One of the best lessons I’ve learned so far in 2017 is the importance of play in our lives.
I was reading a personal development book (The Gift of Imperfection, Brené Brown) that was talking about how play is crucial to keeping our human minds engaged with the world, teaches us new things, and reduces stress levels to keep us healthy.
Imagine my alarm when I realized I believe I’ve forgotten how to play. For the last few years (for me it’s been an increasing problem since high school, but that’s because I’m a keener), I’ve been focused so much on work and deadlines and achieving goals, that I kind of forgot how to turn off the goal-metre and do things for the sake of doing things.
Heck, even when I’m at the cottage with my family in the middle of the country, I tend to keep myself on a firm schedule so that “I can get as much relaxing in as possible.” Uh huh, that sounds lovely, doesn’t it?
And I don’t think I’m the only person facing this issue. In our society, we’re often told that unless something has a purpose, there’s no point doing it. Why make time for things like working on a jigsaw puzzle or taking a dance class – or if you do those things, it has to be for a reason. It’s to achieve something or to compete in some way.
Play is crucial to how our brain develops. It helps us learn things in a safe environment, keeps the neurons making new associations, and, mostly important, it’s fun.
Research shows that extended periods without play can start to affect your mood (and in the current social climate, not to mention the wintry climate, we already have enough stresses on our ability to feel joy and excitement). It’s also shown that people who withhold play in their lives do suffer from a sort of “play deprivation”, and, just like with sleep loss, will rebound as soon as the opportunity comes up to let loose.
So make sure to get some playtime in today. I promise, it’ll be worth it.
*throws on music*
*dances around office just for the hell of it*