Are you hurrying through life?
Can you say for certain that at the end of your life, you will have enjoyed the moments you’ve lived, or were you too busy racing to that imaginary finish line? Are you so busy working and building your business that you find it really difficult to take time out for fun? Do you even know what fun is for you?
Do you know what all work and no play makes you?
Not just a dull boy or girl…but rather an unbalanced, unhappy, burned out workaholic. That may seem harsh but it’s true. It also significantly increases your risk of heart attack, stroke, cancer and countless other diseases.
But most importantly, if there is no play, no fun, no adventure…what’s the point?
If all you do is work and survive, you aren’t living in my opinion. And by work I don’t just mean your job, I mean all the things you do that you feel you must do – like laundry, taking out the garbage, all that house stuff counts as work too even though you aren’t being paid for it. Sure you still need to do those things but they need to be balanced with the fun stuff too.
As adults we don’t play anymore or at least very little. When did that switch flick in your life from playing every day to rarely or not at all? Do you feel guilty—as if play were an indulgence and not a necessity? Somewhere along the line you probably confused play with sitting in front of a computer or TV, or really anything that isn’t work.
As plato once said. “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.” My guess is that you’d rather be around fun and playful people than workaholics; you could be that playful person.
I think we’ve lost our ability to play because everyone is just so busy being busy that they don’t value play. It’s not a priority. Perhaps even you think it is time wasted when you could be doing something else, something productive.
Maybe you are so stressed and so overworked that you think feeling tired is normal. You think it is ok to feel anxious. If you aren’t busy, you think something is wrong.
Well guess what? Play is productive. In fact, it can be the most productive thing you do all day.
The concept of play is a very important tool for children and adults alike. Play helps you to relax; it sparks your creativity, and of course can result in exercise both for the mind and for the body. In fact, play is used widely in therapeutic programs because of its ability to increase focus and relieve stress.
Whenever I see a group of children playing, I often marvel at the freedom that they have with their minds and bodies. They are simply in the moment. And, that is a skill that everyone needs to have.
For you, play might include being outdoors, hiking, biking, that sort of thing. Or, it might be playing a board game, jumping in puddles, taking a yoga class, or tossing around a baseball. There is no definitive right or wrong way to play, as long as you are indeed participating in an activity that gets your mind off of work or other stresses and taps into your creative energy.
Play often ignites laughter, which is also a very effective way to deal with stress. Laughing and playing both reduce stress by releasing endorphins in your body that make you feel good, and can even alleviate pain. It also boosts your immune system through the reduction of stress hormones, which in turn can help you stay healthier.
And as a bonus, both playing and laughing increase blood flow in your body which improves cardiovascular circulation which (yep, you guessed it) makes you healthier!
Play is the literal fountain of youth. People who play more, live longer.
Playing also has social benefits. If you play with others (highly recommended) you are increasing the quality of your life by lifting your mood, building relationships, building team skills, and improving your overall perspective on life.
Instead of a coffee break, today take a play break. Grab some sidewalk chalk and go draw. Dance. Skip. Or even, just go for a walk with a huge smile on your face. You can do it. A little play a day goes a long way to improving your health, creativity, and productivity. Give it a try and let me know how you do in the comments below.
About the Author, Heather E. Wilson
Need help? Would you like to learn more ways to avoid burnout, add more fun, more success, and more joy into your life and business? Heather E. Wilson, is a certified transformational coach, author and international speaker who loves to share her passion for helping you take charge of your life and business so that you can have the success and fun you've always dreamed about.
Go to HeatherwilsonInternational.com to view more of her free training and to receive a copy of her FREE ebook: The Burnout Principle.