Have You Scheduled Any Playtime?
According to the latest research, the ‘busy’ trap has increasingly taken over many Americans’ lives. Rather than enjoying some open time each day (unless you’re part of the group who has to manage three jobs), the trend is to voluntarily add work and enrichment programs to enhance performance. There’s a price to pay. By phasing out unstructured playtime, you lose a major source of relaxation, inspiration and creativity, leaving both adults and children exhausted. You are also no more productive than someone who makes space for friends or hobbies—so maybe it’s time to play.
There can be different reasons for nonstop busyness. Certainly, a strong work ethic in high achievers can make you feel like a loser if you haven’t used every minute of the day doing your job. Yet free hours spent doing something you enjoy help prevent mental and physical stress associated with burnout. They also provide you with important skills, such as when a hobby becomes the catalyst for a career transition. Even idleness can offer insights that make unexpected connections. An example is the Greek mathematician Archimedes who was the first to determine how to measure the density of an irregularly shaped object. He did this while taking a bath and noticing that the level of water rose as he got in the tub. This realization allowed him to use the principle of buoyancy to determine that a dishonest goldsmith had added lighter silver to the gold crown of King Hiero II. His insight also proved to be an influential source of ideas for future scientists.
Another reason for excess busyness can arise from anxiety. In general, everyone needs to be needed. Consequently, being a workaholic who’s constantly in demand can make you feel important. However, there’s a huge trade-off when you become swamped by countless emails, a never-ending list of things to do, and numerous problems to solve. The eventual workload can become intolerable and you may be unable to complete your tasks. It’s also common to feel resentful towards those who make increasing demands on your limited time. Under these circumstances, it can help to make personal changes where you spend time with friends and loved ones who value you outside of work. Doing something you love to do for fun also makes serotonin and dopamine rise in the body, creating a sense of well-being!
Playtime is for everyone, not just for children. Cater to you inner child by having fun and allowing for some idle time, whether it’s camping, having dinner with friends, playing with your pet, or going for an evening walk. You might even check out the new outdoor playgrounds for adults around the country where you can exercise, make new friends, or have a game of chess.