In the world of adults, the word playtime isn’t used because it’s socially uncool. But, let’s think about this for a moment. We push ourselves every day to the max. Whether it’s keeping our jobs happy, our relationships in a strong place, or any venture that we partake, there’s always something that will stress us out to the max. That’s why it’s really important to let our inner child have a few minutes to just play.
When I researched this online, I found it fascinating that the same steps that were relayed for kids applied to adults as well. For example, one of the sites listed ten pros to playtime. Their link is as follows: https://fortmagic.com/10-benefits-playtime/. Now, if you take the same items and look at them for adults, it actually makes a lot of sense. 1.) Improves behavior. Ok, this is actually a duh comment. Anytime that we exercise, it releases endorphins. To quote Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, “Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.” The same principle can be applied to anything that we are experiencing. When we’re allowed to play, we are allowed a chance to take the negative attributes and convert them into a better attitude all the way around. Common sense should tell all of us to get off our butts and just have a little time to play. It could make all the difference in a tense situation.
2. Learned Behavior. Believe it or not, we learn from those we are being mentored from. If they are a workaholic, chances are, eventually, their attitudes will rub off on us. It’s imperative to maintain some balance in our lives. Without any balance, the scales only tip one way. It’s never a good thing to put all our eggs in one basket. We have to learn to plant those eggs all around us.
3. Develop social skills. One would think that most adults have acquired great social skills, right? Wrong. There’s a lot of folks who could use a roadmap to better etiquette. That doesn’t mean that everyone around us is uncivilized. It just means that there are skills that many people struggle with. I have a couple of folks in my life who don’t do well in large crowds. It completely freaks them out. They don’t like feeling like a stampede is about to invade them and their paranoia is easily stoked. They can work in public and appear like they would mesh well, but they have issues that aren’t easily explained to others. Depending on the environment that I’m embarking on, sometimes, I lack the social skills that are required. For instance, if I were to go to a black-tie event, I think I’d probably end up in the cloakroom hiding because I wouldn’t know how to interact. I’m a shy person when it comes to an environment that I’m uncomfortable with. Dressing up is definitely something that I shy away from. Give me my sneakers, jeans, shorts, t-shirts, and sweats any day of the week. I clean up great for formal affairs but am never comfortable with my social skills in that world. I’m always afraid I’ll use the wrong utensil or say the wrong thing.
4. Stay active. Being still for too long can make you depressed. Anxiety can start to overtake you and the will to get up and do on something that needs to be done can be challenging. Don’t let it. Keep active. Not only does it help you to stay fit, but it also keeps your mind sharp, your body moving and the creative juices flowing. Not to mention that younger kids who see you being active can be positively influenced to do the same. That’s why it’s so important to keep going, even on the days that you don’t feel like it. It’s actually healthy for both your mind and body.
5. Enhance learning. How can playing help enhance learning for adults? Well, according to many different specialists, diverting attention to having some fun can lead to innovative ideas and brainstorming. Sometimes taking yourself out of the chaos can allow your imaginative juices to flow and often create better opportunities for yourself. It’s when we stop being willing to let our hair down and get so tight that we often can’t see the bigger picture. Many times playing by doing things that are fun like running, or walking, or playing a video game, or something that allows you to divert your attention from the everyday chaos, allows us to learn about new ideas, adventures, and opportunities that we may have been blind to. Use each day as a clean slate.
6. Enrich creativity and imagination. This is one of my favorite suggestions. Why? Because it’s allowing me to open myself up to new types of things like belly dancing, karate, gun control lessons, cooking, crafts, and all kinds of new experiences that I’ve never done before. A very close friend of mine recently suggested doing pottery. I’m excited about that one. I’ve always wanted to work with clay and never really had the chance to do it. By learning new skills, imagination has more avenues to explore. Our creativity expands when our world expands. The only ones who limit our ability are us.
7. Physical Development. Adults tend to be vainer about things than most kids are but kids have to be mindful of their growth development. Adults, have to be more mindful of how we protect our bodies. We push ourselves consistently but are we taking the precautions that we need to in order to keep our parts in great shape throughout our aging process? That’s a question that all of us need to ask and be able, to be honest with ourselves. If we sense changes in how we perform, it’s imperative that we stay on top of those changes. By allowing ourselves some time to play can also show us where our bodies might be having some issues. I’ve noticed as I’ve aged that if I didn’t walk away from certain aspects that were draining me, and giving myself permission to play by taking time for me, that my body would balk at me. My depression level would grow, my frustration and anxiety level would bubble up and my tolerance level was at the bottom. Because of the symptoms that I watched my dad develop with his cancer, I’m more aware of what to be on the lookout for in my own body. If I see those same symptoms resurfacing, you can best believe I will get them addressed.
8. Express emotions. When we’re kids, we’re told that if we don’t want to talk about things to express ourselves through drawings, writings, music, etc.,. So why is it different than adults? In truth, I think it’s because adults are expected to talk about everything. Sometimes I think we talk so much that our words are just that – words. What we feel isn’t always recognized for the difficult journeys that we are undertaking. If anything, art, music, literature, and many other venues are not given the credence for being able to express our emotions unless it happens to land in the public fascination. I have absolutely fallen in love with #Twinsthenewtrend. If you have never heard of them. Fred and Tim are twins. They are becoming notorious on Youtube for listening to and reviewing music that they have never heard but were top songs of various times. Their reactions are priceless. They are two African American men who are twenty-two years old and they love all kinds of music. They don’t care what genre the music is. If the music is good, they are all about expanding their knowledge base. Isn’t that what we all need? When we close ourselves off with our emotions, no one can be let in. There’s no amount of information or individuals that can help change our mindset because we aren’t willing to cope with our emotions. In that respect, maybe we should take lessons from these young men. To them, music isn’t about race or politics. It’s about learning about stories that were told and being willing to embrace the artists for what they were able to present.
9. Relieve Stress. Can I please get an Amen? Being able to play in the adult world gives us a chance to let off some steam. When you are really pissed with someone, being able to take out anger and frustration in a healthy way can prevent you from causing damage to others in the long run. Look, we all do stupid things. We all say things in the heat of the moment. The truth is that others think that they are right about everything and they look ignorant with all their posts or actions when they were guilty of doing the same things they preach on. We all know folks like this. What’s important is that we remember that we are in control of our actions. Don’t worry about how others are treating you. Walk away from the drama, give yourself a chance to play, and maybe pick up other connections along the way. Don’t sell yourself short.
10. It’s FUN!!!!! One of the best playtimes I’ve ever had is in a river. Whitewater rafting is one of my favorite things to do to take out frustration. Going fishing is a close second. Horseback riding is a close third. I haven’t done those things in years because I just haven’t had time but I have never forgotten the freedom it gave me. One of my closest friends has suggested that we go on a day trip and just have fun. That we need to forget about the stresses and let loose for the day. I’m in total agreement. There’s too much of this world that thinks they know what we all need. We can’t have fun all the time but we have to learn balance. Otherwise, this world wouldn’t function well.
I truly hope that you can allow yourself time to play with new activities. You might learn a new skill or make several new connections. You might even find others that you have many things in common with. No matter what happens, just have a little fun. Being cooped up has put all of us on edge. It doesn’t mean that we have to stop living though. It just means that we need to wise up and learn to play well with others so that we can perform better in our lives.