We all know about the importance of play for kids' emotional growth and development. It can enhance imagination, increase social skills and boost self-confidence. So why don't we women place more value on play for ourselves?
Early on, girls tend to be collaborative, communicative and caring – you can see it when they play house and mother their dolls. And these traits become more entrenched as the years pass. We often put the needs of family before our own and are kept busy nurturing our aging parents and growing kids.
We could take a lesson from the opposite sex, many of whom find time to let off steam with a pick-up basketball game or a regular poker night. And there's plenty of expert advice to back up the necessity of that. According to the founder of the National Institute for Play, Dr. Stuart Brown, play is much more than just fun. In his TED talk, he goes into great detail explaining it as a fundamental need in a healthy adulthood - it increases our capacity for creativity, problem solving, adapting to new situations, learning and happiness.
Especially with the added stress that comes with these uncertain economic times, you may think that being able to take precious time away from work and family is unrealistic. But, as members of the Sandwich Generation, it's vital to nourish ourselves so we're emotionally strong enough to help those who depend on us.
Why don't you check out this active community of women who call themselves Mice at Play? Their main goal is to bring fun into their lives through constructive and positive play-dates, lectures and workshops – in fact, they call it 'fun with a purpose.'
And then try to start your own personal play revolution. Think about your fondest memories of playing as a child. What are a few similar activities you could integrate into your life right now? How can you feel reconnected to your creative and playful side? And how far are you willing to go outside your comfort zone? Just imagine the potential benefits to your physical health, level of happiness and feelings of wellbeing. And who couldn't use a few extra laughs?!