Grown-Ups Need to Play, Too

We’ve all got homes that are filled with toys for our children. Your kids more than likely have toys for every developmental stage they’ve gone through, replicas of their favorite animals and vehicles, pretend-play supplies, and so much more. But what do you have to play with? Maybe a board game or two collecting dust in the back of the closet? This may come as a surprise to you, but grown-ups need to play, too.

 

Wait, what? Did we just just say grown-ups need to play? It sounds a bit strange at first, but once you dive into the facts, it starts to make sense. We’ll cover everything you need to know in this post so you can start prioritizing your much-needed daily dose of fun.

 

Why Grown-Ups Need to Play

Grown-ups need to play because it provides a long list of health benefits, both mental and physical:

 

Play Boosts Mental Health

When you start to play as an adult, there’s a good chance you’re going to laugh. When you laugh, your brain releases “feel good hormones,” including dopamine and serotonin, and also decreases hormones that make you feel down, such as cortisol.

 

Outside of “happy” hormones being released, play gives you a chance to take a break from the stresses of grown-up life to simply have fun. This little break is sure to give your mood a boost.

Play Reduces Stress

Speaking of cortisol (the hormone related to stress), play as an adult can significantly decrease your stress. Remember the adult coloring book craze? Let’s not let it end. Choose a game or fun activity that gives you some time to just relax, without having to think about or complete any “adulting.” Think of it as a brain break, and enjoy every second of it.

 

Play Boosts Productivity and Creativity

This point suggests there may even be some benefit to playing while you work. Remember how kids learn best through play? The same can be true for adults. If you’re having fun, you can learn easier and produce high-quality work quicker. Maybe this means you should love what you do, or maybe it means you should do what you love when you can while you work. It’s up to you to decide how you’ll use it, but no matter what you choose, it’s got potential to improve your work performance.

Play Helps Support Cognitive Function as You Age

Playing throughout your entire life is important, as putting your brain to work as often as possible can help prevent memory problems as you grow older.

 

Chess, puzzle books, and similar activities create a fun challenge for your brain, allowing you to improve its function while you play as an adult.

Play Improves Relationships

It’s not just your mental health that can be improved when you play as an adult; your personal relationships can be boosted as well. Every relationship needs a bit of fun, and the friendly challenges can help you get to know your friends, family members, and partners better as well. 

 

How to Begin to Play as an Adult

It may sound intimidating at first, as it’s such a new idea. However, figuring out how to play as an adult is not hard at all.

 

Start by thinking back to your childhood. What did you enjoy playing most? Did you love legos or making music? Give that same hobby a try.

 

Some other great ways to play as an adult include:

 

  • Go to the park and reintroduce yourself to the swings
  • Find your new favorite board game or card game (Timeless Toys has a great selection)
  • Join in on your kids’ favorite activity
  • Try out a new craft
  • Cover your entire driveway with chalk art
  • Learn a few new jokes and tell them to a friend

 

You can check out more great ways to play as an adult here (though creating your own way to play is highly suggested as well!)

 

All of these benefits make it clear that adults need to play. One could possibly even argue we need it just as bad as our kids do. So, the next time you’ve got some spare time on your hands, consider having a little fun instead of diving back into work. Your mental health, stress levels, productivity, creativity, cognitive function, and relationships are sure to thank you for it.