Guest blogger Tracy Spielberger tells adults how to discover their personal brand of play and keep doing it!

I bet you were once a curious young explorer conquering the nearby woods and adventuring to the very top of the playground! As a child, playtime was when you connected with yourself and the world around you, but somewhere along the journey from childhood adventures to adulthood responsibilities we lose the magic of play.

Luckily, we still engage in playful behaviors as adults (even if we don’t realize it)! Most of this playfulness is disguised as sports, hobbies, competitions, etc. Play takes many forms. Some games take physical skill, others intellectual or dramatic. Anyone can find something to enjoy. So, how can you discover your play?

Find Your Brand of Play
Complete this statement: I feel most playful when I ______ (ex: make up a recipe, take dogs hiking, play with children outside, create new things or play pickup games). Notice when your playfulness shines through. Is it when you’re feeling creative, sporty, silly, outdoorsy, or something entirely different?

Make Room in Your Day
The goal is to engage in playful behaviors (like the one mentioned above) more regularly. The good news is that adding play to your day doesn’t have to take up much time! Here are some easy ways to make room:

  • Cut down on extra screen time
  • Make ordinary activities more playful
    • Dance while folding laundry
    • Make up a cooking game
    • Play “I Spy” with someone in line
    • Sing in the shower
    • Bring a small toy to your (or a coworker’s) desk at work
    • Skip, don’t walk, to a meeting (or work — like this guy!)
  • Inspire friends to join you in playful behaviors at lunch, while shopping, etc., such as “Who can make the funniest face with their food?”
  • Play in small increments of 5-15 minutes at a time. For example: take 5 to dance in the morning!

What Play Can Offer You

  • Confidence
  • Energy
  • Excitement
  • Balance
  • Happiness
  • Inspiration
  • Exercise
  • Stress Relief

Play is energizing, refreshing, and a wonderful form of stress relief. It creates the foundation for a happy, balanced life in childhood and adulthood. The key is to recognize the activities you enjoy and try to do them more (it’s pretty simple). Playing doesn’t have to take much time and you can experience many wonderful benefits. There’s no reason you should ever outgrow the need for play!

Today’s guest post comes from Tracy Spielberger, a recent sociology major from northern New Jersey. She became an enthusiastic advocate for play after writing her thesis on the topic of adult play in the workplace. Tracy now reflects on the topic on her blog and on Twitter.

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