With the new season setting in, I decided to circle back and review some goals I set earlier in the year. One that stood out the most was to challenge myself to play more. Yes, like kids do. This may seem like a silly goal, but I think we need to be reminded of what play does for us!
Here’s what we check off our daily to-do list: grocery shop, go to work, take care of the kids, try to fit the workout in, run kids to activities, find time to eat, hopefully sleep, and then repeat.
When did we stop playing? We are currently one of the most stressed out generations, and when you look at our lives, one of the major things we have removed is adult play.
Finding time to play is one of the most beneficial things we can do for our mind, body, and spirit. I’m all for a new season workout program or taking on a cleanse to clean up my body, but I think for many of us our body is craving for us to slow down and set aside time to play.
Have you laughed today?
Did you know a good chuckle can lower stress levels? Studies show that watching comedy or even walking with a friend and having a good laugh improve your memory! This also lowers cortisol, the hormone connected to stress. Stress damages the body by causing issues like headaches, anxiety, and sleep problems. On the other hand, laughter makes the heart light and is apparently the secret to vitality too. When we play and generate laughter, we give our bodies a much needed immune system boost. The laughter triggers happy hormones to the brain and organs, and produces a refreshing oxygen-action to the heart. This not only benefits our health but also gives our skin and eyes a healthy glow. The increased healthy hormones help with digestion, better sleep patterns, and overall feeling of peace. So making space for things like activities with friends or play time with kids might just be what your body needs!
Solve your problems with play
Studies show allowing employees to take small breaks from work for a workout, a quick activity, or even personal creative time, increases their productivity. As a mom and business owner, I often find this to be one the most difficult things for me to stay accountable to. I’m constantly switching hats from one role to the next, cleaning up after someone, organizing snacks, or working on client programming. Recently I started to actually schedule white noise into my day. Whether it’s time just sitting in the sun, reading, or trying a new activity, I need to make space for myself to slow down, dream, and get creative. The reality is when I skip this step I’m a quarter of the person I could be, a less enthusiastic wife, and stressed out mother. This leaves me forgetting to laugh off the small stuff and just roll with the constant changes in behaviour and emotions of my children. As employees, bosses, and caretakers, we need to remind ourselves to step back, breathe, and allow space for our minds and bodies to play. Our health is depending on it!
You’re only as young as you feel
As we get older, it’s easier for us to get stuck in our way of doing things—also known as a rut! As a trainer I have seen this many times with clients. I love to see my clients making space for fun activities like painting, a new sport, or a hobby that keeps them learning through play. These clients tend to be my most calm, well-balanced, and healthy! Coupled with play, they also thoughtfully make wise food choices, exercise not just for aesthetics but for longevity, and are visibly appreciative of their health.
This season, instead of adding another to-do task to your list, make a commitment to open up some space to get outside, play with your kids, paint with some friends, or take that cooking class you have been putting off.
One of the most beneficial things we can do for our body is to take care of the whole package—Mind, Body, and Soul.
It’s time to play!
Rachel Doell is an instructor, personal trainer, mother, and wife who loves health and fitness. Her fitness company, Daily Routine Fitness, features simple ways to fit living a healthy life into your everyday routine. dailyroutinefitness.com
Originally posted on February 27, 2019 and in The Good Life magazine