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Put what you love on your to do list

“WHAT!?! I barely have time to eat!”

I know.

I have been there, then I really took time to see what I was spending my time on (with kids or without). Really it didn’t line up with what my priorities were. I had to say no to some things, yes to other things, and remember what was important to me.

It’s tough.

I know.

Here’s the kicker though, it’s incredibly important for us to make time for what makes us smile. What we love to do, just for the fun of it and not with an end goal. It’s actually important to your health, and if I was a doctor I would say it’s doctor’s orders (I’m not though, but it should be that important).

Take a look at a few reasons why play is important:

 

  • Reduces stress: It’s easy to put that big deadline at work on the mental back burner when you do something you truly enjoy.
  • Increases happiness:  Because seriously isn’t it awesome to beat your sister at scrabble, especially when she has a B.A. in English? Or finally beat that softball team that has been the thorn in you side for the last three years? Or capture that shot you have been trying to get for 6 months?
  • Keeps your brain healthy: Some studies show that play can help your brain stay sharp and fend off mental disease.
  • Helps you meet new people: This is especially good for those new moms out there who feel so lonely (not only are you worth it, but when you are happy it’s beneficial for baby too!) It truly can be so refreshing to meet new people at any stage though.
  • If done with loved ones, it strengthens bonds between you two: Because, you remember that time you and so-and-so did that thing??? You couldn’t stop laughing for a week!

 

 

For some, this is easier said than done. If you can’t remember the last time you slowed down and had fun, start by slowing down. Remember what you used to love and try those things again. If they aren’t a good fit, try something else. If you are still struggling, employ your friends and ask them to help you come up with fun ideas of things to do.

Play doesn’t have to be big, if you need a few ideas to try:

  • Get a few friends together to play board games or a paint party.
  • Try a new type of exercising.
  • Pick up a camera, that’s not your phone, and try to capture a few good photographs.
  • Do something your child loves, see if their enthusiasm rubs off on you.
  • Go to the beach! (seriously, the beach is cool in all seasons, just dress appropriately. Your kids will think you are awesome!)

 

No matter what it is that you do purely for enjoyment, make time for it. It’s important to your mental health and you will be better off because of it. Have fun!

 

References:

(and great place to learn more)

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/benefits-of-play-for-adults.htm

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/11/15/the-importance-of-play-for-adults/

http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2014/08/06/336360521/play-doesnt-end-with-childhood-why-adults-need-recess-too

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