A woman smiles as she creates giant bubbles with a wand outdoors

The importance of play


Written by In Sight

We often hear about the benefits of play for kids, but why should the little ones have all the fun?! Believe it or not, play and leisure are just as crucial for adults as they are for children. Let’s look at why making time for fun can be a game-changer for your mental health and overall well-being.

What is play?

First off, play isn’t just about games. It’s anything that brings you joy and relaxation – think hobbies, sports, creative activities, or even just spending quality time with friends. These activities help reduce stress, boost your mood, and improve your mental clarity. When you engage in something you love, your brain releases endorphins, the feel-good chemicals that naturally combat stress and anxiety.

Ever heard the saying, “time flies when you’re having fun”? There’s actually some truth in that! When you’re so engrossed in an activity, it’s called a ‘flow state,’ and it’s incredibly beneficial. It can help improve focus, creativity, and problem-solving skills. Plus, it’s a fantastic way to recharge your mental batteries.

Leisure activities also strengthen social bonds. Whether it’s a board game night with your most competitive friends, a sunset walk, or joining a book club, these shared experiences foster connections and enhance your support network. Strong social ties are linked to better mental health and a longer, happier life.

 “But I’m too busy for play!”

Taking time for leisure isn’t wasted time and it’s not lazy, it actually makes you more productive. It prevents burnout and keeps your mind sharp. Even just a few minutes of downtime can make a big difference. Some examples of small moments of play can be a daily puzzle or crossword, dancing while doing the housework or teaching your dog a new trick!

Woman teaching her dog a new trick

“My parents discouraged play, they said there were more important things to do”

You might have been conditioned from childhood to believe you don’t deserve fun, or that you should feel guilty for wanting to find your own sense of fun and play. But here’s the thing – play is an essential human need. We’re hard wired to need it, and the process of finding out what kind of play works for you can be really rewarding and fulfilling. In our Identity Building course, we take this a step further and help you discover and reinforce your own personal values. We always encourage self-discovery and self-awareness, and play is no different!

A brightly coloured jigsaw puzzle

How to incorporate play into your life

Start by setting aside some “me time” each week. Revisit hobbies you loved as a child (or always wanted to try but weren’t allowed, try something new, or simply make time for relaxation. Remember, it’s not about being perfect at it; it’s about enjoying the process. We’ve heard from our Facebook community that people enjoy a whole range of playful activities, including crochet, colouring books, and even live action role-playing!

Two women dance and laugh at home

Incorporating play and leisure into your routine isn’t just a luxury – it’s a necessity for a balanced, fulfilling life. So go ahead, give yourself permission to have some fun. You deserve it!

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