Redefining Play!

play Feb 02, 2022

Play is a simple word that you learned as a child and continued to use throughout your life, and yet you probably didn’t give much thought to defining it in your adult life. In this blog post we help you to explore the concept of play. Play has a significant impact on your growth, even as an adult.

Play can add many benefits to our life. Reducing your stress levels, improving your brain functionality, and increasing creativity are some of the main benefits of engaging in play as an adult. Take a moment and think about the past 5 years. How much time did you spend playing? What specific examples/moments can you remember? Keep these examples in mind as you read this article.

What is play?

Play is a broad term. It covers a range of activities and everyone relates to it differently. Therefore, we are not suggesting a specific definition for it. Instead, we are going to discuss elements that are common in different forms of play so you can define it for yourself.

  • It is active - No matter what you think of play, it always involves a solo or group activity. You have an intention and follow up that intention with an action.
  • It gives you freedom - When you play, you get a sense of freedom from obligations in your life. It also involves giving yourself permission to express yourself freely.
  • It makes you feel lighter - Play brings you lightness and helps you take off the pressure and heaviness of day-to-day life.
  • It gives you pleasure - Play is something you enjoy doing and you are not forcing yourself to be engaged in it.
  • It happens in the moment - When you play, you are focused on the present moment. You set yourself free (at least temporarily) from what went wrong in the past or what can go wrong in future. Play gives you a chance to be in the present moment voluntarily without pushing yourself to be present.
  • It slows you down - Play helps you slow down as there are no deadlines to finish a task and there are no outcomes to be achieved. You simply engage in activity for the sake of doing it.
  • It gives you a sense of self - Play also gives you an opportunity to connect with yourself and engage in the activity with your whole self, beyond your the doubts, hesitations, and limitations you usually feel in your life

What is not play?

When you are thinking about a definition for play in adulthood, it is also important to keep in mind what play isn’t.

  • It doesn’t have to be a game - Although games can give you an opportunity to play, you can turn any activity into a play. You don’t have to follow any rules, and there is nothing to win or lose.
  • It is not outcome-orientated - When you are playing, there is no tangible outcome to be achieved. You play for the sake of playing.
  • It’s not a task - You don’t play because you have to tick a box, or because a certain task needs to be action.
  • It doesn’t put pressure on you - If you are forcing yourself to do something, that activity is not a form of play for you.
  • It is not anxiety provoking - If you feel anxious when you engage in a certain activity, then that’s not a form of play for you either.
  • It is not time sensitive - play can happen anytime and can end anytime. If something needs to happen at a certain time, that’s more like a task, not play.
  • There is no room for judgement - Play gives you a chance to be free and if you are worried about the outcome and how you will be judged by your performance (even if you are judging yourself), that’s not play either.

With the above points in mind, do you now have a better idea of what play means to you? Think about those examples from the last 5 years again. Can you remember any other times that you were playing but you didn’t think of it as play at the time?

In reality, we all play more than we think we do. The point here is to be aware and present when you are engaged in play, so you can receive more benefits from it. We will talk about the benefits of play and why you should incorporate it in your day-to-day life throughout the month of January.

For now, if you would like to learn more about this concept, watch this short video  from Allie Mason, the founder of Something Greater Social Media, where she explains what play means to her and how she incorporates it in her life.

Click Here for Video

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