The importance of play at home and at work
As children, we instinctively play, whether we have toys, paint, pencils, bicycles, friends, siblings, cousins, music… it comes naturally. The act of ‘play’ seemingly dries out as you get older, you leave college, begin work and perhaps start your own family. It’s easy to forget the purpose and the feeling of play and why it is so important to our lives.
To find out why we should take part in play we first need to understand what it involves, what benefits there are to it as well as what the negatives are of not doing it. We’ll also be investigating why so many companies today are listening to the requests and studies which show just how essential it is for happiness at home AND at work.
Play is simply the language of childhood. When you were a child you’d have fun with your friends or your toys and as adults, we too need this stimulation.
As children, we play to learn about our surroundings and form our emotional and physical development. As adults this continues, however instead we may find that play allows us to lower our stresses and increase the release of endorphins, as well as improve the function of our brains, increase our memories and boost creativity. An activity that consists of physical movements, like tennis or laser quest, also works at keeping your body fit and healthy.
Different types of play
Play is described as an activity that is carried out with ‘the goal of amusement and fun’. Just like having fun as a child there are different ways in which play may be carried out. Play as an adult can involve sport-based games like football, swimming, yoga and hiking as well as the likes of board games, reading, drawing, crafts or riding rollercoasters. Activities that bring happiness, excitement and feelings of achievement can only be seen as a productive step in introducing types of play to your life and they don’t have to be overly expensive, or even cost anything at all.
The benefits of play
The benefits of play can be felt personally, through increased confidence and the feeling of accomplishment. However, the gain from fun activities being carried out goes on to affect other areas of your life too, like your career. In fact, there are known increased productivity among those who do take part in work play as well as increasing your emotional well-being, improving your social skills, building your confidence and improving both imagination and creativity.
Scenarios that the benefits of play may come into force:
- Increased confidence, having an overall effect on how you carry and express yourself.
- Increased well-being, taking care of your physical and mental health.
- Improved social skills, including making new friends, colleagues, as well as joining clubs that interest you and attract new interests to your life.
Life without Play
Life without it is rarely a happy one, whether as a child or an adult. The importance of play was discussed by DR. Stuart Brown, the founder of NIFPLAY (National Institute for Play) where he feels that his data “…indicated strongly the importance of play to success in life.” The lack of activities in everyday life has been linked to stress, depression as well as suffering from lack of motivation and creativity – which can go on to affect every part of your life. You can watch a video of Dr Brown here taking part in a Ted Talks series about the overall importance of play.
How life without play may affect your life:
- Lack of confidence: being unable to contain self-belief and stand up to be counted when promotions are possible.
- Lose interest in looking after your wellbeing, both physical and mental, including having a poor diet.
- With a lack of activity, you may fall into a funnel of depression or anxiety, in itself, this could lead to isolation and loneliness.
Why businesses are playing too
Many businesses are listening to the calls of how play at work can have a dramatic effect on how tasks are carried out, how they may notice increased attendance rate and an improvement overall in staff morale. Problem-solving skills are continuously being developed through play centred activities, thus resulting in
productive work assessments. Attendance is a major factor in many businesses and how their staff are with work-loads. Stress-related sick leave accounts for over 40% of all work-related ill health of which could be improved through the use of play.
So… would you like to play?