Work is piling up, you have bills to pay, errands to run, to-do lists to
check off--life can be hectic and stressful. To relieve the tension of
everyday busyness, more and more adults are turning to coloring books.
"Coloring books aimed at grown-ups are quite popular. On The New York
Times' February 2016 best-seller list for books about games and activities,
four of the top ten titles are coloring books specifically marketed to
adults, while another three are coloring books that promote relaxation
and stress relief," says
Parveen Vora, MD, a board-certified family medicine physician at
St. Joseph Heritage Medical Group. "There are many ways adults are reliving their childhoods through
fun, play-based experiences, such as adult kickball leagues, sleepaway
camps--there's even a 'preschool' for adults in Brooklyn where
they engage in toddler-time activities such as show-and-tell, naps and
crafts. It's a trend that recognizes play can be an important part
of overall wellness."
Much as children need play time to stimulate the mind, foster creativity,
form relationships and feel joy, so do adults. "Play is generally
defined as an activity that is enjoyable and brings pleasure--there's
no agenda or purpose to it, other than to let loose and have fun,"
Dr. Vora says. "It can be a time to step back and recharge and relax,
which helps ease stress and works as a mood booster. Who doesn't need
that every once in a while? In many cases, play time is active time, which
is great for your physical health because you're up and moving instead
of staying sedentary. And there are social benefits to play as well. Think
of workplaces where there is a ping-pong table or other games. Employees
can get together and play, which promotes relationship building and teamwork;
it can also be a way for employees to come up with creative problem-solving
If you need a play break in your life, here are some tips to get started:
Find what makes you happy. Think back to what you enjoyed doing as a child--if you liked building
toys, buy a Lego set. If board games and charades were your thing, set
up a game night with friends. If you loved drawing and painting, buy some
art supplies and a portable easel or notebook so you can create.
Find play partners. Solo play time is great, but you get the added social benefits when you
share that fun and laughter with others. Finding time to play with your
spouse or significant other can strengthen the bond between you, while
joining a community theater group can introduce you to new friends. If
you have kids, make sure to play with them--they're experts at play,
and it's a great way to spend quality time together.
Find ways to introduce play into the workplace. Try and bring a board game or something else fun into the lunch room at
the office, so it's available for any employee during breaks. If the
office atmosphere isn't conducive to dart boards and Nerf guns, look
into planning an after-hours event for coworkers, such as a trip to a
trampoline play park.
Find the time. You make time to exercise to stay healthy, so in the same way you should
make time for play. Build it into your schedule--it can be a weekend afternoon,
a couple of hours at night, or even just a quick fifteen minutes in between
errands--and make sure you shut off any distractions, such as your cell
phone. "Once you experience true play time, unfettered by obligation,
you'll see how revitalizing it can be and you'll want to make
it a regular habit," Dr. Vora says.
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