Here at Lindywell, we’ve been focusing on turning play into a daily habit, both on and off the Pilates mat. What I’ve found is that taking time for play is about so much more than just having fun—it’s an essential component of my mental and physical health. As adults, however, it can be difficult to …
Here at Lindywell, we’ve been focusing on turning play into a daily habit, both on and off the Pilates mat. What I’ve found is that taking time for play is about so much more than just having fun—it’s an essential component of my mental and physical health.
As adults, however, it can be difficult to integrate play into our normal routines. If you’re anything like me, you have a full schedule of commitments and priorities that need your attention. The good news is, you don’t have to carve out hours each day to leverage the many benefits of play. In fact, you may not even need to add anything extra at all.
Here are five reasons to turn this childhood pastime into a daily habit, plus a few tips for how to do it.
1. Play for Mental Health
Mental health struggles can feel unavoidable sometimes. Our world is hectic and our lives are busy! This is why play is so needed—it might even help you restore the balance you’ve been craving in your life.
During COVID-19, 200 respondents in quarantine were asked to track their mood states. According to the research, those who prioritized leisure activities (i.e. things that they participate in voluntarily for fun) were more mentally adaptable and resilient in the face of pandemic stress. Those people were also less vulnerable to depression, anxiety, and loneliness, and they reported higher overall life satisfaction.
Even in hard circumstances, play can be the natural mood lifter you need to help sustain mental and emotional wellness.
Your New Daily Habit: Shift your perception of “play.” What I mean is, everyday activities like working out, making dinner, or listening to music in the car can be playful if you choose to make them so. Pick a workout that you love, try a new recipe for dinner, or put on your favorite music from high school to turn these everyday activities into outlets for play.
2. Play for Productivity
Productivity is often the name of the game, whether you’re cleaning the yard or working at an office. Surprisingly, play can be a key element in helping you be more productive. Office workers who played a team video game for 45 minutes were 20 percent more efficient and productive when returning to their tasks. This playtime activity emphasized collaboration and enjoyment, and the results paid off.
Team members also improved in their cohesion, problem-solving, communication, goal orientation, motivation, and creative thinking. Plus they had to make time to focus and process information quickly, all of which boosts brain function.
Your New Daily Habit: Take play breaks in between productive chunks of your day. Go for a walk, dance around the house, or play with your pet.
3. Play for Your Relationships
It’s not a coincidence that young children who play together often become close friends. This phenomenon isn’t true of just children either. Play is a way to build healthy adult relationships too, no matter