Remember when you were a kid and you’d get a phone call from a friend to come over and play?
I distinctly remember this recurring call, “Hi Alyssa, it's Rae, wanna come over and play?”
I always loved that Rae’s name rhymes with play!
As adults, we often hear nostalgic sentiments like, “Ahhh, to be a kid again.”
You don’t have to be a kid to feel carefree and play!
Researchers are finding that play isn’t just about being silly or goofing off. Play is about engaging in an activity for pure enjoyment and recreation rather than for a practical purpose.
Play fosters stress reduction, improves mood, and contributes to overall well being.
Play offers a sense of pleasure and engagement in the present moment and is an essential activity for an emotionally healthy life.
When you have a playful sensibility, you’re able to transform stressful situations into something easier to cope with, or even make it light-hearted or entertaining. Play, and being playful, helps keep stress into perspective.
Studies suggest forms of play such as imagination, humor, and recreational sports bolster positive emotions, creativity, emotional engagement, a sense of belonging, and relationships; play even improves brain functionality and memory.
Play is a basic human need and is just as critical to your health and wellbeing as sleep and hydration. When you’re low on play, your body, mind, and spirit takes notice.
How do you identify the kind of play that’s most meaningful to you?
Think back to what you loved to play as a child and try to connect that to your present day life.
Some of my favorite childhood playtime memories include Capture the Flag with my big sister and the neighborhood kids, playing with my Strawberry Shortcake dolls, dressing up in costumes and making up dances, prank calling, and going on scavenger hunts.
These playful memories have translated into my present day life when I’m performing burlesque, creating personal health challenges, being silly with friends, and coming up with and cooking imaginative new meals.
Currently, I'm feeling the desire to incorporate more play into my life through activities like coloring in my coloring book, flying a kite, and playing virtual Taboo with friends (best word guessing game ever!).
These creative, brain challenging, and carefree activities serve to help me release from deep self-reflection and heaviness in the world the past several months. It sure has been an emotional and mental rollercoaster.
Can you relate?
Anyone else yearning to play, laugh, release, and have fun!?
For you maybe it’s roller skating, finger painting, building a sand castle, putting on a puppet show, snowboarding, legos, or playing the kazoo.
How about doodling, singing in the shower, playing chess, sending postcards to friends, storytelling, rolling in the grass, or having a water fight!
Even just getting up and wiggling your body playfully can improve your mood!
Play is not just for vacation! To reap the revitalizing benefits of play, it’s critical to incorporate play into your daily life, not just on your annual two-week vacation!
Schedule playtime; consciously choose activities that bring you joy, feed your imagination, keep you in the present moment, and do them often!
Pro Tip: Add personal play dates to your calendar as a reminder to have fun!
Alyssa, what do you say about play?
Functional Nutritional Therapist & Wellness Coach www.thewellnessheadquarters.com