frisbee back and forth. The point is we are constantly having fun, laughing, and injecting moments of brevity and happiness into our workday. Much of this points to a culture of play that has been fostered at work, but you can begin to do the same. We have a fantastic podcast episode on creating an optimal work culture. Could you give it a listen?
Any moment in life can be made better with an attitude of play. You have to learn to look for those moments. Everyone around you will benefit from this as well. You are affected by those around you and them. When you play, they will take notice and will often reciprocate. Most people need permission not to have to act like an adult all the time. Most people want to have fun and be themselves but don’t know how because of all the adulting we get caught up in. Inject some happiness into your world and start playing!!!
Playtime for Vitality
The definition of Vitality is the state of being strong and active or having energy. Much of my playtime is physically active. Examples of this are playing tag with my children outside. Chasing my nieces and nephews in and around the pool. Spikeball, Tennis, BJJ, wrestling with my kids and wife. In order to facilitate all of these activities and have the energy to participate in them spontaneously at any moment, I have to have the physical capacity to do so. In order to have an attitude of relentless play, I must also train relentlessly. Let’s face it, I am not getting any younger. If I want to be able to keep up with my kids and their friends and compete with them when they are teenagers I have to keep my body and mind in tip-top shape.
The physical traits that I find essential for play are Strength, Agility, and Mobility. I need to be able to move my body fast and in any direction. The above traits will help with that goal. If you are looking for ways to stay strong by working out then read this article I wrote regarding building muscle and strength. Proper nutrition is important to participate in playtime also. I can be super strong but if I am also really overweight or micronutrient deficient I’ll still be slow. Looking for a resource on eating for health? Look no further, I wrote an article on just that.
Playtime for Mental Health
Playtime when done in both the physical and cognitive domain, has been shown to improve older people’s cognitive performance and can thereby also prevent cognitive impairment. In addition, playtime can be used for preventing or slowing cognitive deterioration as well as improving it in those that have it. When we play we are happy and because of this, playtime can help reduce stress and depression. It can also strengthen social relationships because when we have fun with others social bonds are strengthened. We become more empathetic, trust is improved and intimacy gained.
Playtime is Everywhere
Begin to look for the opportunity for playtime in all circumstances. Just be silly and have fun with whatever you are doing. When we take ourselves too seriously, the joy in life is lost. Playtime is not just a physical activity, it is the way in which we approach all aspects of life. So get out there and be the zaniest, crazy, fun, version of you. Your mental and physical health will thank you.