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According to a local mental health expert, playing isn't just fun, it's a remedy for a well-lived life.
"Imagine a patch of beautiful soft spring green grass, and there is a sign on it. What do you think the sign says? Let’s imagine that it says, 'Please keep ON the grass. Lie down. Roll around in it. Forget all your responsibilities. Have ice cream.' What a beautiful invitation to play," says Terry Warburton, Clinical Director of Recovery of Hope Counselling in Winnipeg.
It can seem foreign for adults to make sure they play enough in life.
"In a culture that is very focussed on work and 'getting things done' and 'work before play' the importance of play is not well understood. The study of the brain proves over and over again that we need play in order to thrive."
After a day of work, many adults may assume they have no more energy to play.
"When we are truly playing, our brain is experiencing a form of rest. In fact, true play is the closest we get to sleep while awake. Play is 'activated rest.' Of course, we can’t play all of the time as there is work to do, so play has a beginning and an end."
The type of play Warburton is talking about is the kind that makes a person lose track of time.
"Play is not some frivolous activity that is a waste of time, although play can seem to be pointless. Play can look like so many things - we can play alone, we can play with ideas in our imagination or with words, we can play with objects. We can play with others. We can turn up our favourite song and have a little dance party all by ourselves. Play can look very different for each of us."
Play can benefit a person immensely, including help with mental stress.
"Let’s remember to experience the playful moments of life. When we’re feeling down or anxious, it can feel harder to find any play in us, but it is possible, and it will help us feel and cope better. Play triggers endorphins, the feel-good hormones in our brain. It improves brain function and memory, and wards off stress and anxiety."
Warburton's prescription for people today is to find some time to play.