You may remember your childhood, on the playground, running with the other children and having not a care in the world. Children play. We expect it. We even tell them it is good for them to be running around having a great time. So, what happens? Where is the cut off where playtime stops being good for you and becomes childish; a waste of time; irresponsible?
If you’re thinking of numbers in your head; 18, 21, 30, 40s; then you’re already on the wrong path. The answer is never. Yes, play is integral for psychological development and hence the emphasis on children. However, in studies where play is eliminated or reduced in adolescents, there is a rise in anxiety, depressions feelings of helplessness. (Do these sound like familiar terms?)
Play is good for your physical and mental health. It helps improve relationships. It helps lower stress. Our culture is slowly starting to realize this, and small amounts of progress can be seen with the emergence of adult coloring books, adult ball pits and interactive games.
So, take this as “doctor’s orders”: Enjoy some playtime, whatever that means for you. Relax, laugh a little and enjoy breaking from the constraints of adulthood (temporarily) – It’s good for your health!
- Brooke Rieth NP
- Dr. Mike