shutterstock_174398549Americans are notorious for their worth ethic. According to a 2015 Huffington Post article, 47 percent of Americans did NOT take a single paid-leave vacation day in 2014. While this is good news for employers who are getting free labor, it’s bad news for the travel industry and more importantly for American workers who already have less paid leave than many other nations. For many people, not taking a vacation isn’t so much about the desire to work hard, but instead it’s because they don’t think they can afford it. Fortunately, you don’t have to take a vacation to achieve benefits that comes from time off.

Play plays significant role in child development. Through play, children learn and discover, they play out ideas and theories and have fun. Many of the perks that comes from play in children, can benefit adults as well. Unfortunately, as we get older, society puts the kibosh on play to the point that if we’re not working, we feel like we’re wasting time.

The benefits of play for adults include:

Relieve stress: Despite the focus on all work and no play in American culture, people who don’t take time off to relax and enjoy life have increased stress, which is proven to lead to emotional and physical health problems. Play releases endorphins, which can relieve pain and promotes well-being.

Work through problems and boost creativity: Have you ever had a problem you couldn’t solve and the minute you engaged in a completely separate activity, the solution popped in your head? Just like children test out the world through play, so can you.

Learn new things easier: Let’s face it, you’re more likely to retain new knowledge or skills if it’s fun.

It’s fun: For some reason, fun seems to be a dirty word in American society. It’s okay to have fun and enjoy life.

Many work places have added resources that allow their workers to play to boost creativity and productivity. Some have parks and daycare centers on site. If you work in a place like that, take advantage of it. Play, go to the park, and spend your break engaged in a game with your child in daycare. If you don’t work at place that encourages play, you can still fit in playfulness at work. During your breaks you can play chess with a co-worker or draw artwork. At lunch you can go to the park and throw a Frisbee or fly a kite.

If any onsite play is frowned upon, find fun outside of work. If you have kids, spend time playing with them. Join a recreation sports league or take an adult education class just for fun, such as dance or beer making. Reactivate or find a new hobby.

Bernard Shaw said, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” Play is as essential as a good night’s sleep. So take time every day to have fun.

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