What do you have to look forward to this weekend? Active recreation has more benefits for wellbeing by getting the body moving, releasing stress and boosting self-esteem than passive entertainment, such as watching TV or scrolling social media.
Somewhere between childhood and adulthood, we discard the art of playfulness which is a pity as play is fun and can trigger the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. As adults, we are often so absorbed in the cares of everyday life that we simply forget to play, which is a shame as it is an excellent means of gaining perspective and enabling relaxation.
Play can be as simple as sharing a joke with a friend, reading a book that gives you a belly laugh or throwing a ball in the garden for your dog. Why not create for yourself a playlist of leisure and social activities that you find enjoyable. For example, you might like to go for a walk in the countryside, attend a farmers’ market, sing in a choir, take part in a pub quiz, draw or paint free-form, colour-in a paint book, view an exhibition or visit your local theatre.
Take a few minutes to write up a list of ten leisure pursuits you enjoy (include those you haven’t done for a while but would like to). Then choose one or maybe two that you will do this weekend. Maybe you can fit in one or two others during the working week? Perhaps there’s a regular slot you could put in your diary, for example, to do a dance class or go to a stand up comedy club?
Playfulness is an attitude. George Bernard Shaw said “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” Why not take five minutes and enjoy the spontaneity of the moment, by dancing in the kitchen to the sound of your favourite song or singing your heart out in the shower.
Play isn’t just for children. Keep your outlook fresh and bright – move more, laugh more and create some playtime for yourself with those you love.